17 Oct 2013

Whanganui farmer praises flood warning system

7:33 am on 17 October 2013

A Whanganui farmer has praised the regional council's river warning system which she says gave farmers plenty of time to prepare for this week's flooding and move stock out of harm's way.

Manawatu-Whanganui regional council installed the automated monitoring system after the disastrous 2004 floods.

And Kirsten Bryant who farms at Fordell and also has hill country farms in the upper Whanganui catchment, says it's been invaluable.

She says the speed at which the river rose took farmers by surprise in 2004, but since then a system has been put in which gives farmers hours of notice.

Ms Bryant says at key points along the river farmers will be called by an automated system to inform them of the river level and what level it is supposed to peak at.

She says information is power and this time there was never any danger of big stock losses for which farmers are grateful.

Ms Bryant says they are still lambing and calving on the hill country farms south of Taumarunui, and although conditions there are extremely wet, the stock are coping well.

Farmers in the hill country inland from Whanganui have reported extensive damage to roads and other farm infrastructure from floods and slips.

Ohakune farmer John McCarthy says they definitely needed rain, but not the more than 100 to 120 millimetres they got in 24 hours.

He says it's taken a few dams out on his farm, two have breached and three are in danger of breaching.