'Bugger' - Canterbury farmer spells out drought frustration in sheep

It's dry humour as sheep alongside State Highway 1 in north Canterbury are spelling out a farmer's drought frustration.

Parnassus farmer Mike Bowler has has been using his feed spreader to spell out short messages which his sheep then highlight in wool.

He is limited to six or seven letters and the words only last five or 10 minutes before the sheep finish feeding and wander off.

They have included a picture of a kiwi, the names of his grandchildren and the most popular, particularly with fellow struggling farmers: "bugger".

North Canterbury has been struggling through a long dry spell, and the lack of grass growth means Mr Bowler has been bringing in feed for his flock since mid-January.

"Every now and again I get something silly in my head and do a bit of a squiggle," he told NZ Newswire.

"I've got 900 sheep following me around and they get in the way sometimes, you do have to be a bit careful. It doesn't always work out."

He can't really see what he is writing and has sometimes looked back to discover a spelling mistake.

He has also been tempted to use stronger language than "bugger".

"But when you do it right next to the main road, as you people say, this is a family programme."

He initially sent a photo to the Agri HQ Facebook page and the sheep-writing message spread from there.

The response has been positive, although there had been one negative comment.

"For some reason - I don't think there's a blade of grass in the paddock - but it shows up green in the photo and they wrote: `What drought? All I can see is green'.

"Those are the sort of people you need to bring out to have a look."

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