There has been no rain for months now in most of the North Island. This summer has been hotter than usual with record sunshine hours. For people on holiday, this has been the best summer for many years.
However, for farmers it has been terrible. No rain means no grass. No grass means animals have no food. There are cracks in the bare soil in some places. In other places, the grass is dry and yellow. Farmers are worried about how to feed their animals. The cost of hay is very high. Dairy cows are not producing as much milk as usual. Many farmers are selling their animals to the meat works.
Last week the government said that Northland was a drought area. This means farmers can delay paying their tax. Farmers in other areas such as Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay and Auckland want to the government to do the same for their areas.
Fire has been a problem in many places this summer. Some water reservoirs have dried up. This makes it hard to fight fires.
The drought will affect the country’s economy. Dairy products are our number one exports and less milk means less income for farmers and for our economy.
• drought – no rain for a long time
• record sunshine – more than any other years
• bare soil – no grass on that soil
• meat works – place where animals are killed for meat, abattoirs
• delay – postpone, pay it later
• water reservoirs – storage lakes
• fight fires – this is an idiom
• dairy products – e.g. butter, cheese, milk powder
• A means B is another way to show a cause and effect. We could also say, ‘The drought has affected the growth of grass.’ Or ‘The poor growth of grass is the result of the drought.’ Or ‘The poor growth of grass is because of the drought.’
• There is / are / was/ were / has been / have been – this is a very useful way to start a sentence: ‘There has been no rain …’ ‘There are cracks in the soil.’
Note how to say drought. Those ough words are very difficult in English. Most of them have different pronunciation e.g. cough, though, thought, ought, sought, tough, enough. Check your dictionary to see how to pronounce them.