Under the weather

Hayden Robertson (17) shifts a break fence for ewes feeding on swedes at his family's farm at Blackrock, near Lee Stream on Monday. Photo: Craig Robertson
Hayden Robertson (17) shifts a break fence for ewes feeding on swedes at his family's farm at Blackrock, near Lee Stream on Monday. Photo: Craig Robertson
Plenty of snow, combined with a loss of power for Gore and outlying areas made for a challenging Monday morning this week.

There was a significant layer in many areas of Otago and Southland, in addition to earlier falls in Central Otago on Saturday.

Many roads were closed and snow fell to sea level in some areas.

Craig and Alison Robertson farm 550 sheep on 121ha at Blackrock, near Lee Stream.

They were busy feeding out on Monday with help from son Hayden and were hoping the snow didn't stay around for too long.

Mr Robertson said up to 10cm of snow fell over Sunday and Monday.

''It has been an incredibly mild season. This has been our first snowfall. Usually we would have had a couple by now,'' he said.

Dairy farmer Chanelle Purser said she had been on their dairy farm at Crookston for 16 years.

''We've never had snow like this before,'' she said.

While they were well prepared and at the early stages of calving, she had thought they would miss most of the predicted snow during the weekend, but received a heavy fall on Sunday night.

''We probably had about 20cm to 30cm and some of the snow drifts were half way up my leg,'' she said.

''We were out at 11.30 last night picking up a few calves that had been born, otherwise they would not have survived the night.''

''Looking at our gates, the weight of the snow has pushed them to the ground.

''There is no wind, only a slight breeze, but we had driving wind last night.''

Although they had not had power because of a downed power pole on Monday morning, they were prepared with plenty of feed and their cattle were in sheltered paddocks.

Clinton dairy farmer Lauren Badcock said they had about 7cm to 10cm of snow.

She said they were about a quarter of their way through calving.

''Touch wood, we have been OK so far,'' she said.

She said they had been out at night to pick up calves and on Sunday night the snow was being driven sideways.

Wreys Bush dairy farmer Katrina Thomas paid tribute to her team of dedicated staff, who were out in all weathers and several times in the past 24 hours to pick up calves and get them into the warm shed.

''The team get on to the calves pretty quickly, as soon as they [the calves] hit the ground.

''They have been doing long hours to bring them in.

''We get them in the wool shed under heat lamps and then tubed and receiving the first colostrum.

''We get it into them pretty quick.''

She said as at Monday lunchtime, the snow had stopped for the moment and was starting to turn into a ''delightful muddy slush''.

They knew the bad weather was coming and had made sure they were well prepared with extra baleage and silage and the stock were fed and in sheltered paddocks.

''We had snow on Saturday night as it was predicted, and it snowed again on Sunday.

''We have had no calf fatalities. So far we are fortunate.''

MetService forecasted an unsettled week of weather, with temperatures returning to normal for this time of year. Frosts were also predicted.

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