16 Aug 2010

Flooding hits at peak calving time

12:50 pm on 16 August 2010

Eastern Bay of Plenty farmers say flooding in the region couldn't have come at a worse time with many in the middle of calving.

A number of farms in and around Whakatane were under water on Monday after up to 200mm of rain fell over the weekend.

Farmer Ivan Watchorn returned to his Fortunes Road property on Monday to it under one metre of water.

Eight emergency pumps are running to remove water in the Fortunes Road basin, and Mr Watchorn says with the help of the pumps the water has quickly receded - but what's left is a boggy mess.

Another farmer in the area, Scottie McLeod, says 80ha of his property is still underwater, and, like most dairy farmers in the region, he is in the middle of calving and feed is relatively low.

Federated Farmers' Whakatane branch chairperson, John Howard who farms at Awakeri near the Whakatane River, says most farmland in the region was already saturated from rain earlier this month.

Mr Howard says Eastern Bay of Plenty farmers are bracing themselves for another downpour forecast for Tuesday.

Several roads had also been closed due to flooding and slips, preventing milk tankers from reaching some farms.