5 Mar 2012

Farms and foresters hit by storm

6:35 am on 5 March 2012

Getting cows milked and water to stock have been priorities for farmers in the southern Taranaki and Whanganui regions who copped the full force of the weekend storm.

The storm which hit the North Island west coast on Friday night destroyed farm buildings, left hundreds of farms without power for most of the weekend and destroyed forestry blocks.

Shelley Dew Hopkins, a dairy farmer at Waverley, says the wind was ferocious and the worst she's experienced.

They were among the estimated 1600 dairy farms that lost power and missed milkings.

Ms Dew Hopkins says a shed collapsed and there's a mess with trees down.

But she says it can all be cleaned up and they weren't as badly hit as some of their neighbours.

Federated Farmers says farmers affected by power cuts have been helping each other out, sharing generators and milking their neighbours' cows.

Taranaki president Harvey Leach says farm buildings and pine plantations have suffered the worst damage.

Mr Leach says he visited a pine plantation in south Taranaki where only about 100 out of about 1000 trees were left standing.

Federated Farmers says the priority is animal welfare, especially getting water to stock.

Power cuts mean some farms can't pump water to drinking troughs.

Hawera Volunteer Fire Brigade has offered to transport stock water to those farms.