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Farmers laud rain, want more dams

Holidaymakers may be cursing the midsummer storms, but farmers say the rain will keep the wolf from the door.

Rain has caused havoc on the roads in the South Island, flooding rivers and streams and washing out bridges, but also filling the southern hydro lakes.

But Federated Farmers believes much of the country's farmland has benefited from summer rain, except Hawke's Bay and parts of Gisborne.

"Both the northern South Island and Wairarapa received some welcome rain, but we are also aware how quickly dry hot weather can sap that from the ground," adverse events spokeswoman Katie Milne said.

"It seems to be enough to keep the wolves at bay for now."

Gisborne was "spotty", with some areas having rain, but things were looking dry north of Tolaga Bay, she said.

Hawke's Bay appeared to have missed out, showing a water storage scheme on the Ruataniwha plains was vital, Mrs Milne said.

Soil moisture would become less of an economic lottery, she said.

"With surplus water also coming down rivers in Otago and Canterbury, it pretty much underlines why we need to capture it when we can.

"It is gutting to see electricity dams spilling water that only runs out to sea, when our economy is hostage to the vagaries of summer rainfall."