It is time local government and regional councils showed some leadership and instigate some real discussion to come up with solutions to drought management in their respective areas.
2013-14 was reported to be the worst drought in 70 years which is interesting because many areas are drier this year than last. I often wonder who the dry has to affect before action gets taken.
Anyone can be an expert after a drought and there is always plenty of advice from industry leaders about what farmers can or can’t do with the resources available. But, and this is a big but, what changes have been made to farm practices? what extra resources have been made available? What new ideas have been brought to the table?
Some farmers such as Doug Avery from Marlborough have sat down and analysed the situation and come up with a life changing solution. For some irrigation fits the bill while others have planted crops that suit their soil types or simply budget on fully feeding their livestock with supplements for 100 days post December.
Not so long ago the focus was on carbon loss. How much carbon is lost with soils bared to the sun and wind for three months of the year? It would help if the Environmentally conscious put less focus on easy point scoring like nitrate leaching and instead look more broadly at farming and really assist the impact on the environment.
Every area has its own unique challenges but equally so has its own unique opportunities so the obvious place to start the think tank is local government. lets look more widely for options around sustainable farming into the future.