After snow and ice
It's all hands on deck!
- Call your local Rural Support Trust for free confidential conversations on 0800 787 254
- Look after yourself, your family, workers and neighbours. Ask for help and accept it when offered.
- Ensure stock and domestic animals have water, food, shelter, and are secure.
- Ensure that all stock injuries are promptly attended too, after human needs are met
- Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities. Treat all lines as live.
Keeping on after a snowstorm
MPI has animal welfare recommendations here (pdf)
Beef+Lamb and Dairy NZ provide some good advice on their websites.
Insurance advice for any damage
- Lodge your claim as soon as you can, even though you may not have all the information
- Take notes and photos of all damage
- Carry out emergency repairs such as making buildings safe and weatherproof. Take photos of any damage you’re repairing to add to your insurance claim
- If you need to throw items out, please take photos first.
- Horizons Regional Council 0508 800 800 (or Website & Facebook)
- (Roading - Your local Council on usual Phone Number (Note: All Council Websites and Facebook pages will also show up to date roading information across their district)
- Electricity: - Powerco (or your electricity retailer)
- Telecommunications: - Your telecommunications provider in the first instance.
- Federated Farmers’ feedline: 0800 32 76 46 then choose option 3 for feed offers or requests
- Fruit and vegetable growers: 0508 46 78 69 (HortNZ)
- Beef + Lamb New Zealand: xxxxx beeflambnz.com/Documents/Farm/fact-sheet-91-snow-guidelines.pdf
- Dairy farmers: 0800 43 24 79 69 (DairyNZ)
- Fonterra suppliers: 0800 65 65 68
- Open Country suppliers: 021 272 1558
- Your Vet
- Your accountant, bank manager, or farm advisor
- Work and Income.
Some handy tips from farmers who have been there, done that.
You and your teams
- Do not take any risks
- Work in pairs
- Make sure everyone has enough warm layers and wet weather gear and a place to dry it
- No electricity- can you sleep over at homes with log burners?
- When communications are down – fully charge RTs if available.
- Can you get WIFI at the cowshed with the generator going?
- Have phone chargers in vehicles.
- Coordinate snow raking and rescue of stock with neighbours.
- Open tracks and pasture areas as soon as it stops snowing and before snow packs down hard.
- Consider how best to mobilise. Two-wheelers may not be safe.
- Be aware of black ice, compacted snow turning to ice, and clumps falling off buildings.
- Clear / de-ice paths and roads.
- Look out for the health of you, your family and workers. Health complications can peak following a cold snap: Heart attacks peak three days later; strokes five days later; Respiratory infections ten days later.
- Remove and dispose of dead stock quickly.
- Consider standing cows on a sheltered sacrifice area, cow yards or wintering pads during the day and allowing them to graze at night. Cows can consume their daily intake in 6-8 hours. Ensure they have enough space to lie down – at least 3.5m2 per cow if on woodchip, sand or concrete for up to two days, more than 5m2 for over two days, and 8m2 if on crops or sacrifice paddocks. Watch for cow space. A 400 cow yard is only good for 200 cows as a standoff area.
- Cows need to lie for at least eight hours a day. If lying is restricted they will lie in preference to grazing when put on pasture, resulting in underfeeding. Cows don’t like to lie on concrete so try to minimise time they are stood off on yards.
- Monitor your animals closely – they get stressed and lose condition quickly as a result of heavy snow. Provide shelter, feed and water to minimise this. Move to lighter land or a stand-off area and break ice on troughs
- If calving: Pick up calves as soon as possible and get them indoors for a feed. Ensure freshly calved cows have access to sufficient food during the transition period. Other calves should be indoors or in the most sheltered of paddocks
- Watch out for downer cows and have your vehicles stocked with some bags of Calmag, magsulphate, and hip lifters.
- Please liaise with your vet for early decision making where treatments are not quickly effective
- Don’t rely on electric fencing – close gates
- List what feed you have on hand – it needs to last until the end of the winter.
- How much hay, straw, silage, baleage, grain, crop and pasture cover.
- How long will this feed last?
- Decide on what to do about any deficit, e.g. buy feed, sell stock, graze off etc.
- Develop a flexible feed plan
- Feeding to manage animal stress and maintain as much condition as possible is critical. Make supplementary feed accessible
- Stock will be hungry and devour whatever you put in front of them so be careful introducing different feeds. Watch out for bloat and nitrate poisoning starting back on kale, for example
- Separate out small, sick, lame and put in a separate mob for special attention, food and shelter
- Clean feed is paramount for pregnant cows. No mould on hay/baleage.
It’s normal to feel worried about you and your family’s safety. Our brains react chemically to shocks such as storms - releasing adrenaline. This response is our body’s alarm system. It’s your body telling you to be alert and ready for action. It can also cause us to feel shaky, queasy or on-edge and make it hard for us to concentrate. It may result in strong emotional responses such as anger or crying. This is normal and we can help these affects to settle by doing some light physical activity, taking up a small chore or task and by focusing on some calm breathing for 10 seconds.
All of us have different needs and different ways of coping. Acknowledging our feelings can help us get back on track.
Going through a disaster takes a toll on all of us and coping is not always easy. Good mental health helps us carry on and deal with all that life throws at us.
Five tips to help you look after yourself and those around you:
1. Pace yourself and focus on the things that are most important to you. For example, relationships, family/whānau and your health.
2. Take time to think about your energy levels. If you are feeling tired or stressed, consider ways you can recharge your batteries. Things like listening to music or having a bath can help pick you up – just think about what makes you feel good.
3. Try to focus on the things that you can control at the moment. It’s ok to acknowledge things that are beyond your control, but focusing on them too much can simply leave you feeling overwhelmed.
4. Routines can help us deal with uncertainty and constant change, so try to maintain your daily or weekly routine (if you can). If you can’t, create a temporary one, for example, dinner with the family at a particular time each day.
5. It’s ok to talk about what has happened and how you are coping. If you are around children or vulnerable people, try to remain calm and positive as they will take their lead from you.
Call your Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP if you need support, advice, or just a chat.
It’s free and confidential. www.rural-support.org.nz