Calves on Geoff and Jan Keeling's farm line up for feeding
early yesterday morning in blizzard conditions. Photo by
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
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
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.