Dealing with drought conditions

Help is available to farmers, growers, and their families during drought and in the recovery period.

Areas affected by drought in 2020

On 12 March 2020, the Government classified the drought as a large-scale adverse event for:

  • all of the North Island
  • the top of the South Island (Marlborough, Tasman, Kaikōura) down to North Canterbury (Selwyn District, Christchurch City (including Banks Peninsula), Waimakariri District, Hurunui District, and Kaikōura District)
  • the Chatham Islands.

Agriculture Minister declares large-scale adverse event – Beehive

There has been some rain, which has greened up some pastures. However the knock-on effects of drought last for several growing seasons and there are significant feed shortages through much of New Zealand.

What farmers can do

Monitor your feed situation

Plan your feed

Contact a Rural Support Trust

Talk to an industry association

Check your budget

Monitor your feed situation

Drought conditions across several regions, combined with COVID-19 restrictions, mean there are shortages of supplementary feed across much of the country. Ongoing feed planning and budgeting is essential.

Feed planning support [PDF, 2.3 MB]

Drought monitor – NIWA

Feed survey summary

3 July 2020 [PDF, 410 KB]

25 June 2020 [PDF, 410 KB]

30 May 2020 [PDF, 400 KB]

15 May 2020 [PDF, 411 KB]

24 April 2020 [PDF, 409 KB]

31 July 2020 [PDF, 92 KB]

Plan your feed

Free feed planning support

Call the free feed planning service to talk through your options:

  • 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 23 33 52)
  • 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 43 24 79 69)

Feed coordination service

Feed coordinators help connect farmers with available feed sources. They coordinate offers and requests in each region, working with the primary sector groups and trusts.

To use this service, you need to have a feed budget for the next few months so that they can help you get through. People answering the hotlines listed above can help you with that for free.

Farmers and livestock owners can register for feed wanted here directly:

I need feed – Feed Coordination Service

If you have feed to donate or sell register here:

I have feed to sell or donate – Feed Coordination Service

Rural Support Trusts and MPI staff can also choose to take people’s details and email coordinators directly:

Feed coordinators:

North Island ali@ruraldirections.co.nz

North Island kate@ruraldirections.co.nz  

South Island tammy.johnson@dairynz.co.nz

Order alternative feed

If you believe you need supplementary feed, place an order with a feed merchant as soon as possible. This includes for grain from the South Island.

Some imported feeds – for example, PKE – can take 10 to 12 weeks to arrive after ordering so you need to bear this in mind when ordering. Suppliers may be able to advise on a range or mix of products to ensure your stock receive the best possible nutrition in these difficult times.

Contact a Rural Support Trust

Your local trust can provide support and advice. It's free to use a Rural Support Trust. Talking to them is confidential. They can connect you with the services you need, whether it's financial and business advice or health services.

Freephone 0800 78 72 54 (0800 RURAL HELP).

Rural Support Trust

Talk to an industry association

Industry associations like Beef + Lamb New Zealand or DairyNZ can provide technical advice. Their websites have information on planning your feed budget and managing an animal's condition.

Knowledge hub – Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Animal management – DairyNZ

Check your budget

Talk to your bank and accountant early, and talk to them regularly.

Inland Revenue can answer questions relating to taxes.

Work and Income can tell you about emergency benefits, special needs grants, or rural assistance payments.

Income Tax – Inland Revenue

Emergency Benefit – Work and Income

Special Needs Grant – Work and Income

Rural Assistance Payment – Work and Income

 

Other drought advice and guidance

Lifestyle and small block owners: Coping with drought [PDF, 3.5 MB]

Farming through 2020-2021: Where to go for information and support [PDF, 2.3 MB]

Information on how to get through the current feed shortage situation [PDF, 2.3 MB]

Advice about on-farm emergency euthanasia [PDF, 3.7 MB]

Summer management – Dairy NZ

How you can get help

Adverse events resources

Who to contact

If you have questions about droughts or support for farmers, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Last reviewed: