Farmers not expecting adverse effects from snow

Calves on Geoff and Jan Keeling's farm line up for feeding early yesterday morning in blizzard conditions. Photo by Jan Keeling.
Calves on Geoff and Jan Keeling's farm line up for feeding early yesterday morning in blizzard conditions. Photo by Jan Keeling.
Farmers were prepared for this week's wintry blast and it is not expected livestock will be detrimentally affected.

Federated Farmers adverse events spokesman, David Rose, who had about 3cm of snow on his Southland sheep farm yesterday, said the MetService gave plenty of warning, which allowed farmers to shift stock to shelter.

While there were pockets of lambing under way in Canterbury, full-scale lambing was still several weeks away in cooler regions or those at elevation.

Lambing in Southland did not start until September, while in the high country, it was still a long way off in October, Mr Rose said.

The cold snap would not have the impact of last year's storm in the South which occurred a month later and was "right in the middle" of lambing.

It had been a "great" autumn, stock were in very good condition and farmers had plenty of supplements.

The only note of concern was from areas where snow was a complete rarity, like the Waikato.

"Dairy farmers couldn't believe their eyes [yesterday] morning that they were milking in snowfall," he said.

DairyNZ consulting officer Caroline Hadley, who was busy phoning dairy farmers yesterday, said it was only the start of calving and farmers generally seemed well prepared.

As a result of last September's storm, a lot of farmers had gone into this winter and calving with more supplements.

Wet ground conditions were the biggest challenge, so farmers with feed pads were coping better than those without.

Farmers needed to make sure cows were getting their requirements, and to keep them out of the elements, if they could. They also needed to be vigilant with calving.

"Obviously,if its wet and cold, then calves are at risk," Mrs Hadley said.

DairyNZ's website had tips for farmers dealing with crops and pasture affected by snow, while Beef and Lamb New Zealand also had resources available to help farmers.