14 Aug 2012

Weather woes affect some farmers

2:04 pm on 14 August 2012

There's little immediate relief in sight for many Otago farmers from heavy rain causing surface flooding on farms and forced road closures.

Rain over the last three weeks has left the ground sodden and at the same time heavy snow is expected fall in parts of Otago and Canterbury.

MetService is forecasting another 150mm of rain in the hills of East Otago by the end of Tuesday.

On Monday, the Otago Regional Council warned about 60 farmers - including those near the Shag and Kakanui rivers - to expect flooding.

East Otago veterinarian Matt O'Sullivan says some sheep farmers have welcomed the rain because it's been a very dry winter and for many of their flocks lambing doesn't start for another fortnight.

Though dairy farmers says calving by their cows is well under way, the overall incidence of metabolic disorders such as milk fever - lowered blood calcium at the time of calving - has been relatively low because cows are in good condition.

But it's not plain sailing for all dairy farmers.

Robert Borst, who runs three farms milking more than 3500 cows in North Otago, says the herds are about a third of the way through calving.

He says the latest spell of heavy rain has made life difficult for some of those animals, with a rise in the incidence of milk fever and mastitis.