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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Crisis Priority Checklist
- Wet weather management handout
- Decision tree for flooded land document
- Managing stressed animals
- Managing stressed people
If you would like more information on farming out of a flood, call the DairyNZ Farmer Information Service on 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969).