Milton farmer Paul Corboy surveys some snow-damaged manuka trees on his farm. Photo by Timothy Brown
This year has been tough for farmers in the South. First
it was too dry, then it was too wet and then it was too
white. While a mild July and August alleviated the fears of
many, others are still dealing with the snow which hit the
hill country of Otago. Reporter Timothy Brown caught up with
Milton farmer Paul Corboy to see what effects the snow has
Rows of manuka trees, limbs split and branches barely hanging
on, litter Paul Corboy's Table Hill farm.
''It's like a giant hand has squashed them,'' he says.
The trees are a sign of the hangover created by one of the
worst snow binges in Otago's history.
''The climate's usually fairly reliable, but we are always
prepared for a tough winter,'' Mr Corboy said.
''We keep a snowplow and a stack of silage here, and the only
reason we keep them is for a tough winter.''
Mr Corboy was philosophical about the damage to his farm and
said he had escaped much more lightly than many others in the
Only a ''handful of at-risk ewes'' had been lost to the snow,
but the ongoing complications the snow had created were the
problem, he said.
The snow had been ''annoying more than costly'', as fences
were damaged all over his 1500ha property.
''We start lambing in a few weeks time and we still haven't
got all the fences going,'' he said.
The situation had required him to place stock where fences
were available and created ''real complications in
management'', he said.
The snow's effects were also going to affect this season as
his scanning percentage was ''well back and poor compared to
normal'', he said.
''The condition of the sheep wasn't as good as it has been,''
Mr Corboy said.
''We are currently going to be back on lambs. I might sell a
reasonable number of store lambs just to get the capital
While he was still dealing with issues of the ''most annoying
year'' in his farming career, he had a plan for the coming
''We have just got to knuckle down and do it,'' he said.