You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Farmers face big recovery from flood

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/04/2017

Farmers have moved animals away from flooded land in Bay of Plenty and water is being pumped from Kiwifruit orchards.

The rural community is mucking in after former Cyclone Debbie forced 1600 people to be evacuated from Edgecumbe and flooded land in the region on Thursday.

Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty president Darryl Jensen told NZ Newswire reports that 7000 animals have been shipped out are overstated.

Federated Farmers had organised the movement of 3543 animals, mostly dairy cows, from the region and others had been shifted privately, he said.

He said Fonterra's Edgecumbe factory is closed and milk is being carted to other factories.

"The Edgecumbe factory will be opened as soon as possible," he said.

The issue was making it safe but reports it could take three weeks were speculation.

Shipping stock out had been the priority and farmers would now focus on the big recovery job.

"Farmers become stressed when they cannot look after their animals," he said.

The movement of the stock had addressed a huge burden on farmers who were now helping neighbours like orchardists.

Many farmers inside a cordon around flooded areas were able to access properties to attend to stock during the day while spending the night elsewhere.

But there had been frustrations and not all had been allowed on their properties. Communication about access is an ongoing issue.

Pumps were brought into Kiwifruit orchards on Saturday, he said.

"Some of these orchards are very close to harvest. These guys have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fruit on their vines."

The NZ Farming Facebook page said 15 hectares of Kiwifruit crops had been lost but Mr Jensen said losses were not known yet.

He said support from government for farmers would be worked out.

"We are hoping to get (Primary Industries Minister) Nathan Guy in here as soon as we can and take him round the district and work out what needs to be doing.

"We'll be pushing for MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) funding. There's a huge cleanup needed."

Farmers had incurred huge costs in moving stock and faced a hard winter because feed, usually grown in autumn, was lost in the floods.

"Farmers are getting stuck in and getting the job done but in some areas there is frustration," he said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon