It was not just trees uprooted throughout Canterbury last
week. This road sign at Kirwee also lost its anchor. Photo by David Hill
Last week's storm has given farmers another chance to assess
contingency plans to cope with adverse events.
Federated Farmers North Canterbury meat and fibre spokeswoman
Lynda Murchison said the storm caught many Canterbury farmers
''Events like this give us a moment to stop and think about
how vulnerable our businesses are and what we can do to
reduce our vulnerability.
''Some dairy sheds are not wired for connecting generators,
so when we get over this there might be some long-term
planning so they can take a generator.''
She said Federated Farmers had been overwhelmed by offers of
generators from throughout New Zealand.
''We've had a really big response and a lot of the offers are
from Christchurch which I think is really amazing. The Farmy
Army helped in Christchurch after the earthquakes and now the
people of Christchurch are returning the favour.''
While there were reports of about 800 irrigators damaged in
Canterbury and many dairy farmers left without electricity to
power their milking sheds for up to a week, sheep and beef
farmers generally fared better, Mrs Murchison said, ''but if
they require power to pump water to their house or for stock
water, then it will be an issue. And there are all the trees
and phone lines down.''
Before last week's storm, the area's farmers were reporting a
Federated Farmers North Canterbury sharemilkers spokesman
James Bourke, of Culverden, said dairy farmers and
sharemilkers could not have wished for a better start to the
''It was really the autumn and winter that everyone needed
after the dry summer.
''We thought the feed was going to be short over the winter,
but it wasn't a seriously wet winter. It has been very mild
and we have got through.''
Fonterra's latest 2013-14 season forecast had the farm gate
milk price at $7.80, or $8.12 with the dividend included,
which was good news for sharemilkers and farmers.
However, Mr Bourke warned with a higher milk price and fewer
cows, following the drought earlier this year, the price of
cows was likely to go up, making it difficult for new
sharemilkers wanting to build up their cow numbers.
Kirwee farmer Murray Rowlands said he finished lambing his
mob of just under 1000 ewes in less than four weeks, while
the drilling for his crops had gone well and the price for
grain was looking positive.
''We have three times as many mouths to feed with all the
lambs and calves in the area; we just need to keep the grass
"The feed supply is still looking reasonably short. The grass
growth has held it so far, but it is a matter of what are we
going to get.''
- David Hill