[QODLink]
Weather

Rain stops play - not drought

Despite a washout at the Test Match, New Zealand is in grip of an extended dry spell.
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2013 11:13

Definitely the weather for ducks, not cricketers. [AFP]

New Zealand’s cricketers will surely have offered a prayer of thanks to the weather gods as the final day of the test match at The Batch in Wellington was rained off on Monday. But for farmers, the change in weather has been too little, too late as drought continues to hold the country in its grip.

Agriculture is an important, albeit declining, contributor to New Zealand’s economic output, contributing around 4% to its gross domestic product.  It is estimated that the drought has already cost the industry US $820 million and that could rise to as much as US $1.6 billion according to some predictions.

Although Sunday’s rain brought up to 100mm to some western parts of the South Island, the North Island is in most need of sustained rainfall.

Two thirds of the country’s cattle are bred here and a drought was declared on Friday, the first time the whole of the island has been affected in more than 30 years. The number of cattle slaughtered because of a lack of available grazing and feed is reported to be up by 40% on the same time last year.

New Zealand is the world’s biggest milk producer and 95% of its dairy production goes for export.  With production down by some 30% in some regions, it is likely that there will be an impact on world dairy prices.

Commenting on the situation, Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy said, “It has become clear that nearly all farmers in every part of the North Island are facing very difficult dry conditions.”

“Parts of the South Island are also very dry, in particular the Grey and Buller districts. We are keeping a close watch on all further regions,” he said.

311

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.