6 Oct 2009

Snow difficulties continue for farms

12:54 pm on 6 October 2009

Further snow falls in the central North Island are compounding the difficulties for farmers trying to reach stock and line companies trying to restore power.

Hill country farmers say they've never seen snow like it, for this time of the year.

Those who lamb late to avoid these sorts of conditions, have been caught in the middle of lambing, as well as calving. Thousands of new-born lambs have perished as a result.

Mark Haynes, who manages Ohinewairua Station, on the Gentle Annie Road between Taihape and Napier, says his earlier lambing is finished.

But he still has 18,000 ewes that started lambing last week. Heavy losses are expected.

Federated Farmers estimates the snow storms have hit about 200 hill country farms in the region.

Hawke's Bay president Kevin Mitchell says most will be coping with the power cuts, but it's a challenge for dairy farmers who don't have back-up power in their milking sheds.

No early fix

Some rural residents are being warned that it may be another two days before they have power restored to their properties.

Unison says the damage to the lines network has been extensive.

Powerco says thick snow has made it unsafe for work crews to reach some sites.