DairyNZ says it has put a number of suggestions to the Government about how the sector could manage labour needs and health risks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have seen farmers working well together and supporting their neighbours through this weather event – it’s always encouraging to see farmers and rural communities working together in times of need,” said DairyNZ head of the South Island, Tony Finch.
“Good advance warning did enable many farmers to be prepared but we are working closely to monitor the situation and encourage farmers to keep farm teams and neighbours safe.”
With Moving Day currently also underway, many Canterbury farmers are attempting to shift properties and livestock.
“Farmers who haven’t started shifting should only move stock if the roads are confirmed as open throughout the route and the destination farm can receive stock,” said Tony.
“We encourage the farm owners, sharemilkers and graziers to discuss Moving Day plans and be flexible – as we know flooding has resulted in road closures and flooding on properties. Keep in close contact with transport providers.”
“For farmers, continued support is needed through the recovery phase. The initial focus will be on livestock welfare, reviewing and securing necessary winter feed, and repairing on-farm infrastructure. Farmers should review their feed supply and how they can manage that, if there is a shortage.”
DairyNZ and primary sector organisations are working with farmers to support them through recovery. “We know there will be challenges for some farmers, particularly around feed availability, animal care and damage to farms.”
For affected farms, stress will be an issue that may increase over the coming week.
“We encourage people to talk to friends and family and the Rural Support Trust or DairyNZ if they need any assistance,” says Finch.