1 Aug 2008

No power for milking in Horowhenua

6:50 am on 1 August 2008

Dairy farmers in Horowhenua are scrambling to get generators to power their milking machines, due to power cuts in the region leave many hunting for alternative power sources.

The power's been down since Wednesday morning, when winds of up to 120km an hour brought down trees and power lines.

The Horowhenua District Council has warned it could be days before power is restored to some rural areas, and is urging farmers who have problems with milk supply to call Fonterra.

District council member Nathan Murray, who has a dairy farm at Ohau, just south of Levin, says farmers may have to dump some milk because there is no refrigeration.

Supplies of clean water for stock are also a problem.

Meanwhile, Fonterra is sending an emergency response team to the Horowhenua region on Friday to help those struggling to get their cows milked.

Supply services manager Tim Deane says the team, which was also deployed during last year's floods in Northland, is made up of technical staff who are trained to deal with emergencies.

He says floods and power cuts have caused some disruption to milk collection in other areas including Coromandel, Waitoa, Horowhenua and North Canterbury, but the company expects to catch up in the next day or so.