The Bay of Plenty Primary Sector (Adverse Event) Coordination Group met on 20 October 2023 to discuss the El Niño implications this season. In September, NIWA declared El Niño conditions are present in New Zealand and predict these will remain throughout the summer with a 75 percent chance of continuing through Autumn 2024. For the Bay of Plenty region this generally means hotter, drier and windier conditions than normal.
Chair of the Primary Sector Coordination Group Miles Mander says, “It is important to plan ahead for what El Niño may mean for your orchards and farms and to wrap your support team around you.”
Bay of Plenty farmers and growers are likely to face compounding challenges with the lingering impacts of the wet weather events this year, lower commodity prices, increased costs and higher interest rates.
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. CEO Colin Bond says, “I strongly encourage growers take the impacts of the year’s wet conditions, such as raised roots, into consideration. Talk to those around you, including our industry experts, to ensure that you are prepared for hot, dry and windy weather.”
“Farmers and growers should plan ahead now as economic factors may mean many will not be able to buy their way out of feed shortfalls,” says President of Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty Brent Mountfort. “Consider deferred grazing, crops, silage or maize contracts now before the dry weather settles in.”
“The new Drought Forecasting Dashboard developed by NIWA and MPI can provide a better forewarning on the coming 35 days. This gives an opportunity to develop decision points and allows growers and farmers to remain more in control of their operations,” says Mr Mander, who is also the Chair of the Bay of Plenty Rural Support Trust (RST).
“There are useful tools to help prepare early for a prolonged summer dry period, helping farmers align feed demand and feed supply, manage animal welfare and farm finances all on our website or by contacting the DairyNZ Bay of Plenty team,” says Mark Williams, DairyNZ.
“Beef+Lamb New Zealand have a wealth of information on their Extreme Dry Management website,” says Laura Davis from Beef+Lamb New Zealand.
The Rural Support Trust has been actively planning with Coordination Group members including the Ministry for Primary Industries, Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ, NZKGI and other Horticulture representatives, BOP Civil Defence Group, and others’ added Miles.
The Bay of Plenty Rural Support Trust has facilitators who work with industry partners to help access the information you need. They are local rural people who have faced the challenges of rural life. Their services are confidential, and they only reach out to their network for support with your permission. If you want a hand, please call 0800 787 254 (0800 Rural Help) or visit Rural-Support.org.nz.
- Drought forecasting dashboard (niwa.co.nz)
- Setting up for summer – DairyNZ | DairyNZ
- Extreme Dry management | Beef + Lamb New Zealand (beeflambnz.com)
- Rural support through drought (rural-support.org.nz)
- Dealing with drought conditions | NZ Government (mpi.govt.nz)
- On Farm Support | NZ Government (mpi.govt.nz)
- Fire prevention and fire safety | Fire and Emergency New Zealand (checkitsalright.nz)
- Dry weather water management (BoP Regional Council Toi Moana)