Support and advice during flooding events


Dealing with Floods

A flood can have devastating effects on a food and fibre business, affecting livestock, land, and buildings. The best way to minimise damage is to be prepared. 


    Immediate actions

    • Ensure the safety of family and staff
    • Move stock to safety, shelter and water and make sure they can't wander. Are the electric fences working?
    • Check power and phones. Report outages
    • Check dogs, poultry and pets
    • Check on neighbours - do they need help or can they help you?
    • Check buildings at risk, feed stacks. Move equipment and feed to higher ground.
    • Use generators if necessary to keep pumps, refrigeration, electric fences and household appliances running. Flood pumps may need attention.

Calf and Cow Welfare During Calving

It is highly likely more cows will calve early. Ensure regular calf pick up can be achieved where practically possible. Keep up regular observation of cows and spot abnormal behaviour that can be a sign of metabolic disorders. 

Try to supplement post calving (colostrum cows) with calcium. Ground limeflour can be mixed in with feed and fed in-shed, or made into a slurry with molasses and poured onto bales. Read more.

Transporting stock

Cows being fit for transport and correct supplementation will be critical. Refer to the transport guidelines here.

Standing cows off

  • If standing cows off on concrete for 12 hours + a day for 3 days in succession, cows should be given at least one full day on an alternate surface to rest.
  • To prevent mastitis in a standoff situation - regular application of teat spray, dry cows included. This might mean running the cows through the shed.


  • Many farmers need alternative grazing for their young stock.
  • Ring the Feed Coordination and Feed Planning Service on 0800 327 646 for requests and offers of feed and grazing, and feed budgeting advice.
  • Cows producing 1.6kgMS require a diet with 18% protein (higher if producing more)
  • If no grass is available you cannot feed cows 100% PKE in early lactation - but can feed up to 7kg PKE as long as they have effective fibre from silage.

Feeding silted pasture

  • Silt can stop rumen function and may contain pathogens such as lepto, neospora or BVD that have been washed in from another site upstream.
  • Graze silted pasture with dry cows for just 2-3 hours at a time. Follow up with quality unsilted feed.

What happens to farmland flooded by seawater?

There are things you can do if your property gets flooded with seawater. Find out about effects on soil and what you can do for your land and animals.

For more information go to MPI's website - click here.

During and after a flood

Safety first

  • Don't put yourself at risk from contaminated water, damaged roads, or landslides and other hazards.
  • Look for and report broken power lines to your electricity provider. Treat all lines as live. 
  • Trees may be unstable due to saturated ground and high winds. 
  • Be conscious of security. Lock your car and house. Report suspicious activity to police.

Health and wellbeing

  • Throw away food and water that has been contaminated by floodwater.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated.
  • For disposal of hazardous waste, including farm chemicals, call EnviroWaste on 0800 00 06 11.
  • Floodwaters can carry bugs that cause disease from the ground surface, septic tanks and sewerage systems. For more information click here
  • Food safety after a flood. Salvaging food items and utensils. For more inforamtion click here

Your property

  • Report flooded homes and any need for temporary accommodation to your local council.
  • Assess damage to water supply and reticulation systems. Which stock water troughs are contaminated with silt and will need cleaning?
  • Assess damage to access lanes, tracks, gateways, culverts, and fences. What flood debris needs to be cleared?
  • Assess damage to pastures and the depth and type of silt.
  • Assess available non-flooded pastures and other unaffected feed reserves.
  • Accept help when offered, and ask for it if you need it.
  • Restoring a house after flood damage - click here for more information


If your are unsure where to start, we can supply you with free and confidential support and connect you with the services you need, whether financial, business or health-related.

Call now 0800 787 254 (RURAL HELP)

New Coordinator joins the East Coast Rural Support Trust, representing Tairāwhiti.

Vicki Crosswell recently caught up with Murray Robertson from the Gisborne Herald about her new coordinator role.

23 Mar 2023
Vicki Crosswell has spent the past 11 years supporting the victims of crime and tragedy here and elsewhere. She is stepping into a role to assist farmers who need help in Tairāwhiti, as the new...
Read more

Teamwork helping farmers in the Tararua

Bush Telegraph By Dave Murdoch

19 Mar 2023
As recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle in Tararua slowly begins in the rural sector, practical measures and public generosity are combining to help ensure that when farmers are ready to begin the long...
Read more

Cyclone Gabrielle - Farmer and Grower Recovery Grants 2023

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has $51 million to help farmers and growers, including whenua Māori owners, to recover from Cyclone Gabrielle.

18 Mar 2023
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has $51 million to help farmers and growers, including whenua Māori owners, to recover from Cyclone Gabrielle. This funding is intended to assist farmers...
Read more

Alliance Group Donates $200,000 To The East Coast Rural Support Trust

To support the rural communities of Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Tararua, and the Wairarapa.

18 Mar 2023
In response to the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle, Alliance Group today announced a comprehensive support package for the region with a focus on farmers badly impacted on the East Coast...
Read more

Ballance donates $1million to Rural Support Trust

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is funding a comprehensive relief package to provide on the ground support. 

17 Mar 2023
In response to the devastation caused to rural communities by recent weather events through-out New Zealand, Ballance Agri-Nutrients is funding a comprehensive relief package to provide on the...
Read more

Rural Support Trust NZ

With thanks to our principal sponsors
Thanks to our Time Out Tour partners