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Cattle rescue after deluge

The Tirohia farming community joined forces to rescue close to 300 dairy cows from a 120 hectare property which succumbed to “chest deep water” after recent floods.
Scott Paterson, who has owned Paterson Farm in Tirohia with his wife Alicia since June last year, told The Profile he shifted his stock on the afternoon of January 29 when he suspected flooding would occur.
“We knew it was coming because of the river levels in Te Aroha and it just slowly moved its way down over the stockbank, over the riverbanks and probably within a couple of hours [the land] was completely immersed,” he said.
“All the stock were moved to the highest ground and we had the community rally around and get the trucks organised and had mates all turn up to help us load up the cows.
“So the local community and mates have helped out heaps, it’s going to be a week and a half before we can start milking again.”
Scott said it was the second major flood he and Alicia had experienced at the farm.
“It’s a farm that’s prone to flooding, we accepted that before we bought the place, that’s one of the risks,” he said.
“We flooded in early July after we had rain for six weeks but not as bad as this one.
“Talking to the local guys, it was the first time they had seen the farm with that level of flood.”

Scott said while no cows were harmed in the flooding on January 29; equipment and some feed on the farm wasn’t so lucky.
“The water’s gone right into the cow shed so we’ve lifted pumps up and everything else to see how much damage has been done by the water,” he said.
“We’ve lost some silage bales with the floods so it would be interesting to see where they are now.
“My tractor with a flood pump on it is sitting on a stockbank which is about eight feet above pasture level and the tractor’s half underwater, the tractor’s going to have to be redone.
Scott said another farm vehicle and the farm workers’ house were also flooded. He was talking with his insurance company, bank and accountant but they would need to wait for flood waters to recede before identifying the financial impacts.
“Our house was out of the way but our workers’ house, they’ve had to evacuate it,” he said.
“[The water] went through the garage but it’s just up to the floorboards in their house, so we just have to wait until the water recedes which won’t be for another five or six days probably.”

Waikato and South Auckland Primary Industries Adverse Event Cluster chair Neil Bateup said the Cormandel had the greatest impacts after the recent flooding. File Photo
The cow shed is under water.