14 Jul 2017

'We didn't have a lot of time to get sorted really'

3:11 pm on 14 July 2017

A Martinborough farmer with widespread flooding and land slips has spent the past 24 hours rescuing stock and has lost at least a handful of last season's lambs.

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James Bruce's sheepdog attempts to herd the sheep out of the floodwaters. Photo: Supplied / James Bruce

James Bruce from Martinborough Station said the rain had brought down the most slips he had seen in 10 years, his driveway was a two metre deep river, fences were flattened and the flat paddocks were waist-deep in water.

Mr Bruce said he and his neighbour had been rescuing stock.

James Bruce leads cows to safety.

James Bruce leads cows to safety. Photo: Supplied / James Bruce

"We had to swim out to some lambs and swim them back across [the floodwater]; about 150-odd lambs, which we ended up saving, and some cattle as well, which were easier to save.

"It came really quick, a lot faster than it normally does so we didn't have a lot of time to get sorted really."

Some of the year-old lambs weren't so lucky and Mr Bruce had already had a handful or so of dead ones.

"I've picked some up today and there'll be some more tomorrow probably, I'm not sure exactly how many but no cattle yet I don't think.

"I haven't been around the block on the other side of the river yet where there was cattle that were pretty isolated, I'm picking they'll be all right hopefully."

Mr Bruce said he had counted at least 20 slips on the farm so far, and he could only get to one part of the station on horseback because of the damage.

"There's a lot of water running off the hills still so it's wiped all the mud off, there's slips everywhere - they just keep coming."

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Water running off the hills has caused slips on Mr Bruce's farm. Photo: Supplied / James Bruce