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Washed away

A large slip along Te Parae Rd, near Masterton, closing the road on Thursday. PHOTO/ELISA VORSTER

Lamb losses likely after heavy rain

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Stormy weather could not have come at a worse time for the region’s farmers, who are in the thick of lambing season.

From rural Masterton to Castlepoint, and down to the South Wairarapa coast, rain has interrupted lambing, with many farmers recording deaths already, along with saturated paddocks causing slips.

PGG Wrightson area livestock manager Steve Wilkinson said the past few days of rain were “a real shame”.

“With the weather the way it has been, there will be some lamb loses over this week,” he said.

August weather was settled, with last week looking positive for lambing season.

“But a lot of the guys are in the middle of lambing at the moment and the weather that has come couldn’t have come at a worse time really,” he said.

Tauweru farmer, Wayne Fleming, came across a large slip on his property on Thursday morning.

After recording about 64mm of rain in the previous few days, a 20m-wide slip slid about 300m on to Te Parae Rd, east of Masterton.

While it was not cleared late Thursday afternoon, residents along the road were not stranded, with access available via alternative routes.

“The ground is as wet as it has been for years and years,” Fleming said.

“It just seems to be that if we have a little bit of rain, it just drowns it – it’s saturated.”

He said the paddocks had not dried out since heavy rainfall in June.

“We lambed one lot early and one lot late – there have been a few lamb losses.”

South Wairarapa deputy mayor Brian Jephson, of Palliser Bay Station, had recorded about 120mm of rain in the three days, up to Thursday morning.

“I’ve seen it a hell of a lot worse out here, but we dodged a bullet this time,” he said.

He was only half-way through lambing, and had lost a few newborn lambs.

“Some of the ewes we had lambing on partly exposed land – there is a bit of carnage there.”

Castlepoint Station owner Anders Crofoot had measured 73mm of rain over the past few days, and guessed another 10-15mm had fallen on Wednesday night.

“Everything was already saturated to begin with,” he said.

On the Otahome side of the station, a road was slumping and needed repair work in order to get a truck through Thursday morning.

Crofoot said they were most of the way through lambing after moving their lambing date earlier than usual.

“But a lot of people are right in the midst of it, that’s going to be tough,” he said.

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