Farmers managing floods encouraged

to seek support

10 December 2019

As flood waters begin to recede and the full effects of damage is identified on the West Coast and around the Rangitata catchment, farmers are reminded to reach out for help if they need it.

DairyNZ South Island hub lead Tony Finch says the ferociousness of the recent rain took many farmers by surprise and, a few days on, some farms are still working with intermittent power and closed roads affecting milk collection. Approximately 22 farms are affected in the Rangitata and another 40 farms on the West Coast.

“As the flood waters begin to disappear, the full extent of the damage and the clean-up will be seen,” said Mr Finch. “Some farmers will be thinking about milk that cannot be collected. Every situation is different, and we recommend farmers contact their supply company and local council for advice on the best way to manage uncollected milk. Also talk to your DairyNZ regional team for advice on farm system support.

“It’s worth taking the time to look ahead by creating a feed plan. Assess current feed resources and cow condition, and damage to infrastructure. Damaged, wet tracks can create issues with lameness, so contact your local Healthy Hoof provider, they are trained to help with this problem,” said Mr Finch.

“There is also the potential for more rain in the coming week, so we encourage farmers to plan for that by looking at how more rain could add pressure to their system – are the paddocks likely to reflood? Where should the cows be kept? What will you do if milk collection is still cut-off? Planning ahead can support good decision-making at the time.

“Farmers are a pretty resilient bunch and very solutions-focused. Even when they are isolated geographically, there are many people, organisations and information available to support – they are not alone.”

The impacted South Island farms are currently affected by damaged infrastructure, rivers cutting new paths through farmland and silt accumulation across hectares of land. This is compounded in some areas by bridges and roads out of action affecting milk collection.

DairyNZ has flood management information on its website:

For support and advice, contact

DairyNZ ph0800 324 7969


Rural Support Trust ph0800 787 254


Federated Farmers ph0800 327 646


West Coast Council and civil defence ph0508 800 118


Environment Canterbury ph0800 324 636


Timaru District Council ph03 687 7200


Media inquiries:

Vanessa Fever

Senior Communications and Media Specialist

Phone 027 836 6295

Lee Cowan

Senior Engagement & Communications Manager

Phone 021 930 836

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