1492457455677 - Peak water moving through flooded farmland

Peak water moving through flooded farmland

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.”

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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.”

Hauraki District Council Mayor John Tregidga said two families evacuated on their own accord but two more were forced to leave.

“It’s going to be quite devastating for a number of farmers,” he said. It looks like it’s peaked but it is going to stay for a long time.

“Those farmers are going to need help through winter.”

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.

Regional council hazards team leader Rick Liefting said river levels are receding but water from the upper catchment was still flowing through the river system and ponding at an area further north of Patetonga, at Kaihere Road.

“It’s all working as scheduled,” Liefting said.

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