29 Jul 2008

Farmers challenged by weather related power cuts

4:27 pm on 29 July 2008

Power cuts were one of the biggest challenges for farmers caught in the storm that brought high winds and torrential rain to the upper North Island during the weekend.

Among the worst affected were dairy farmers on the Hauraki Plain, who lost their power for more than a day, causing those without generators to miss out on two milkings.

Keith Barriball, who farms at Waitakaruru about 20km from Thames, says that's a serious disruption at this time of the year when they're in the middle of calving and bringing cows back into milk production for the new season.

He says failing to milk at this time of the year can lead to the cows getting mastitis.

Mr Barriball says a lot of farmers are buying their own generators because power cuts affect farming so much.

He says the power failure also knocks out electric fences being used to control stock's access to grazing.

The power cuts were extensive, affecting regions from the far North to the Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.

The high winds also destroyed roofs and sheds and blew over trees.

And the heavy rain caused flooding in some areas, including flood-prone parts of Northland.