Farm­ers to ask for help

Matamata Chronicle - - Cyclone Cook - EL­TON RIKIHANA SMALL­MAN

Pi­ako farm­ers do­ing it tough may have to wait months be­fore flooded pad­docks are up and run­ning again.

The Pi­ako River at Pate­tonga, north of Mor­rinsville, topped its stop­banks on Sun­day leav­ing acres of pro­duc­tive farm­land in­un­dated with wa­ter.

Waikato Fed­er­ated Farm­ers provin­cial pres­i­dent Chris Lewis sym­pa­thises with drenched Pi­ako farm­ers. He was in a sim­i­lar predica­ment in the early 2000s and it takes time to re­cover, he said.

‘‘Ac­cept of­fers of help and ask for help,’’ Lewis said.

‘‘While ini­tially you may have enough sup­ple­ments on hand, it will take a good 3 to 4 months to get go­ing again if you are badly af­fected.’’

Pad­docks could be left with a layer of silt rot­ting the grass be­low and sti­fling growth.

Keep­ing stock well fed is a high pri­or­ity and with win­ter around the cor­ner, sup­ple­men­tary feed will be in high de­mand.

He en­cour­ages af­fected farm­ers to call the Fed­er­ated Farm­ers of New Zealand helpline.

‘‘You’ve had floods in the Hau­raki Plains, Waikato and Edge­cumbe. Ini­tially, feed is easy to find but after a while, those big stock­piles farm­ers have gets used up pretty quickly.’’

At noon on Mon­day, the Pi­ako catch­ment re­ceived less than 5mm of rain­fall in the pre­ced­ing 24-hour pe­riod, ac­cord­ing to Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil rain­fall data.

By 3pm, the amount of rain fall­ing in the 24-hour pe­riod had dropped to 1mm of rain.

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