With swollen rivers still rising in some areas, DairyNZ reports that more than 100 dairy farms in Southland and South Otago are being severely impacted by the extensive flooding in the region.
While the scale of damage is unknown at this time, these farms are either under water or cut off with access roads flooded, said DairyNZ's South Island manager, Tony Finch.
"We're in phone contact with many of the farmers. It's a dire situation for many right now. Their key focus is to get their people and their animals to safety."
"Farmers and their teams are moving their cows to higher ground where they can, and we know of some who have been able to relocate their herd to their neighbour's farm out of the danger zone."
Dairy farms in the Southland-South Otago, Oreti, Aparima and Clutha river catchments are the most severely impacted by the flooding, and many areas are now also without power.
Dairy companies are unable to get tankers in to collect milk as access to the farms is cut off. As a result, many farmers will need to dispose of the uncollected milk.
"Added to this, the flooding has impacted effluent management systems on many of the farms, so farmers now also face the challenge of how to dispose of this in the best way" said Finch.
Farmers in the affected regions are working together to accommodate animals on any dry land there is.
"We're also talking with farmers where the milk tankers can reach them, and many are sharing their milking sheds with neighbours who're flooded" said Finch.
As well as farmers helping each other, Finch said impacted farmers could also contact DairyNZ for help and advice.
"Adverse events like flooding create a lot of stress. I urge any farmers or farm team members who need support to give us a call, or contact the Rural Support Trust. Any farmers needing advice on managing effluent should get in touch with their local councils."
DairyNZ said it will continue to monitor the situation to assess the information and support farmers require.
Farmers can call 027 226 4420 or 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 4 324 7969) Monday-Friday 8am-4.30pm.
Rural Support's phone number is 0800 787 254.