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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
"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
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
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