[2 November/New Zealand Herald]

Climate change is likely to benefit Southland farmers in several ways. AgResearch’s Dr Tony van der Weerden is involved with research looking at the impacts of climate change on agriculture. He predicted that over the next 80 – 100 years southland temperatures would increase by about 3 degrees improving farming conditions. He noted that winters would be wetter, springs would come earlier, and that snowfall would significantly decrease.  He also said that increasing CO2 levels would see plants achieve elevated levels of growth and production. However, he also warned that extreme weather events, such as droughts, winds and rainfall would occur more often. Over this period Farmers will be looking for more drought-tolerant species such as tall fescue grass.