12 Sep 2013

Farmers need power back after storm

6:47 am on 12 September 2013

Canterbury farmers are busy fixing fences, sorting stock and clearing toppled trees following Tuesday's furious winds.

But Mid-Canterbury Rural Support Trust vice-chair Sue Baird says the biggest problem facing the rural sector in the region is getting power back on, so dairy farmers can pump water to their stock and get milking again.

She says farmers are helping each other out where they can with farmers perhaps sharing a generator or allowing a neighbour's cows to be milked in their shed. However, there are still pockets where farmers have had no access to those facilities.

Ms Baird says she hopes most farmers in the mid-Canterbury area will have their power back on later on Thursday.

However, Federated Farmers says some areas west of Christchurch may be without power for up to five days and it is asking anyone with a spare generator to get in touch because farmers need them urgently.

Mid-Canterbury rural lawyer Tim Silva says farms in the Ashburton area are a wreck.

He says a lot of people are without power, and farmers who are sharing generators have had to start milking at 1.30am.

Mr Silva says the other problem is that electric fences subdivide paddocks in the Canterbury plains and the lack of power is causing major problems in terms of managing stock.

He says irrigation is another problem, with a number of pivots blown over.