After one of their best autumns in decades, Taieri farmers
are hoping recent rainfall does not continue into winter.
While the Taieri Plain missed the worst of recent rainstorms,
about 62mm fell on the plain last month, boosted by 18.6mm
last Monday and 8.2mm on Good Friday, exceeding the April
average of 48mm.
The Taieri River rose to first flood alert status along its
length during both high rainfall events but kept within its
Taieri farmer Mike Lord said instead of causing problems as
it did in North Otago, the rain gave a late boost to grass
''It's still growing incredibly well for this time of year.
But we don't really need any more.''
It topped up what he described as a ''phenomenally good
season'' with exceptional grass growth on the Taieri.
But shorter days, less sun and cooler temperatures meant
further rain could prove a problem.
Taieri farmer Colin Scurr said the ground was starting to get
wet and slippery and cause lameness in some cows, but the
grass growth had been ''terrific''.
''It's been one of our better autumns.''
The high flows in the Taieri had meant some extra work
clearing up the ''mess on the berms'' and fences, he said.
Otago Regional Council engineering, natural hazards and
science director Gavin Palmer said he and chairman Stephen
Woodhead inspected the Taieri on Good Friday and were
surprised to find most of the drainage network was clear and
it was rain up country causing the river to rise.
The council's flood and drainage infrastructure, including
the newly commissioned Waipori pump station, did its job
without any problems, Mr Palmer said.
The council had proposed two new projects for the Lower
Taieri Flood Protection Scheme in the coming year - forming a
weighting blanket beside the Taieri River right flood bank at
Otokia to reduce the likelihood of failure, and investigating
the potential of seismic damage to the Waipori flood bank.
Observations from Christchurch after the first earthquake
highlighted the need for better information on that flood
bank, he said.
''We'll make an assessment if any work needs to be done after
Top three April rainfall totals at Dunedin Airport (from
180.8mm in April 1968
in April 2006
96.6mm in April 1996