Seasons EndThursday, May 29, 2003
Since the Manawatu drought broke 10 days ago–this region has had a reminder that an Indian summer always comes to an end. Although only the lightest of frosts have occurred, soil temperatures at 5 degrees indicate that winter is here and grass growth will be slow for the next period
Rainfall for May is close to 110mm making the autumn drought a thing of the past even though its effects will remain well into next spring.
This season’s cold late spring for many areas led immediately into a droughty summer and autumn – for this region the driest summer & autumn ever. Altogether it has been a pretty difficult production year in most regions.
A below average production year combined with declining product prices and rising input costs for many farmers has brought an abrupt end to a short spell of “golden weather”
It has highlighted the fact that a unique set of circumstances has provided farmers with two previous seasons that were exceptional for the majority. Good growth, rising prices and disbelief at how successful farming can be has turned out to be a temporary heady mix.
Never the less in the total aggregate pastoral farming has made its growing contribution to this countries economy and in spite of the tough financial implications, for many individual farmers from this seasons changed environment; farmers generally appear to be in charge of managing their businesses.
Reports of more bankers and advisors than farmers attending local drought relief seminars appears to confirm that the lessons have been learned and farmers as managers have become much more adept at steering their way through the crisis that adverse markets or climate can throw at them.
The focus now turns to getting the best production from the next season.
The next cycle continues.