New Zealand Forecaster Expects Ample Rain for Dairy Farmers

New Zealand will avoid soaring temperatures and dry rivers in the first quarter, adding to signs of minimal disruption to milk production, which generates a quarter of the nation’s exports.

Rainfall, river flows and soil moisture will be normal for this time of year in most regions in the three months through March, with the exception of the east of the North Island where it may be drier, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said today in a report on its website. Temperatures will be average everywhere except the west of the North Island where it may be cooler, the government agency said.

Most milk production in the world’s biggest dairy exporter occurs in the west and north regions of the North Island where weather conditions will be favorable, according to the Wellington-based institute. There is a 30 percent chance of below-normal rainfall in the Waikato and Taranaki dairy regions.

Dairy, meat and wool comprise about 40 percent of the nation’s exports, with merchandise shipments making up 30 percent of gross domestic product. A severe La Nina weather pattern in early 2008 led to drought and helped tip the nation into a recession as milk production slowed and farmers reduced sheep and cattle numbers.

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