Some rural contractors in Southland are saying this is the wettest spring in 30 years, says Rural Contractors NZ board member Daryl Thompson, impacting on already short supplies of feed.
In Zone reports to last week’s Board meeting, he said the constant rain in the deep south was frustrating and challenging everyone.

“It’s bloody wet down here and it just won’t stop raining,” said the Invercargill-based contractor. “Our back teeth are floating.” Grass was not getting away at a time when usually the first silage and baleage jobs were starting. This was impacting on an existing shortage of feed, he said.
Wanaka-based rural contractor Richard Woodhead said there was also no spare feed in the Otago region. His area had experienced a wet winter before an early start to spring which was now being set back by cold winds. The Taieri Plains were especially wet but so was the whole South Island, though the moisture would set things up well for when the sun arrived.
“It’ll be a good spring when it does turn up,” he said.
Canterbury’s Martin Bruce said his region had also had a wet winter and spring so far had seen enough rain to be a nuisance for cultivation and drilling. Canterbury also had damaging winds a few weeks ago in inland areas bringing down trees and cutting power. Some silage was now being cut in coastal Canterbury and things were now starting to pick up but some dairy farmers are short of feed with most high quality supplements in short supply.
The wet conditions would, however, set up Canterbury good growth later in the spring, he said.

Graham Greer, who operates out of Marton, says the North Island’s west coast had had a pretty mild winter and was looking alright for spring and summer. “The grass is just a bit slow at the moment.”
It was a different story he said in central Hawkes Bay which while tinged with green had no moisture underneath it. He said rural contractors working in that region face a troubling time as drought conditions persisted.
Wairarapa-based Clinton Carroll said the weather there has been rubbish and some good early spring conditions had given way to more rain which was frustrating at a time when there was no shortage of work.
“We just can’t get any days to do it.” Some warm weather was needed for things to dry out and allow contractors to get cracking.
Waikato’s Helen Slattery said it’d been a typically wet Waikato winter and a couple of warm spring days had seen a return of cold, wet weather. Some contractors had started doing balage and maize-planting had started. Calving was now almost at an end.
Northland’s Ross Alexander says his region had been damp and while some sileage was being attempted but the weather was not yet settled enough.
“We’ll wait for October and some warmer weather.”
There had not been much of a spring in Northland for some years so the current wetter weather might be setting the region up for a good season, he said