13 Jul 2011

Snowfall tough on high country farm stock

1:53 pm on 13 July 2011

Snowfalls that have caused disruption in the South Island have also meant headaches for high country farmers.

Hamish Smith at Bendhu Station near Omarama says it's been snowing on and off for almost a week.

He says snow is almost 1 metre deep on parts of the station, which runs merino sheep, angus cattle and deer.

Mr Smith says stock are in good condition but it's taking extra effort to get feed to them, such as snow-raking to get the animals to areas that can be reached by a four-wheel drive tractor which will drop feed to them.

Further west, at the remote Mount Aspiring station, farmer John Aspinall says almost 200 mm of rain has fallen over the past week, and there have been snow falls.

He says wind gusts have blown over trees, and snow drifts have built up which has been tough on stock.

Milder weather to return

Snow and winter storms aside, the National Climate Centre says farmers and growers in the North Island and northern South Island can still expect warmer than average conditions for the rest of winter and early spring.

NIWA principle climate scientist James Renwick says the outlook for the next three months is expected to continue the trend seen at the onset of winter.