Farmers on alert for winter's worst

TIM CRONSHAW
Last updated 05:00 01/06/2014

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Canterbury farmers are bracing themselves for more snowfalls if chilling temperatures in the south are any indication.

They hope the early thick snow around the Southern Lakes District is not a forewarning of snow weather ahead.

Much of Canterbury caught the sub-zero temperatures, but escaped the white blanket with the exception of a light layer on the Hunter Hills near Waimate and snow flurries deepening around parts of Banks Peninsula.

Off the high passes, snow was expected to thaw quickly on the upper and shaded reaches of high country farms after sunny days followed the southerly.

Federated Farmers meat & fibre chairwoman Jeanette Maxwell said May snow had arrived before and if it had landed next month would have taken longer to shift.

"The south had their fair share down there but nor'westers ... will shift it. We can't predict what mother nature will do or not do, but it was well forecast."

She said Canterbury farmers were no stranger to snow and would take it in their stride if it arrived as it was part of the farming cycle.

"It's when we have deep snow that lasts for a long time that it wears you down because its wet and every job takes a bit longer."

In 2006 it took eight weeks before snow disappeared at the Maxwell family farm at the foot of Mt Hutt. A series of hard frosts allowed vehicles to travel on top of the hard packed snow.

"If we get a wee dusting that's how it is. It's the big dustings we don't want."

Meanwhile, Federated Farmers has completed its round of 24 provincial annual meetings. North Canterbury has retained Lynda Murchison as provincial president, Mid Canterbury Chris Allen and South Canterbury Ivon Hurst. Nelson has a new president, Martin O'Connor as has Marlborough with Greg Harris.

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