Wheat at risk because of collapsed silos

8:33 am on 6 September 2010

Grain and dairy farmers are the hardest hit by the Canterbury earthquake.

Collapsed silos have put thousands of tonnes of milling wheat at risk and on dairy farms, a loss of power and damage to sheds meant some cows were not milked, or had to be milked at neighbouring sheds.

Federated Farmers says 40 silos in the area have been damaged.

North Canterbury grain chair Murray Rowlands, who farms at Darfield, the epicentre of the quake, says they have been trying to move the grain to storage vats to stop the crop from being ruined by the rain or contaminated.

He advises farmers with damaged silos to check their insurance policies to make sure they were covered in the quake, because some farmers have since found out that their silos were not.

No power at dairy farms

Fonterra says an estimated 20% of farms in the affected area are still without power.

It's been helping to supply generators for these farmers or arranging for them to use neighbours' milking sheds.

It's also provided milk tankers for emergency water deliveries and has announced a $1 million donation towards quake recovery efforts.

Fonterra says its Plains milk processing plant at Clandeboye suffered minor damage, but is now running normally, as is the Synlait Dairy Company's milk powder plant near Dunsandel.

Milking sheds

Federated Farmers says some rotary milking sheds came off their rollers in the quake and nearly a dozen suffered structural damage.

Dairy chair Kieran Stone says many neighbours had to help with milking over the weekend, with some farms milking thousands more cows than they normally would have.

Orion Energy says says all dairy sheds in Canterbury now have power - either through generators or mains supply.

Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier told Morning Report it's been a challenge for farmers who have lost power.

He said the company has been helping with generators and ensuring milk is picked up despite damaged roads.

Mr Ferrier says the bigger issue will be rebuilding in Christchurch and that's what he expects the donation will be used for.