Farmers facing difficult decisions in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle

Farmers are facing challenging times following the destruction caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.

The cattle and sheep that remain on Tolaga Bay's Paroa Station have a lot less room to graze than usual after the cyclone flooded three nearby rivers, filling the farm's paddocks with thick silt. 

"We're about 1400 hectares here, 900 of that is flats and probably 90 percent of those flats would be gone," Paroa Station manager Brenden Ewart told Newshub.

The damage from the cyclone has forced Ewart to cut back his numbers, sending stock to the works early and shifting some to other properties.  

"We're currently just trying to evacuate as much of the farm as we can because we just simply can't feed them at this stage," he said.

But stock trucks are finding it hard to get to Gisborne farmers due to road damage, and meat processing plants they usually deliver to are closed because of damage or water restrictions. 

"Our nearest one is currently Te Puke which is a four-hour drive from here and then the next closest is seven hours into the Waikato," said Farmers Transport Branch manager Andrew Church. 

One Ormond farmer has been cut off from 140 hectares of his property, with the two main accessways washed away in the storm.

However, he described himself as one of the lucky ones and is concerned about those who are worse off.

"You know, guys who've gone through [Cyclone] Bola, gone through droughts, gone through every disease in the past and they're breaking up because it's really hammered people," said Charlie Reynolds, Federated Farmers Gisborne/Wairoa acting provisional president.

Charlie said $10,000 in Government assistance per farm is not enough.

"We're $25 a metre in fencing, so it's $25,000 a kilometre. And we've got thousands of kilometres that need doing," he said.

"One of the big things that is affecting dry stock farmers is access to roading and that is proving difficult to get stock off farms and into processing plants," said Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association.

This cyclone is Paroa Station's ninth flooding event since Cyclone Bola and it is by far the worst. 

For Paroa Station manager Brenden Ewart, it is his first cyclone while working there.

"I was lucky to start the day of the cyclone, so, that was a good welcome," he told Newshub.

Now, he's starting all over again.