15 Aug 2011

Farmers brace for snow amidst lambing

8:26 pm on 15 August 2011

Farmers on the Canterbury Plains who are well into lambing are bracing themselves for heavy snow that's been forecast for much of the South Island over the next few days.

Peter Chamberlain, who farms at Norwood about 30km south of Christchurch, says he started lambing about two weeks ago.

He and others on the plains are anxious about the impact of the latest southerly blast that's brought snow to southern regions.

He says there has been plenty of warning, but if there's heavy snow it will cause problems.

Mr Chamberlain says snow would cause problems for new-born lambs, as well as those a week or so old, and stock that are due to start lambing later.

He says at least stock are in good condition and the feed situation has been good.

Southland and Otago have already had snow to low levels.

But David Rose of Southland, who's also Federated Farmers adverse events spokesperson, says most farmers in the south are still weeks away from lambing, unlike last year's September snow storm which caught them in the middle of lambing and took a heavy toll.

Fonterra says 1700 dairy farmers across New Zealand are having to dump milk because tankers cannot get through the snow to collect it.