Peak effort getting stock down

Ida Valley farmer Lochie Rutherford moves a sheep one sapping heave at a time, 1200m up Mt St Bathans yesterday. Trudging through the snow behind him is neighbour David Hutton.

The pair's properties were not badly affected by last week's snowfall and the two farmers have been helping rescue stock on nearby St Bathans Station.

Thick snow which blanketed inland Otago is thawing quickly on the flat but the race is still on to rescue stock trapped on the hill country.

Snow-raking at St Bathans Station was into its sixth day yesterday, when 28 people were helping on the hill. To date, they have moved 7000-8000 merinos to lower ground or on to clearer knobs so the stock can find food.

''It has been a real good thaw and things are starting to open up,'' station owner Don Malcolm said last night.

''The next job is to get food to the stock. The support has been tremendous,'' he said.

''That people took a day out of their lives to help us was quite humbling.''

Local women were also helped with food and lunches.

''It makes you proud to be an Otagoite.''

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