Earthquake-damaged rural land use studies begin

Free $5000 of expert advice for each earthquake-affected farmer in the three districts.

Published on Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Farmers, growers and foresters in the South Island’s earthquake- affected regions are encouraged to make use of $5000 worth of funded advisory services each, to plan how they will farm in the future.

MPI has approved at least twenty suppliers of advisory services who have specific skills to help farmers decide the best way to farm or use their damaged land in the future.  Services can include long-term land use planning, farm business strategic planning, environmental plans, farm system analysis, alternate use and farm change scenarios and technical or financial advice and planning.

MPI will fund up to $5000 for each farm business to use the advisory services.

“Some of the land damage has to be seen to be believed,” says MPI's Director-General Martyn Dunne. “And for some it means they simply can’t farm as they did pre-earthquake.

“The past wet winter in the regions had already caused significant erosion on fractured farmland, which not only affected usable land for grazing but also impacted on waterways, drainage, roads and fencing.

“It’s really important that farmers take the opportunity to get a chance to take stock and see what opportunities can come out of the disaster, in terms of defining how best to move forward.” 

The advisory service funding is part of a two-pronged approach to help farmers analyse and plan for how best to use land which has been damaged and changed by the November 2016 earthquakes.

The second part of the fund has dedicated $3.6 million to support eight community-led projects focused on researching future land use and land recovery in the wake of the 7.8 earthquakes.

The eight projects are expected to significantly contribute to the region’s recovery by investigating the best approaches to land use changes.  The funded projects span sheep and beef, dairy, viticulture, seafood and waterways.

“Activities will be determined by local priorities and then coordinated across the affected areas,” says Phil Smith – Farmer Director, Northern South Island, Beef+Lamb NZ.

“This will allow sharing of knowledge and ideas, and observation of field trials.

Farmers will also be able pool their ERF Advisory Services funding if they want to – we see it will be more cost-effective for some farmers to take up expert advice together.”

Funding for the community groups will be provided over three years and all projects are to share their findings and learnings with the community they are representing to ensure everyone can benefit as the region recovers.

Farmers with questions about the funding can contact MPI on or phone 0800 00 83 33.

Free, confidential support for rural people is always available from your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP).

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News & Alerts

Preparing for Gita

Monday, February 19, 2018

Author: Terri Anderson

Forecasting weather is a tricky one. Luckily we have Chris Brandelino from NIWA updating New Zealand on what to expect as of this morning: 

So now's the time to prepare:


Before a flood or storm

* Find out from your local council, neighbours, etc, if your property is at risk from flooding and plan accordingly

* Check your insurance cover details

* Fill vehicles’ tanks

* Have a smartphone you can charge in the car

* Store bailage/hay in areas not prone to flooding

* Ensure trees posing a hazard are trimmed (over houses, sheds, boundary fences)

* Store anything that is likely to be blown around, or tie down bigger items like trampolines

* Have a plan and trigger points to make decisions without waiting for official advice.

* Move animals, equipment and feed to higher ground.

* If you have a generator, make sure it’s accessible and ready to go.

*Clear drains and gutters

*Clear debris from waterways

* Have a household emergency kit including food, water, clothing, first aid, torch, cash, and a battery-powered radio


During a flood or storm

* The safety of you, your family, and your workers comes first.

* Listen to your local radio stations for official updates.

* Ensure stock have safety, shelter and water, and can't wander. Are electric fences working?

* Unplug small appliances to avoid damage from power surges. Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities to help prevent damage.

* Do not attempt to drive or walk through floodwaters unless it is absolutely essential.

* Treat all lines as live. Check power and phones and report outages.

* Check dogs, poultry and pets.

* Check on neighbours - do they need help or can they help you?

* Check buildings at risk, secure feed stacks.

* Use generators if necessary to keep pumps, refrigeration, electric fences and household appliances running. Flood pumps may need attention.


Useful sites and numbers:

* Civil Defence website

* Your local Rural Support Trust to update your information or ask for help 0800 RURAL HELP (0800 787 254)

* Your local council website and facebook page

*Animal welfare  

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When farmland is flooded by seawater

Storm surges and king tides

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Author: Terri Anderson

What happens to farmland which has been flooded by seawater?

  • The impact will depend on how long the crop or pasture is covered by seawater. If it’s only for a short time – up to 48 hours – and gets good rainfall, grasses should bounce back. 
  • Rain is needed to wash the salt away. It’s likely the saltwater was diluted by the rains during the storm which measured up to 70mm.
  • The last similar event in the areas was 15 July 1995. This was during winter, there was plenty of rain to wash out, and pasture recovered well over a three month period.


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Coastal Hazards Map

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Author: Julie Jonker
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Drought classification extends further to Southland and Otago


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Author: Terri Anderson


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Categories: National, Otago, Southland