[QODLink]
Weather

Drought grips New Zealand

Key farming areas of the North Island are worst hit.
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2013 11:44
The drought in the North Island of New Zealand is forcing farmers to make some tough decisions [EPA]

The New Zealand government declared a drought in key farming areas of the North Island on Wednesday.

The affected areas include the major dairy producing region Waikato, and the horticultural regions of Hawkes Bay and the Bay of Plenty.

The dry weather stretched through the summer months. Crops that were planted in the spring, which are needed to feed cattle late in the summer, have withered away. This has forced farmers to buy expensive supplementary food. To avoid this cost, farmers have been forced to reduce their milk production, and some have even had to cull animals.

The last significant drought in New Zealand occurred in 2007- 2008, and was one of the reasons that the economy dipped into a year-long recession. Agriculture accounts for around a half of the country's USD 38 billion annual export earnings, and the current drought is threatening to cost the economy USD 830 million.

An area of high pressure has dominated the weather for much of the summer, which has brought fine settled weather to the region. Some locations have received only around a third of their average rainfall this year.

The official declaration of drought gives farmers access to financial and social support, but the impact could be long lasting. Often agricultural production does not recover to pre-drought levels for at least 24 months.

The drought isn’t showing any sign of ending any time soon, and high pressure will continue to keep the North Island fine and settled over the next week or so.

Fortunately the South Island, which also has significant dairy and meat raising regions, is not affected by the current drought, and more rain is expected here in the coming days.

281

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Indonesia's digerati could be crucial to success in the country's upcoming presidential election.
How Brazil's football legend turned every Corinthians' match into a political meeting for democracy.
As the Pakistani army battles Taliban forces, civilians in North Waziristan face an arduous escape for relative safety.
Nepalese trade in a libido-boosting fungus is booming but experts warn over-exploitation could destroy ecosystem.
Featured
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Consumption of traditional nutritional staples such as salmon, moose and bear has fallen in recent generations.
Palestinian families fear Israel's night-time air strikes, as the civilian death toll soars in the Gaza Strip.
join our mailing list