DairyNZ’s Lower North Island regional leader James Muwunganirwa says detailed advice on wet weather grazing management and pasture recovery is going out to all farmers in the impacted regions.
“We are also providing feed budgeting support to a dozen or so dairy farms that are seriously under water in central Manawatu and Horowhenua,” says James.
A cross section of rural and farming organisations, co-ordinated by Federated Farmers, met yesterday to discuss support for farmers, share reports of the scale of impacts and discuss how to work together. DairyNZ is involved, along with Federated Farmers, Fonterra, the Rural Support Trust, Horizons Regional Council, Manawatu District Council, Beef & Lamb NZ and the banking sector. Damage to farms includes flooded paddocks and farm tracks, slips and fencing down.
“We are all sharing information and working together so we can find out who needs help. Fonterra’s emergency response team is in action and ringing around its 600 farmers in the central districts. Some farmers are milking through the winter and others are wintering dry cows on the farm so keeping their stock fed is a top priority. DairyNZ is giving one on one advice to those farmers whose pastures are flooded,” says James.
“There is already a lot of flood information and advice on our website. We have learnt a lot from helping farmers through other floods particularly in Northland. Stock losses, power outages, slips, bridges washed away, silt covered pastures requiring regrassing – there are a range of effects 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,” he says.
“One lesson we learnt from the Northland situation in July last year was that waiting for the ‘ideal’ conditions to “regrass” is not always the best option. For the farm system (feed supply) to recovery quickly, early action is required to get the farm growing again as quickly as possible. The Northland farmers who recovered the quickest last year were those that followed the water out with their seed drill.”
James says three things that farmers who have farms under water have to do quickly are
- Work out a feed and action plan
- Plan pasture renovation
- Relocate stock if necessary
“We have a decision tree document for flooded land that can help step farmers through the decisions they have to make. When you are under pressure that is the kind of help and advice that can ease the stress,” he says.
Federated Farmers is co-ordinating any urgent need of grazing. If farmers are in need or in a position to offer assistance, they can telephone the 0800 number (0800 376 844) or contact John Stroud, Federated Farmers Field Officer, on 027 217 6744 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flood-hit farmers with stock needing access to grazing, help with moving stock, emergency feed, generators, large capacity water pumps or help cleaning up should ring Federated Farmers' free-phone line (0800 376 844) or the Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254.
|Area||Nature of farming damage|
|Whanganui, Turakina, Waitotara||roads, slips, races, fences|
|Rangitikei / Northern Manawatu||roads, slips, races, fences, power out in places|
|Central Manawatu / Horowhenua||roads, ponding (approximately 12 dairy farms seriously under water), breaches of stop banks|
DairyNZ’s communications manager
Tel 027 703 0211