4 Sep 2013

Mild winter has farmers prepared for cold snap

6:36 am on 4 September 2013

Southern farmers are well prepared for the cold snap forecast to bring snow to low levels, just as lambing starts on many farms.

Strong cold southerlies are predicted for much of the South Island and lower half of the North Island on Wednesday, with snow down to 200m in Canterbury and 100m in Otago and Southland.

North Island lambing has been under way for weeks but has just started on the Canterbury Plains and in lower-lying parts of Otago and Southland. Hill country farmers start in about a week.

Federated Farmers meat and fibre Southland chair Andrew Morrison says farmers are well set up to deal with a cold snap thanks to the mild winter.

"Stock conditions (are) brilliant, grass covers are brilliant, so yeah, really well set up," Mr Morrison says.

Ground conditions were crucial but if stock hunkered down in a dry area they would be fine, he said.

"In our situation, the best shelter we can have is actually grass ... and they can actually just hunker down into it, it's tremendous cover."

A timely warning from the MetService has again allowed farmers time to get stock into shelter ahead of the southerly blast, Mr Morrison says.