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Storms and 'weather bombs' have caused flooding throughout the country in the past. Stock losses, power outages, slips, bridges washed away, silt covered pastures requiring regrassing - the effects can be devastating on a farm business.

Knowing what to do will reduce the immediate impact of the flood and planning strategies to deal with the aftermath will allow for a quicker recovery.

Immediate actions

  • Ensure the safety of family and staff
  • Move stock to safety, shelter and water and make sure they can't wander. Are the electric fences working?
  • Check power and phones. Report outages
  • Check dogs, poultry and pets
  • Check on neighbours - do they need help or can they help you?
  • Check buildings at risk, feed stacks. Move equipment and feed to higher ground.
  • Use generators if necessary to keep pumps, refrigeration, electric fences and household appliances running. Flood pumps may need attention.

Next priority

  • Move stock to a stand-off area so that they do not damage good pastures
  • Feed stock
  • Check roads and tracks, bridges, culverts.  Report road and tanker track access problems to council and/or dairy company
  • Clean up houses
  • Look after family, staff, neighbours.  Accept help if you need it.
  • Milk herd if you can, but note that you may choose to delay milking or milk once-a-day to allow you time for other priorities. Watch for high SCCs and mastitis, and keep in touch with the dairy company as necessary.

In a day or two or when flood has receded

  • Assess damage to water supply and reticulation system.  Which troughs are contaminated with silt and will need cleaning?
  • Assess damage to access lanes, tracks, gateways, culverts and fences. What clearing away of flood debris is needed?
  • Assess damage to pastures, the depth and type of silt
  • Assess available non-flooded pastures and other undamaged feed reserves
  • Contact local council, flood relief co-ordinator, DairyNZ staff, Federated Farmers, MAF, the NZ Landcare Trust, Taskforce Green or other resource providers
  • Talk to bank manager, insurance company
  • Accept help when offered, and ask for it if you need it.


For more information refer to:

For more infomation about farming out of a flood, call the DairyNZ Farmer Information Service on 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969).

You can also call the Rural Support Trust in your area or contact your local DairyNZ Consulting Officer.