DROUGHT FORECASTING TOOL
MPI and NIWA have launched a new tool to help predict drought conditions.
The drought forecasting tool is part of the NIWA35 platform, which is using machine learning and deep learning to make high resolution sub-seasonal climate predictions up to 35 days ahead.
Every year, there is potential for dry conditions around the country. This may lead to shortages of feed in some regions. Ongoing feed planning and budgeting is essential.
Having a feed budget can help you:
- calculate your feed demand
- calculate your feed supply
- investigate options to fill feed gaps
- proactively make decisions.
Getting a plan in place can help give you peace of mind. Farm advisers are available to help you complete a feed budget or source alternative feed.
- For drystock farmers, freephone Beef + Lamb NZ on 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 23 33 52)
- For dairy farmers, freephone DairyNZ on 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 43 24 79 69)
Monitoring drought conditions and feed supplies
DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Federated Farmers, and other specialist providers, along with MPI, formed a Feed Working Group in April 2020 during a severe drought when farmers had few options to access supplementary feed. This was restarted in February 2023 following the North Island Adverse Weather events. The group takes a national perspective. It monitors access to feed availability, and if a significant need arises it will work with local networks and other partners to consider options to overcome feed availability issues.
NIWA and MPI have developed new drought forecasting tool to help farmers and growers better prepare for periods of dryness and drought.
The tool uses innovative climate modelling, the latest in machine-learning and other data-driven techniques.
NIWA officially launched this tool in October 2023. This is updated daily to provide forecasts at a much higher spatial resolution than previously available. This will enable the provision of district-level predictions of dryness and drought.
This new tool supplements the existing NZ Drought Index (NZDI) that was jointly launched by NIWA and MPI in 2017.
Hawke's Bay drought indicator
A drought risk indicator tool is also available for rural communities in Hawke's Bay.
The tool was designed by the regional council with funding from MPI and in partnership with the Hawke's Bay Rural Advisory Group.
Each of the country’s 14 Rural Support Trusts have local, rural people who know from experience that pressures can mount up. Your local trust can provide support and advice. Talking to them is confidential, and free of charge. 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).
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.
Talk to your bank and accountant early, and talk to them regularly.
Your accountant and Inland Revenue, can answer questions relating to taxes, including access to flexibility provisions to the Income Equalisation Scheme following adverse events.
There is some Work and Income support that you could access. Talk to your local Rural Support Trust about emergency benefits, special needs grants, or rural assistance payments.
Case studies on managing sheep and beef farms through drought:
Feed and supply chain issues - Beef + Lamb New Zealand
Webinars are available on the Beef + Lamb NZ website that are focused on helping farmers prepare for disruptions based on the outlook for the current season. The aim was to get farmers thinking about the importance of planning.
MPI commissioned the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) to draft a report on the socio-economic impacts of the 2019/2020 drought.
Who to contact
If you have questions about droughts or support for farmers, email firstname.lastname@example.org