Beef + Lamb New Zealand has seen farmers all over the North Island struggling with drought conditions this year.
“The situation has been exacerbated by COVID-19, which has had an impact on their ability to get stock off-farm,” says B+LNZ’s mid northern North Island extension manager Maria Shanks.
“To assist farmers, the Ministry for Primary Industries together with Beef+Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, Deer Industry Association, AgFirst and Federated Farmers is providing remote feed planning support to farmers – which includes a free assessment of their feed planning by their relevant industry.”
To access this service are two toll-free numbers: for the drystock sector call Beef + Lamb NZ on 0800BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352); for the dairy sector call DairyNZ on 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 4 3247969).
Maria says this service will be available until June 30, 2020, at which time farmer need will be revised.
Industry organisations have a wealth of useful information on their websites, in different formats, to help farmers get information about their options, says Maria.
“Farmers know that the repercussions of a drought do not end when it finally rains and it is important to plan for the long-term effects of drought.
“Beef + Lamb NZ has produced a number of articles and podcasts to help farmers through the current conditions and plan for the coming season, which can be found on their website: www.beeflambnz.com.
“Farmers can also join the weekly Waikato Hauraki Coromandel Rural Support Trust webinar ‘Drought Recovery Matters’.
“This is on every Wednesday at 1pm with different speakers each week until July. For more details on the speakers and to register check their website: www.rural-support.org.nz
The Rural Support Trust has local, rural people who understand farming issues. They can be contacted on 0800 787 254 and Maria encourages farmers “to pick up the phone and talk to them”.