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Published: 2017-02-17 09:00:00

Recent wet weather, with forecasts of more to come in the next few weeks, is raising optimism that dry conditions in parts of South Auckland and Waikato won’t lead to significant and widespread problems for farmers in the next few months.

Officials from farming groups and Fonterra, councils, civil defence, the Ministry for Primary Industries and MetService met today to review the latest information in those areas on climatic conditions, weather forecasts, river systems and farmer well-being.

It was noted it had been very dry in some areas, notably South Auckland, parts of northern Waikato and the Coromandel, while other areas were in a better conditions.

However, some decent rain had begun falling this week and MetService was optimistic conditions were right for further wet weather in coming weeks.

“Prospects are looking brighter on that front which is very welcome news,” said Waikato Rural Support Trust chair Neil Bateup.

“We’ll collectively continue to monitor conditions and work together to provide advice and support if dry weather in coming months does cause problems. But, for now, there’s optimism we won’t see a repeat of some of the more extreme conditions we’ve seen in some recent summers.”

Mr Bateup stressed, however, that it was important that any farmers who needed help shouldn’t be shy of putting their hand up.

“Anyone under stress – whether affected by dry conditions or other factors – can get support from the trust and other agencies.

“Look after yourselves and your families out there, go and have a cuppa with the neighbour, and spend some time off the farm to re-energise.”

The meeting noted, too, that the risk of facial eczema in livestock could increase in hot, wet conditions and that farmers should proactively manage this risk. Use the DairyNZ and Beef+LambNZ factsheets to help make decisions.

Farmers needing help can contact the Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254.