An urgent need for rain is the most pressing issue seen by rural contractors. The March meeting of the Rural Contractors NZ Board heard from members about dry conditions affecting areas from Northland to central Otago.

Wanaka-based representative Richard Woodhead says his area had received good rain in the last couple of weeks though some continuing heat was eroding the benefits.

However, the South Island East Coast from Otago to Marlborough remained very dry.

“If it doesn’t rain shortly there will be a feed shortage and it’ll be quite large.”

Martin Bruce says it’s also dry around his base in Hororata with inland Canterbury getting more rain than around the coast. Unirrigated maize crops on the good ground around the coast and Banks Peninsula were suffering a bit as a result.

“Maize silage is just starting with most contractors have done jobs already. Farms in Canterbury with irrigation have good winter feed crops and grass growth.”

Northland-based representative Ross Alexander says it’s continuing to be hot and dry in his region. The maize harvest was fast coming to an end for contractors and grass seed drilling was underway.

“I just hope we get some rain at some point soon. At the moment I’m just drilling it for cricket feed.”

RCNZ vice-president Helen Slattery who operates out of Matamata says maize yields were good and farmers were happy  with dairy pay-outs but some rain in Waikato would assist.

Graham Greer, who runs his contracting business from Marton, says maize sileage is just starting and a reasonable grain harvest was almost complete. Things were looking good across Manawatu-Wanganui after some reasonable falls in early March but some more rain was now needed.

Wairarapa’s Clinton Carroll says the region got some of the same rain but more was needed.

Southland-based RCNZ President David Kean, who operates from Winton, says northern areas were drying out a bit but the rest of the region were unaffected by any shortage of rain.