21 Mar 2012

Farms not too battered by gales in central North Island

3:03 pm on 21 March 2012

Most farms in the central North Island have suffered little damage from Tuesday's gale-force winds, but electricity supplies were disrupted in some areas.

About 2000 properties in north Taranaki and up to 500 in the Taupo and Rotorua areas lost power when the strong winds downed power lines and poles.

Lines company Unison called for extra help from Hawke's Bay contractors to repair more than 1400 electricity lines but it warned some Taupo properties could still be without power on Wednesday.

Rotorua Taupo president of Federated Farmers Neil Heather says the wind has died down and farms seem to be reasonably unscathed, save for a few trees down and the odd power outage.

He says luckily it is towards the end of the milking season rather than the flush, and while the cows still need milking. "It is not as major as it would be in the spring".

North Taranaki dairy farmer Paul Davidson says his Inglewood property was without power for half of Tuesday and he helped to clear tree branches from the roads.

He says the power came back on around the region in time for Tuesday night's milking.

Landcorp farms reasonably unscathed

New Zealand's biggest farming operation says the wild weather caused mainly minor damage to its North Island farms.

Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly says a roof was blown off a woolshed on the worst-hit farm.

Mr Kelly says Northland farms have surface flooding, but the damage to pasture is superficial. Some farm houses near Taupo are still without power on Wednesday afternoon, but dairy sheds are running on generators.

Farms spanning about 3000-hectares in the central North Island were harder hit by gale-force winds on Tuesday.