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Rainfall less than half of average

Wairarapa Federated Farmers president William Beetham. PHOTO/FILE

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Rainfall for the first three months of the year has been half what can normally can be expected, Metservice says.

A spokesman said on Friday that, to date, 72mm of rain had fallen at Masterton’s Hood Aerodrome, compared with a January-March average of around 150mm.

Last year was a wet one – with 200mm of rain falling by the end of March.

Wairarapa Federated Farmers president William Beetham said while 2018 had ended well with “really good, consistent rainfall”, that hadn’t continued into the New Year.

“Since then it’s got progressively drier and drier, but we’ve had a few rainfalls that have kept the region ticking along.”

But farmers are beginning to feel the pinch.

“Now, right across Wairarapa it’s quite a dry period for autumn,” he said.

It’s not good for sheep, beef, and dairy farmers, and while it has allowed vegetable farmers to harvest their crops and get seed in the ground, they’ll need moisture to germinate their seeds and get their crops going.

If the dry conditions continue, it would force farmers to sell more of their stock earlier, Beetham said. While not yet a crisis, he says it will become a “serious concern” for farmers if it continues.

Lamb prices were very high because farmers wanted to hold on to them, but the dry conditions have forced a lot to sell, bringing prices down.

“People are being forced to sell their lambs now, because they’re just not going to have enough feed for breeding season,” Beetham said

It was “key” the region gets decent rain before it becomes too cold to grow feed, he said.

The Metservice 10-day forecast shows little consistent rain for the region, though showers can be expected at the beginning and end of next week.


  1. The only surprise would be if people are surprised.
    This is the future into which we’re heading.

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