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Farming through the drought Farming out of the drought Summer management Contacts Resources

Drought management in dairy farming is about preparing for and recovering from dry conditions. This page provides you with various options to deal with drought. It suggests checking long-range weather forecasts to understand the upcoming climate patterns and offers strategies both for farming through a drought and for recovery once it has ended. Suggestions include having a plan, taking early action, and seeking professional help and advice. Information is also given for summer management, along with contact details for support organisations and resources like soil moisture deficit maps.


Are you faced with drought or dry conditions? Below are a series of options to help you manage through a dry period and recover as quickly as possible.

Check long-range weather forecasts. Is a La Nina or El Nino expected? Have a look at NIWA's long range weather predictions. Some forecasting companies have seasonal outlooks. If you are getting uncomfortably close to a trigger point, also check the MetService's 16-day forecast. Some regional councils also provide weather information.

Farming through the drought

Read more about management options during the drought:

  • Have a plan in place
  • Take action early
  • Review the plan
  • Set up for next season
  • Ask for help if you need it.

Farming out of the drought

Read more about management options once the drought has broken:

  • Limit the damage to this and future seasons
  • Develop and implement a feed and financial recovery plan
  • Start by growing more grass - slow rotation, nitrogen, regrassing
  • Don't forget young stock
  • Use your farming colleagues, advisors, accountant and banker.

Summer management


  • DairyNZ Farmer Information Service: 0800 4 DAIRY NZ (0800 4 324 7969
  • Rural Support Trust: 0800 778 667
  • Farmers of New Zealand: 09 439 5219


Last updated: Aug 2023

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