Catch the Rain working to increase drought resilience

// Feed Planning and Strategies

B+LNZ is collaborating with Quorum Sense on enhancing drought resilience and productivity for dryland farmers. Over 40 farmers nationwide will explore innovative practices to maximise the impact of rain on soils throughout this 2.5-year project.

image of research group on farm sampling soil

Catch the Rain, funded by B+LNZ, is especially timely as farmers grapple with more frequent and intense extreme weather events. 

Suzi Keeling, Sector Science Strategy Manager at B+LNZ, says, "As much of the country enters a dry spell, this project will in the future help us to equip farmers with better research and tools to navigate such challenges.” 

“Ensuring our sheep and beef farmers, present and future, have the tools, knowledge, and data to be resilient in times of drought and extreme weather is our goal.” 

Driven by farmers, the project originates from Quorum Sense network observations, aiming to enhance soil health and reduce runoff. The project's foundation lies in improving rainfall infiltration, soil moisture retention, and addressing issues such as compaction, bare soil, and hydrophobicity. 

Sam Lang, the project lead for Catch the Rain and a farmer from Mid-Canterbury, is enthusiastic about the trials. "The farmers decide what practices they want to trial, and we support them with trial design and monitoring tools.  

“Successful trials could empower farmers to expand these practices, while unsuccessful ones provide valuable insights into soils and pastures." 

Supported by scientists from Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Plant + Food Research, and Massey University, the project commenced with four farmer workshops last year. With three-quarters of participating farmers establishing trials and baseline monitoring, the Soilmentor app is instrumental in recording monitoring data, fostering collaborative insights on a shared platform. 

 Visit the Catch the Rain website to learn more.