NZ: Drought Worst In 100 Years

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Drought Worst In 100 Years By Staff Reporter Glen Crofskey at 8:14am, 26th April 2001

Climate scientists have warned that the drought afflicting farmers in the east of the South Island could continue until next spring.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) described the latest drought, now in its eighth month in Marlborough, as the worst in 100 years. Drought conditions are also affecting Canterbury and North Otago.

A scientist at the Institute, Dr Jim Salinger, said the outlook was not promising.

"The odds of a lot of rain happening aren't high, particularly for the east of the South Island.

"In our current climate outlook we are not expecting above average rain for them, in fact we are expecting below average rainfall in our April to June outlook, so the prospects aren't at all good," he said.

Dr Salinger said the current conditions could well continue well into the next spring, creating major problems for those on the land.

Marlborough hasn't had a decent drenching for up to eight months and Marlborough Federated Farmers spokesperson and local farmer, David Dillon, said he had never experienced anything like it.

He said the drought conditions were causing 100-year-old gum trees and even patches of gorse to die.

Mr Dillon said with many paddocks now looking like dust bowls, a heavy downpour of rain would cause more problems by running off the surface and washing away the top soil.

He also said for some farmers, finding and funding feed was becoming too hard and more and more were having to destock.

"I heard of a farmer yesterday selling his cows at the local sale and these were his breeding cows. I was also approached by another farmer who said he would be dropping ewes and cattle in the next ten days because its pointless to carry on. You can't get fodder," he said.

NewsRoom 2001

http://www.newsroom.co.nz/story/43880-99999.html

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 25, 2001

Answers

patches of gorse

Can anyone tell me what gorse is?

Just curious.

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 25, 2001.


Gorse is a thick high brush that has terrible thorns on it. We have something in the west similiar to it called Buckthorn. But Gorse can cover great quanity of land from single bush. Animals will carve out caves within it for shelter. Its awful stuff but does serve a purpose for shelter for all the critters. On the otherhand, its hell on sheep as they get their wool caught in it and trapped and die.

-- Taz (Tassie123@aol.com), April 26, 2001.

In the Pacific NW Gorse has become a pariah
of plants. It spreads quickly and chokes out
native species. It contains a volatile oil
that creates a hot fire when burned. There is
currently an eradication program going on by
the Forest Service. They are using spider mites,
Glyphosphate herbicides and burning in an
attempt to restore land to its original state.


-- spider (spider0@usa.net), April 26, 2001.

Thanks for the info Taz

I was born in Oregon and had never heard of the stuff. It must be a relative new plant. But then it was more years than I care to remember that I lived in the state and left to see the world.

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 26, 2001.


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