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Dairy farmers set for a strong season

Thursday 5th January 2012

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Above average rainfall for December is helping kick start a strong season for New Zealand dairy farmers, with milk production up about 10 percent in the month from a year earlier.

More than double the normal rainfall was recorded in the North Island and northern parts of the South Island, while Southland and Otago’s normal rainfall halved in December, according to the National Climate Centre.

“We are in a good spot at the moment,” said Willy Leferink, who farms near Ashburton and is chairman of Federated Farmers Dairy. “The season is looking extremely good – the stock is looking healthier than ever.”

Milk production is up an average of 10 percent on a daily basis from last year, Leferink said.

The highest total rainfall last month was recorded in Kerikeri, Te Puke, Rotorua, Hamilton and Wanganui, according to a Climate Centre statement today. The lowest levels were in Milford Sound, Puysegur Point, Dunedin, Manapouri, Queenstown, Gore, Lumsden, Balclutha and Invercargill.

“Rain is part of the ingredients to grow grass, if you have a lot of grass you are in production – it is beneficial to all of New Zealand,” Leferink said.

Nelson received six times its average rainfall, the highest December total since records began in 1941, and more water than the land could absorb. The region experienced flash floods and landslips throughout December, with residents having to be evacuated from their homes.

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