Farmers worry about feed supply after Northland flooding

There is concern that many farmers in Northland will struggle with feed supplies after flooding over the weekend.

After facing months of drought the region experienced unprecedented rainfall, leaving many roads closed and houses uninhabitable.

Matt Long, a farmer in Matapouri, eastern Whangārei, says with the calving season underway the rain will be an extra challenge for farmers.

"Coming out of the worst drought in 40 or 50 years there's not a lot of spare feed around for those guys," Long told Rural Today on Tuesday.

"It kind of reminds me of an old Footrot Flats cartoon 'drought, flood, fire, what next?'"

He says where his farm is, near Tutukaka, the situation was bad but could have been worse. However, around the Hikurangi Swamp, "it's all underwater".

"Right in our area we're thinking that the damage could be a lot worse. We got 140mm on Wednesday and the neighbours had 240mm in their gauge on Saturday morning so with that amount of rain we could have been looking at some really bad landslides and that kind of thing," he said.

"The chances are, in Hikurangi at least, that their pastures are going to be killed with the water sitting on them for too long."

Long said he personally had got off relatively lightly, though there was plenty of work ahead fixing fencing around his property.

"For me the biggest pain is all the waterways and all the fencing on the waterways is all tangled up and a real mess - I've got quite a few days ahead trying to get that untangled. It's a real frustrating thing that we have to fence all the waterways so cows don't get in and maintain it every time there's a flood. And we don't know whether there'll be a flood next week or next year."

Long encouraged anyone struggling to find feed, as well as people who were able to donate spare feed, to contact the Rural Support Trust.