More silos damaged in quake than first thought

8:07 am on 4 October 2010

One month after the Canterbury earthquake, farmers have reported damage to more than 100 grain silos.

Initial reports indicated 39 grain silos had been damaged, but over the month that tally has risen to 107.

North Canterbury Federated Farmers Grains chair, Murray Rowlands, says he is still getting called out to check on damaged silos.

He urged farmers to be concious of safety, saying that in one case, a broken silo blew over while it was being cleared out, trapping the farmer underneath.

Mr Rowlands says grain companies and mills have helped by taking grain from collapsed silos.

But he says the biggest challenge for growers now is making sure they have replacement silos before they start harvesting the new season's crops in the next few months.

Liquefaction research

Scientists are investigating the long term effects of liquefaction on farm land caused by the quake in some areas.

Geologists and soil scientists from Canterbury and Lincoln Univerisities are using a once-flat paddock near Tai Tapu, now littered with mounds where sand volcanoes have sprung up, as the location for their research.

They have used a tractor to cultivate parts of the paddock.

Professor Derek Moot from Lincoln says in areas where sand and soil have mixed, water has bubbled up from just beneath the surface.

He says it's still too early to come up with a definitive answer on the future productivity of the churned up land.

Professor Moot says the idea is to get the sand off the land and then to see how it settles down.