While we have all taken a hit in some way shape or form this year. The agriculture industry of New Zealand has been affected worse than previously thought. The Tractor and Farm Machinery Association (TAMA) says April tractor sales were down more than 60 percent from April 2019.
TAMA President John Tulloch has written to the Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor requesting action to encourage farmers and contractors to invest in farm productivity this year.
Specifically, it wants the Government to review its low-value asset write off to bring it up to at least the same level as Australia, which is currently limited at $150,000.
There has been a $500,000 fund to help farmers and growers begin to prepare their businesses to recover from the drought. Along with being able to help farmers and growers get some financial stability, the fund also allows them to employ the services of professional and technical advice to assist them not only to recover from this drought but also better prepare for any future droughts.
Through this grant doesn’t just help the farmers with gaining professional assistance, it also allows for the continued use of local workers to be kept employed at the farms. While allowing any maintenance to still be carried out on any vehicles, or any works being conducted on the property. This in turn will allow local businesses to continue operating. Overall the grant doesn’t just affect the farmers but has a positive effect on the wider community.
Although there may be a 60 percent decrease from tractor sales, that doesn’t mean that tractors aren’t being used or that harvesting isn’t continuing. Quite the opposite is happening, while it may be tougher going without the added benefits of rainfall. Farmers are able to continue to work on their fields, this is greatly helped by the current machinery and technology being used, along with fertilisers. To ensure that not only is the produce being harvested at the correct time, but also being able to be harvested quickly and efficiently. Thus reducing any spoilage or damage taken onto the produce. While rainfall is always welcomed and desired, farmers are still more than able to cope without rainfall for a time.
However, it is not all bad news, as drought can be considered ‘broken’ when there has been enough rain to allow the soil to generate about 15% of field capacity. This normally happens with 50mm of rain or more. As we have entered winter there is an expectation that rain will come sooner rather than later.
Overall the agriculture industry will not only be able to overcome this drought with relative ease, but will be able to do so while also being able to pass on the benefits not to just the consumers, but also to the supporting services and industries that work in tandem with agriculture.