North Canterbury farmers still dealing with a drought are bracing themselves for more misery as an El Nino weather pattern is forecast between now and April.
North Canterbury sheep and beef farmer Greg Chamberlain said in the past six months, Cheviot has had less rainfall than the Sahara desert, and no major downpours in the past 15 months.
Mr Chamberlain said it was the driest he had seen it in 25 years of farming in the area; one creekbed hasn’t flowed for the past year.
He said the colder-than-usual temperatures over autumn, a feature of El Nino that has already started to bite, had also stunted grass growth, leaving him no option but to sell off more than half his stock, taking his numbers from 4500 to 1600.
The other feature of an El Nino is drier-than-normal conditions to the east of the country.