17 Aug 2015

South Island farmers had enough of snow

8:24 am on 17 August 2015

South Island farmers are hoping the hard winter will have ended by the time lambing gets into full swing in the next couple of months.

Cows eating a snow dusted crop in Southland.

Cows eating snow-dusted crops in Southland. Photo: SUPPLIED / Katrina Thomas

In contrast with the mild winter last year, this one has brought frequent snow storms through much of the South Island - and the North Island has not escaped either.

The most recent dump left hills covered in snow from Canterbury to Southland.

Banks Peninsula farmer Mark Shadbolt said they had to call in a helicopter and people to help with snow raking to rescue sheep from the deep snow, the first time they have had to do that in about 20 years.

"One part of our farm's quite high it goes to nearly 3000 feet and we've got a mob of twinning ewes on it that should have been have been off about two days before the snow came for shearing.

"So we got a helicopter in and we had six of us with dogs and the sheep came out easily and they were in good order. I just didn't want to take a risk and leave them sitting up there with nothing much to eat. They need more than just a good view at the moment," said Mr Shadbolt.

"I'd say we've had seven [snow] falls. I was with a guy yesterday in Southland and he said they'd had nine good falls of snow. I think most farmers are over it and the pressure is right on for feed as we are coming up to lambing."

Mr Shadbolt said farmers were hoping for a good and early spring.

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