El Niño in 2015-2016
December 2015 and January 2016 outlook
El Niño is an underlying climate pattern that can cause more extreme weather. Its impact is being felt in different ways across New Zealand:
- cooler temperatures
- more rain in the west
- drier conditions in the north and east
- stronger winds on the West Coast and in Canterbury.
The eastern South Island – particularly Canterbury and Otago – has been suffering drought since last summer, and El Niño may be contributing to these dry conditions extending through this summer.
Other parts of the country are showing signs of dryness, or conversely, may be more likely to experience storms or flooding.
What you can do
MPI and agencies are urging farmers and growers to:
- stay informed, develop a plan and review as the season unfolds
- set trigger dates or criteria for making constructive decisions
- talk to trusted advisors and peers and ask for help if you need it
- look after yourself, your family and your neighbours.
Stay in touch with MPI and agencies through this website to understand how this El Niño is unfolding in your region; and the probabilities of the most typical weather events.
Download the Preparing for El Niño factsheet [PDF, 538 KB]
Where to go for advice and information
Agencies are ready to help you with support and advice. Start with your Rural Support Trust:
- Call 0800 78 72 54 (0800 RURAL HELP)
- Visit the Rural Support Trusts' website
Click on any of the following topics to reveal more information.
Early planning is key
Make early decisions on feed budgets and source alternative stockfeed supplies well before you may need them. Have a plan with trigger points for other solutions such as destocking.
Find out more
Help is available
Firstly, contact your Rural Support Trust. Other agencies are also set up to support farmers, growers and families through difficult times.
Find out more
- Managing your financial and mental wellbeing [PDF, 1.2 MB]
- Government Funding Boost for Rural Mental Health [PDF, 307 KB]
- Government assistance for climatic events and natural disasters impacting on-farm [PDF, 361 KB]
- Farmstrong website
- Health and wellbeing – Dairy Women's Network website
- Rural Women New Zealand website
- Extreme weather tax relief – Inland Revenue website
- Rural assistance payments – Work and Income website
Information on the NIWA website
- Talk to your neighbours with more experience, especially those who have been through El Niños before.
- Ask the experts for financial, wellbeing, and management advice.
- Smaller and lifestyle farmers can find useful information in our El Niño flyer.
Prepare, review, check
Prepare a water budget, regularly review soil moisture levels and crop requirements, and check that water equipment is performing well.