Grazing help needed for Canterbury livestock

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Ashburton Staveley Road (pictured), known as the Greenstreet, was among the areas badly hit by the flooding in Mid Canterbury.

Alternative grazing is being sought for livestock of drought and flood-affected farmers in Canterbury by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

The organisation has also expanded the national feed co-ordination service to help find grazing, distribute donated feed and connect people with surplus feed to farmers who need it.

Widespread flooding caused by the historic one in 200-year rainfall event in late-May caused significant damage to thousands of hectares across the region. As a result MPI had allocated $4.5 million to support flood-affected farmers, including providing grants to help repair uninsurable damage to farms.

MPI rural communities and farming support director Nick Story has visited farms where pasture and winter fodder crops have been buried under flood debris.

“This event has been an extremely challenging situation for farmers. The worst affected farms have a need for alternative grazing for their sheep, beef cattle and dairy cows.”

MPI’s national feed coordination service has been expanded to help find grazing, distribute donated feed, and connect people with surplus feed to farmers who need it.

“Our feed coordinators had more than 35 additional requests from flood-affected farmers in the first half of June who need grazing and feed,” Mr Story said.

“It’s likely the worst flood-affected paddocks will be unusable for some time, so we expect demand will increase further as we move through the winter.

“The service is keen to hear from people who may be able to help with grazing, especially those in Otago, Southland or the West Coast.”

Farmers can also receive free expert support to complete a feed plan to help make crucial decisions about feed this winter and ahead of spring.

“The service helps calculate feed demand and supply, and options to fill feed gaps. Having a feed plan can help give you piece of mind,” he said.

Anyone with surplus feed or grazing, or farmers who need support to do a feed plan, are encouraged to call 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646) or to register online at www.mpi.govt.nz/funding-rural-support/adverse-events/dealing-with-floods/

Farmers needing help with clean-up can also call or register at the same address enable industry groups to match them with volunteers.