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New Zealand drought hurting farmers and economy

4:39 PM, Mar 14, 2013   |    comments
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CARTERTON, New Zealand - Dairy farmer John Rose has sent more than 100 of his cows to the slaughterhouse over recent weeks as a severe drought browned pastures in New Zealand's normally verdant North Island.

He said it was necessary to thin his herd so that his remaining 550 cows have enough to eat. He's supplementing their diet with ground palm kernel as the grass in his fields withers.

The drought is costing farmers millions of dollars each day and is beginning to take a toll on the country's economy.

Parts of the North Island are drier than they've been in 70 years and some scientists say the unusual weather could be a harbinger of climate change.

There has been little significant rainfall in the northern and eastern parts of the country since October.

The Associated Press

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