A dried lake bed bakes in the sun during New Zealand's record drought, 22 March 2013. Photo: Christine Cornege

By Ben Aulakh
22 March 2013

(The Westport News) – A West Coast farming expert says he is seeing first-hand the pressures being put on farmers battling to combat the effects of the big dry.

CRT technical feed specialist for the West Coast, Tasman and Marlborough, Andrew Mitchell said he'd seen a significant increase in demand for feed from farmers.

"The market changes from season to season, but we are definitely seeing a fairly significant rise in what we are doing.

"In terms of what I'm doing I am very busy, so it's a pretty good indication of what's happening.

"The difficulty has been securing good quality feed because there's a lot of it that's been going to the North Island."

Mr Mitchell said at the moment there was no supply of pine kernels, as current stocks had been exhausted.

He had also seen an increased demand for high-quality hay baleage and high-protein feeds, to help ensure dairy herds kept producing milk.

"I have farmed on the West Coast for the best part of 25 years and been in the industry all my life, and I'd say this is the biggest event in terms of a summer dry I've seen." […]

Mr Mitchell said decisions on stock levels needed to be taken now to ensure farmers had enough feed put by to cater for their animals in the spring.

"What we are doing is trying to ensure people aren't digging themselves a bigger hole … this is a significant event and it needs to be treated as such." [more]

Big dry pressures being put on farmers

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