24 Jun 2013

Helicopters used at snowed-in farms

10:01 pm on 24 June 2013

Helicopters, bulldozers and teams of volunteers were out in force on Monday helping snowed-in farmers and stranded stock throughout the Otago and Canterbury high country.

About 12 farms in Otago are cut off following last week's storm and farmers fear that stock could starve if they don't get feed soon.

Mid-Canterbury Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Allan Baird says most farms above 300 to 400 metres between Otago and Kaikoura have been hit by snow up to 1 metre deep.

Mr Baird said volunteers were being dropped in by helicopter to help farmers move stock stranded by snow to lower ground on Monday, with more needed in Canterbury.

Helicopters were also used to check on Otago farmers that are snowed in.

Logan Dowling farms in Kyeburn in Maniototo and said they have been godsend for his 3000 sheep and their volunteer helpers.

In the North Otago areas of Danseys Pass and Macraes Flat, flooding washed away roads and bridges, then farms were covered by deep snowfalls.

Food parcels were being flown into 10 families in the McRaes Flat area on Monday afternoon and two other households in the Danseys Pass area remain cut off.

Waitaki District Council emergency services manager Chris Raine said it would will take another day to push a road through.

Otago snowfall costly for Landcorp

Waipori Station in Otago.

Waipori Station in Otago. Photo: LANDCORP

State-owned farming enterprise Landcorp has had to bring in extra staff and machinery to get to stock on its farms in the Lake Mahinerangi area, west of Dunedin.

Chief executive Chris Kelly said its three farms - Waipori and Thornycroft stations and Copper Road - are under snow up to two metres deep.

Mr Kelly said extra diggers, bulldozers and tractors had to be brought in to Waipori Station, and seven extra casual workers employed to carry out snowraking and mobbing stock.

This, together with two days use of a helicopter, amounted to a bill of $65,000 to $70,000.

Mr Kelly said staff at Molesworth Station in Marlborough have been working to reach a mob of cattle isolated by snow falls of 1 to 2 metres.