A visit to a flood-stricken farm on the Taieri Plain was a precursor to a panel discussion in Henley last night.

DairyNZ Southland and South Otago regional leader Richard Kyte said a range of representatives from organisations including DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, Ministry for Primary Industries, fertiliser companies and a veterinary clinic investigated a paddock, flooded in last month's heavy rain, on James Aitken's dairy farm in Kirks Drain Rd in Momona.

The visit allowed the representatives to discuss issues including managing ''pugging damage'' and a shortage of feed.

Farmers were invited to a ministry-funded panel discussion by the representatives at Henley Community Centre last night.


Federated Farmers Otago, North Otago and South Canterbury territory manager Nick Abbott said farmers with sodden paddocks were ''hanging in'' and hoping for sunny weather to limit the amount of supplementary feed they would need to buy as a ''deluge'' would destroy some pasture, he said.

''It's a real waiting game.''

If heavy rain arrived, the farmers with calves at foot and cows needing to be milked would need extra feed.

DairyNZ developer Maitland Manning said people should check on the wellbeing of farmers affected by the floods, especially if they had noticed a change in their behaviour.

''Find an excuse to have a chat,'' he said.

- Otago Daily Times