Canterbury floods: Farmers start stocktake of injury to their land

2021-06-01 23:02:36

Farmers close to burst stopbanks in Mid Canterbury are starting to seek out out the “devastating” prices of the massively damaging floods.

Henry Rooney cleans plastic from silage off his farm.

Henry Rooney cleans plastic from silage off his farm.
Picture: RNZ / Katie Todd

Receding floodwaters have revealed piled up particles, harm to farm roads and fences, and waterlogged winter feed, buildings and equipment.

Among the many worst hit is the Rooney household, who’ve watched the Ashburton River carve a brand new path proper by their Methven Freeway dairy farm the place 5 generations have lived and labored.

They made a final minute escape from their home when stopbanks burst, swamping the property.

Philly Rooney mentioned the floodwaters had taken “mainly every little thing,” so even calculating the harm was a frightening job.

“The winter feed’s all gone. The straw’s all ruined. The fences are gone. I am unsure if we have misplaced any cows or not,” she mentioned.

“It is simply an enormous quantity of injury. Its going to be an enormous cleanup of branches, mud, every little thing. It is horrible.”

Till yesterday afternoon, when a good friend flew them house by helicopter, the Rooneys did not know if their home close to the river had been flooded or if their Nice Dane, within the storage, had survived.

They’ve confirmed their belongings and the canine are okay, however found the home is damp and “messy”.

In the meantime half the farm stays underwater, and Laurence Rooney can solely get a part of the way in which throughout in his tractor.

Laurence Rooney's tractor on the waterlogged farm.

Laurence Rooney’s tractor on the waterlogged farm.
Picture: RNZ / Katie Todd

He’s found flooding in his beer shed and harm to his workshop, whereas an out of doors play space is now lined in stones carried greater than 100 metres from the riverbed.

Earlier than the cleanup can start, Philly Rooney mentioned their precedence was getting 200 cows and a variety of bulls to security on leased wind up the highway as quickly because the floodwaters enable.

“Our heifers, as quickly as we are able to stroll them, will go to a neighbours onto a truck and up there. And we have some jersey bulls {that a} man’s mentioned he’ll take for us, in order that’s fairly helpful.”

In the meantime down the highway, at one other level the place the river breached the stopbank, is a farm owned by Laurence’s brother Henry Rooney.

His home survived, however greater than 80 % of his farm has been underneath water too.

It means silage is ruined, roads and driveways and fences across the farm want changing, and he has additionally began shifting inventory to leased wind up the highway.

Yesterday afternoon, he was on the brink of launch into repair-mode.

‘We have got to let the water get away first, and whereas it is doing that I will be speaking to my farm advisor and insurance coverage dealer and setting out the primary plan for what we will do,” he mentioned.

“Then I suppose I will simply be choosing up every little thing that is been carted on down right here [by the river]. And going to my neighbours, retrieving every little thing that is been washed to there.”

Henry Rooney anticipated it could take a minimum of every week for all of the water to clear off his farm.

Philly Rooney.

Philly Rooney
Picture: RNZ / Katie Todd

Looming ever nearer is without doubt one of the busiest instances of the yr.

“The one factor I am actually frightened about is calving in eight weeks. I simply cannot see us having this circled and prepared,” he mentioned.

“If the water was gone now, it could be too moist and soggy to take any equipment on the market – you recognize, there’d be holes you possibly can fall into, ‘trigger the water simply rips every little thing up.”

Henry Rooney mentioned one optimistic was the heat and help from neighbours and the broader Mid Canterbury neighborhood.

He is additionally been heartened by the immediate response from Fonterra and native authorities who’ve been out assessing harm.

The federal government has launched an preliminary $500,000 in aid funding for affected farmers and growers and say they’ll assess if extra is required in coming days.

#Canterbury #floods #Farmers #stocktake #harm #land

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