Farmers urged to guard against risk of further snow

Tuesday 18 July 2006

Farmers recovering from mid-June's heavy snow have been advised to guard against the possibility of another cold snap by making sure they have enough feed for stock.

MAF regional team leader John Greer, who is co-ordinating government support for farmers affected by the snow, said many farmers have used most of their feed stocks over the past month and should buy in more in case of another heavy snowfall.

"Farmers are generally very good risk managers. However, many have been working hard all daylight hours for the past month to feed out, maintain their stock and ensure the productivity of their farms can recover from the snow. We are hearing that some of those farmers are becoming burnt out and may not be in the best frame of mind to plan ahead.

"MAF believes there is enough feed in the greater Canterbury area and is surveying farmers to confirm this. But we know that some farmers are short of feed. If there is further snow, these are the farmers who will be in trouble. After another snowfall, it may take five to seven days to bring more feed in, which will be potentially disastrous for stock already under stress and struggling to maintain condition after the mid-June snowfall," he said.

According to John Greer, stock losses after the 16 June storm were light, but with lambing and calving imminent, another big snowfall will result in a much bleaker outcome.

"We strongly advise all farmers to make sure they have enough feed of sufficient quality to take them through lambing or calving.  Putting off buying in feed for reasons of expense will be a false economy if it risks their production for the coming season – which is exactly what will be under serious threat if there is another big dump of snow," he said.

John Greer said banks that MAF has been in discussion with would stand by farming clients worried about spending on additional feed.

"Banks know that farmers need to protect their productive base. If that means investing in feed that has not previously been budgeted for, rural lenders tell us they will support their clients. To keep a farm productive, it is necessary to ensure stock reach the end of the winter in the best shape possible. Rural lenders inform us that they will back farmers who need financial assistance to manage the risk of further severe weather. Compared to the losses that could be incurred if there is further snow, any investment in additional feed now certainly makes sense," he said.

MAF has set up rural support offices in Ashburton, Timaru, Fairlie and Waimate to co-ordinate assistance for farmers struggling after the heavy snow, and ensure that every farm and household that requires help will receive it.

Further information contact:

Terry Donaldson: Tel: 0-3-358 1747 or 0-27-433 7127

or John Greer, MAF Regional Team Leader: Tel: 0-3-358 1864 or 0-27-432 7692



Last Updated: 23 September 2010

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