Tuesday, 13 December 2016 06:55

Tankers roll into Kaikoura

Written by  Nigel Malthus
Fonterra tankers at a Kaikoura farm last week. Fonterra tankers at a Kaikoura farm last week.

Kaikoura's dairy farms are back in business, a convoy of tankers having resumed milk collection exactly three weeks after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake cut off all road access.

Five Fonterra tankers and 12 contract tankers went in on December 5 over the strictly controlled and still-fragile inland Kaikoura Road from Waiau.

Fonterra’s North Canterbury area manager Mike Hennessy says they were able to collect from all the dairy farms in the area.

Of the 22 farms, just three have unusable milking sheds. Of those, only one has sent cows out of the area and they are now being milked on six different farms in the Culverden area. One is owned by a farmer with a second adjacent farm and he is milking both herds in his second shed, while the third is also milking at a neighbouring property.

Outside the Kaikoura region, Hennessy says only one farm in the wider quake zone – Don Galletly’s Loch Ness dairy near Waiau – is unable to milk.

“A lot of sheds were damaged, their platforms jumped off their rollers and things like that, but they were up and running within two days. So they were very lucky.”

Power and water had been the first problem for the Kaikoura farms, but without pickups they were forced for three weeks to dump milk via their effluent systems.

Barring further closures because of poor weather or further slips, Fonterra intended to run tanker convoys through Inland Road every day.

Hennessy is pleased to be able to service the area. “Not as pleased as the farmers, but it’s another sign of things getting back to where they used to be.”

Meanwhile, Synlait confirms its half-dozen supplying farms in North Canterbury are also back in operation; milk was being collected within about two days of the quake. It has no suppliers in the Kaikoura region.

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