Lower-than-average rainfall recorded for July

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News that July rainfall in North Otago was generally below average has been received as both expected and good news to some weather-dependent groups.

Dunedin-based water resource analysts, Raineffects Limited, released a weather report for the district yesterday which said that while July was an unsettled month, with only nine days of calm anticyclonic weather, the result was a warmer-than-average month.

Rainfall totals varied from close to average, to only a quarter of average in the district and include Waikoura (43.1mm or 5 per cent below average), Oamaru Airport (40.8mm or 2 per cent below), Oamaru town (57.8mm or 3 per cent above), Kauru, the Dasher (1.5mm or 75 per cent below), Islay Downs (23.5mm or 54 per cent below) and Palmerston (38mm or 30 per cent below).

The report indicated that a mixture of strong winds and fine, settled periods had allowed the district time to dry out after several autumn rain events and record July temperatures were posted in parts of Otago.

Federated Farmers South Canterbury/North Otago grain and seed representative, Colin Hurst, said after a wet autumn, a drier July had enabled ground to be cultivated but this had now clashed with the busy spring stock work period.

“It’s quite an intense time now, but we should be caught up in two weeks,” Mr Hurst said.

“We’ve just about finished planting wheat and then we’ll be on to barley and peas.”

Mr Hurst said there was still good moisture in the soil, although the absence of autumn crops, which were traditionally high-yielding, would mean overall yields were expected to be down this season.

Waitaki District Council recreation manager Eric van der Spek is part of a group of people who manage Oamaru’s sports fields.

He said it had been a relief to have had better weather conditions throughout July.

“We’ve got minor damage to some fields, a few humps and hollows, but we’ve been able to get out rollling.”

The council was taking a wait-and-see approach to those Oamaru parks which had had areas under water for some time.

Resowing may have to be considered, Mr van der Spek said.

By LINDA MCCARTHY