Springdale Dairy Farmer Robert Cookson inspects the flooding damage to his maize crops.

"So basically she's just all turning to grain, there's no milk in that maize at all now," he says.

If the paddocks don't dry soon he'll have no option but to plough 16 hectares of maize into the ground - an estimated loss of $90,000 worth of feed.

"The flooding has caused the plant to die off and so it's dying from the top of the plant and the bottom of the plant at the moment. Normally the plant dies from the top and all the moisture goes out the bottom of the plant but it's dying from both ends due to the flood water still in the paddock."


The losses haven't stopped there.

Cows have had to be dried off early - costing another $90,000 in about 15,000 possible milk solids.

He says his heifers won't be coming back until two months later than usual to allow extra time to build up grass reserves to support the property through calving in spring.

With water slowly draining the extent of the damage is evident through brown water marks and a rotting grass smell.

North Island Rural Women Board Member Janet Williams says: "It's just mud and it's just dead grass and there's only a small window of time for them to actually get the new grass seed in and get it growing before winter comes otherwise they're not going to be able to resow until spring, and that's going to create a real problem for them."

PGG Wrightson Seeds Sales Agronomist Greg Zeuren says paddocks will have to be assessed on a paddock by paddock basis, but once the water is gone a temporary Italian or Annual ryegrass could be resown.

"It's a short-term fix to get us through the winter, this coming winter, the soil temperatures are still very favorable so that's where these winter active ryes are going to be very good."

Waikato-Hauraki-Coromandel Rural Support Trust chair Neil Bateup says some farmers may have two or three more weeks before they adding up the financial losses, but he didn't even try putting a total cost on it.

"It will be huge."

Moving forward Mr Bateup says everyone needs to support each other.

"Keep an eye on your neighbours keep an eye on your friends and that's how the community can get through these things."

And - while nothing could have been done to stop the weather pattern hitting the region - some locals say the Waitoa Piako River Scheme could have had maintained more regularly.

Mr Cookson says there hasn't much done in the last 10-15 years.

However - the Regional Council says river digs are completed every two years to maintain floodway and channel capacity.

But locals dispute that - and they say Waikato Regional Council should never have allowed Fish and Game to build weirs - creating ponds for duck shooting.

In a written statement the Waikato Regional Council says they "are aware of the observations of local members of the community and will be looking at this information as part of... ongoing flood assessment work."

It is undertaking a review - but says it is too early to confirm if the issue raised contributed to the flooding.

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