Rural Canterbury escapes worst of quake

8:40 pm on 23 February 2011

Rural Canterbury appears to have largely escaped the impact of Tuesday's earthquake that has killed dozens in Christchurch and devastated much of the central city.

Many farmers were hard hit by the magnitude 7.1 quake on 4 September, when there was extensive damage from cracking or liquefaction on farmland. Milking sheds were also put out of action and more than 100 grain silos collapsed.

Federated Farmers has been contacting farmers to see if any have damage. It's North Canterbury president Neil Stott says the feedback it has indicates there has been little disruption or damage.

"There were some power outages and the phones were overloaded for a while but I think most of them are up to speed again. I understand that everyone was milking on Tuesday and that's all under control. The grain silos appear to be intact," he said.

Federated Farmers says its focus is determining what the farming community can do to support the Civil Defence and Red Cross efforts in Christchurch. It's offered help with food, water supplies and accommodation for displaced people.

Fonterra has joined the Civil Defence efforts by using its milk tankers and rail pods to provide emergency water supplies for the city.

On Wednesday morning it had delivered 200,000 litres of water from its Clandeboye processing site near Temuka.

But Fonterra says it's small Plains processing plant in Christchurch has been damaged and is out of action.

The Minister of Agriculture David Carter says a farm on the Banks Peninsula is reported to have suffered damage.

However, Pam Richardson, who farms at Pigeon Bay on the northern side of the peninsula, says they've had little disruption compared with last year.