9 Mar 2012

Waitotara farmer expects no power for another week

7:38 am on 9 March 2012

One of the hundreds of South Taranaki and Wanganui farmers picking up the pieces after the severe storm on the weekend thinks it's likely to be another week before he and his neighbours get the power back on.

Alex Falkner, who has a sheep and beef farm as well as a forestry block at the lower end of the Waitotara Valley, lost an implement shed in the storm, which also damaged the roofs of his wool and hay sheds.

He says the wind knocked down about 10% of his pine plantation and fallen trees have also destroyed fencing and power lines, which he says will take a major effort to fix.

Mr Falkner says lines have broken and it's likely the company will need to use a helicopter to run new wires.

He says the fallen pine trees also pose a health threat to stock, because pine needles can cause pregnant cattle to abort.

Mr Falkner says as well as pine trees coming down, some of his paddocks are littered with pine needles because of the high winds.

He says he's using a generator to keep fridges, freezers and the water supply running and he's cooking on a barbecue, but there's no hot water.