Drought Reduces Farm Gate Returns by estimated $260 Million by end of June

19 May 1998

The El Nino induced drought that struck most of the east coast of both Islands will reduce farm gate returns on affected farms by an estimated $260 million at the year ending 30 June 1998, with a further loss of $170 million over the next few years.

Owing to the worsening drought conditions, the above figures have overtaken estimates of farm gate losses published in MAF’s edition of Situation and Outlook for New Zealand Agriculture and Forestry which was released today.

The drought led to the early marketing of livestock and eventually to some disposal of capital stock. While there were transfers of livestock away from drought areas, the export kill was significantly up on last season.

The drought is estimated to reduce this season’s dairy production by about 2.3% though the overall output is expected to be 1.5% higher than last season as a result of higher cow numbers and favourable pasture conditions in the spring of 1997.

The regions affected by the drought (east coast of the South Island, North Canterbury, Hawkes Bay, with North Otago, Gisborne and Wairarapa affected to a lesser degree) carry 31% of the national beef herd, 45% of the national sheep flock, and 38% of the national deer herd.

The drought caused arable and horticultural crops on non-irrigated land to have lower yields with apples affected by sunburn, size and water core problems attributed to very dry conditions.

Tree mortality in forests increased as a result of desiccation and forest fires in the regions, and the dry conditions could predispose forests to attack from insect and diseases.

For further information contact:

Ronnie Horesh, SONZAF Editor, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Tel: (04) 4744100 Ext: 8499



Last Updated: 08 September 2010

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