24 Jun 2015

Farmers struggling in freezing weather

3:45 pm on 24 June 2015

Much of the South Island woke up to negative temperatures again this morning, and for farmers it means a struggle to keep stock fed and watered.

Mount Cook

Mount Cook Photo: Unwin Lodge, Mt Cook

Metservice forecaster Nicole Ranger said the Pukaki aerodrome near Twizel, in South Canterbury, recorded -15degC overnight - a touch warmer than yesterday's record of -20degC.

However, a layer of stratus cloud with light winds was keeping the freezing temperatures in place across the McKenzie Basin.

At Glenbrook Station, near Twizel in the Upper Waitaki Valley, it was -16degC overnight but had been as low as -22degC this week.

Kirsty Williamson, from Glenbrook Station, said a freezing fog and a hoar frost today, and last week's snow still frozen on the ground, were making farming difficult.

"It's really hard to keep the water running in the houses and, of course, for the stock. The power's been a big issue as well, we're lucky we're on the main line, but for some people who are more isolated, I think some of them got the power on last night, but I believe some are still off.

"The tractor's diesel waxes when it gets cold ... so if the tractor is not going it's hard to get around and feed stock, which is of course the number one priority: stock health, water and food to them."

Ms Williamson said they were also having trouble with the water supply to the house.

"That's a bit of an issue, even with the taps running. The laundry is running, only cold now, but the rest of the house has stopped, which is really annoying with young children.

"The firewood pile is being well utilised."

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