Heavy downpours turned farmland into an ocean and floodwaters lapped at the doors of houses on Bell Rd in Papamoa.

Farmer Graham Thompson has been farming on Bell Rd since 1965 and said he had only once before seen flooding this bad, in the late 70s.

"The whole farm is flooded, there's only little pockets of high ground which we have put the cows on," he said.

The cows would only last a few days on the high ground before food ran out.

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Mr Thompson's 220 hectares of farmland had always been prone to flooding, but this "was a whole different ballgame".

Heavy downpours turned farmland into an ocean and floodwaters lapped at the doors of houses on Bell Rd in Papamoa.

Floodwaters were anywhere between six inches to four feet deep and pumps were working overtime to drain the water into Kaituna River.

"They are forecasting even more rain overnight and we just can't take any more," Mr Thompson told the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday afternoon.

Construction of the Tauranga Eastern Link did nothing to help the flooding issue for farms and houses on Bell Rd.

"They designed a culvert which does not help - it's supposed to take the water away but it doesn't take it quick enough."

Mr Thompson said the growing residential developments in Papamoa also increased the problem.

"A lot of rainwater running off roofs doesn't soak into the ground, it goes into the drainage system and while they built bigger drains the water comes down to the farms a lot quicker than it ever used to."

It would all come down to how quickly the floodwaters could be drained from the paddocks.

"If the water sits on the grass for seven days it will kill the grass, but if we can get it off before that we'll be okay."

He said it would be a "humongous" loss if they had to replant pasture.

Bell Rd resident and farm assistant Rhys Hatton had an "I'll be right" attitude and was hopeful he would be able to stay home overnight.

"I'll be right, but might have to have the neighbours over. There's probably only 200ml before it gets into their house and they have water running through their lounge."

Mr Hatton said he would be able to leave his house if need be, but "it would be freaky".

"There'd be water up to the car doors. I wouldn't do it in a small car, I'd need a ute at least."

The farmland flooded in winter but yesterday's flooding was "crazy".

Mr Thompson said it would be a "bit of a mess" when the flooding had drained out but it did not look like there would be too much damage.