Generators now a 'must-have' for dairy sheds

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 14:01 14/09/2013
Daniel Hughes milking on a South Canterbury dairy farm where power was knocked out by high winds.
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ

GENERATORS IN ACTION: Daniel Hughes milking on a South Canterbury dairy farm where power was knocked out by high winds.

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All dairy sheds should be equipped with generators to ensure they can milk through power cuts, South Canterbury Federated Farmers says.

Hundreds of farmers across South Canterbury were left without power this week, including dairy farmers who had to borrow generators so they could continue milking.

South Canterbury Federated Farmers provincial president Ivon Hurst said this week's storm should be a wake-up call to those farmers who have yet to invest in backup plans.

Mr Hurst has been fielding calls for generators since the outage, in conjunction with the Rural Trust, which provides assistance in emergencies.

He did not know how many milking sheds were still running on generators, or how many had been distributed to South Canterbury farms to help with the latest outage. However, the need had decreased since Tuesday's fierce storm, he said.

"The demand has slowed.

"[On Wednesday] every Tom, Dick and Harry wanted one."

There was now more demand in Mid and North Canterbury, he said.

"The chances are, at this stage, we won't need any more generators coming into [South Canterbury].

"We can cope with what we've got.

"We really appreciate all the support that's been given to us. It's been quite overwhelming."

Mr Hurst said there would be a debrief to determine what needed to be done so farmers could avoid similar situations in the future.

He said the main message to come from that was likely to be the need for backup plans.

"It's something I imagine will be clearly said when we have our debriefing sessions in a couple of weeks."

He said dairy farmers were affected by the strong winds in two ways - they did not have the electricity to keep systems going to milk the cows, and milk vats were full because tanker drivers could not access farms due to blocked roads.

Generators are still being sought in some parts of Canterbury.

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