27 May 2014

Wairarapa power cuts disrupt

2:26 pm on 27 May 2014

Power cuts in the Wairarapa and Tararua regions have disrupted farming operations over the past few days.

Electricity was knocked out to thousands of properties during the weekend, when high winds brought down trees onto power lines.

Power cuts in the Wairarapa and Tararua regions have disrupted farming operations over the past few days.

Power cuts in the Wairarapa and Tararua regions have disrupted farming operations over the past few days. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Powerco is still working to restore supply to several hundred properties in Tararua and Wairarapa and has arranged portable generators for sites where repairs could take a number of days.

Federated Farmers' Wairarapa president Jamie Falloon says the power cuts have been particularly disruptive to farmers trying to get shearing done.

"Well generally the sheep and beef farmers at the moment are looking at winter shearing, or shearing pre-lamb, so there's certainly been some reports of farmers who have had to let their sheep out of the yards because there was no power when the shearers turned up in the morning.

He says most dairy farmers are drying off their herds at the moment.

"But you still need the power for pumps and electric fences and stuff like that, and the cows certainly work out pretty quickly if the fence isn't working and help themselves to extra feed at this time of year."

Meanwhile, a temperature drop brought icy conditions and heavy frosts to much of the country overnight Tuesday.

Frosts are a concern for kiwifruit growers who are still harvesting, and the growers' chairman, Neil Trebilco, says Monday night's frost in the main Bay of Plenty production region was 'a ripper'.

"But we're very fortunate that it's towards the end of the harvest season. We only have about a week and a half to go probably in the harvest and the orchards at risk from frost, most of those have been picked, and I know that there was a bit of a panic yesterday in the industry to harvest any remaining orchards that could be at risk as quickly as possible.

"And so, I don't know that there's been any damage. I've been ringing around but I haven't learnt of any issues at this point."