[17 September/Stuff]

An estimated 100,000 lambs were lost in the North Island over the past few weeks due to a recent storm. The economic impact of the losses is estimated at up to $14.4 million. Federated Farmers High Country Chairman, Simon Williamson, said lambing would not begin in areas where recent snow had fallen until October. AgriHQ Analyst, Mel Croad, added the losses were a devastating blow for farmer morale. She emphasised it hurt even more as lamb prices were high. Some sheep farmers had lost 20 to 30 percent of their lambs, and dairy farmers had calf losses. It was difficult to rescue lambs, particularly if the rain had got to them first. Wairarapa Hill Country Farmer, Jamie Falloon, said he had not tallied his losses yet but expected a significant number. The losses would likely have an impact on processers in the new year. Beef + Lamb New Zealand Economist, Andrew Burtt, said it would be devastating for individual farmers, but have little impact nationally.