3 News: Farmers hope weekend weather will end drought

3 News’ Adrien Taylor on why Waikato farmers are calling for the Government to declare a state of drought in what they say are conditions far worse than last year.

The situation is just as dire in Northland, but forecasters say there could be some respite at the end of the week.

As you drive through Mandi McLeod’s Morrinsville farm, it is obvious from the colour of the landscape things are not as they should be.

“Just look out the paddock there,” she says. “The ground looks rough because the cows have actually started to pull the plants out of the ground, and we’ve had three years of that.”

She says her farm has not received significant rain for months and the conditions are far worse than during the nationwide drought last summer.

“We’ve been here for 35 years and this is the worst we’ve ever seen it,” says Ms McLeod.

She has only just repaid a 0,000 loan taken in last year’s drought and is now facing the emotional and financial strain all over again.

“You’re probably looking at 0,000-plus,” she says.

It’s not just the Waikato region suffering; Federated Farmers in Northland told 3 News they would need about 180mm of rain in multiple bursts and over several days to get their pastures back to where they would like them to be.

The Ministry for Primary Industries says it is monitoring the situation daily in both regions but has not yet received a formal appeal for help from either.

Farmers in both regions may just have their wish of rain fulfilled this weekend.

“It’s all coming courtesy of some tropical moisture, tropical system,” says MetService’s Dan Corbett. “There’s a good chance of some rain and probably some widespread rain in many places.”

Until the rain comes, Ms McLeod says declaring a state of drought would provide some relief to farmers, even if it is only the comfort of knowing they are not battling the elements alone.

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