Support and advice during flooding events


Dealing with Floods

A flood can have devastating effects on a farm business, affecting livestock, land, and buildings. The best way to minimise damage is to be prepared. 

  • Plan what to do with your pets, livestock and valuable equipment.
  • Know where the closest high ground is and how to get there.
  • Check your insurance policy.
  • Beef + Lamb NZ - Preparing for a Flood


    Immediate actions

    • Ensure the safety of family and staff
    • Move stock to safety, shelter and water and make sure they can't wander. Are the electric fences working?
    • Check power and phones. Report outages
    • Check dogs, poultry and pets
    • Check on neighbours - do they need help or can they help you?
    • Check buildings at risk, feed stacks. Move equipment and feed to higher ground.
    • Use generators if necessary to keep pumps, refrigeration, electric fences and household appliances running. Flood pumps may need attention.

Calf and Cow Welfare During Calving

It is highly likely more cows will calve early. Ensure regular calf pick up can be achieved where practically possible. Keep up regular observation of cows and spot abnormal behaviour that can be a sign of metabolic disorders. 

Try to supplement post calving (colostrum cows) with calcium. Ground limeflour can be mixed in with feed and fed in-shed, or made into a slurry with molasses and poured onto bales. Read more.

Transporting stock

Cows being fit for transport and correct supplementation will be critical. Refer to the transport guidelines here.

Standing cows off

  • If standing cows off on concrete for 12 hours + a day for 3 days in succession, cows should be given at least one full day on an alternate surface to rest.
  • To prevent mastitis in a standoff situation - regular application of teat spray, dry cows included. This might mean running the cows through the shed.


  • Many farmers need alternative grazing for their young stock.
  • Ring the Feed Coordination and Feed Planning Service on 0800 327 646 for requests and offers of feed and grazing, and feed budgeting advice.
  • Cows producing 1.6kgMS require a diet with 18% protein (higher if producing more)
  • If no grass is available you cannot feed cows 100% PKE in early lactation - but can feed up to 7kg PKE as long as they have effective fibre from silage.

Feeding silted pasture

  • Silt can stop rumen function and may contain pathogens such as lepto, neospora or BVD that have been washed in from another site upstream.
  • Graze silted pasture with dry cows for just 2-3 hours at a time. Follow up with quality unsilted feed.

What happens to farmland flooded by seawater?

There are things you can do if your property gets flooded with seawater. Find out about effects on soil and what you can do for your land and animals.

For more information go to MPI's website - click here.

During and after a flood

Safety first

  • Don't put yourself at risk from contaminated water, damaged roads, or landslides and other hazards.
  • Look for and report broken power lines to your electricity provider. Treat all lines as live. 
  • Trees may be unstable due to saturated ground and high winds. 
  • Be conscious of security. Lock your car and house. Report suspicious activity to police.

Health and wellbeing

  • Throw away food and water that has been contaminated by floodwater.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated.
  • For disposal of hazardous waste, including farm chemicals, call EnviroWaste on 0800 00 06 11.

Your property

  • Report flooded homes and any need for temporary accommodation to your local council.
  • Assess damage to water supply and reticulation systems. Which stock water troughs are contaminated with silt and will need cleaning?
  • Assess damage to access lanes, tracks, gateways, culverts, and fences. What flood debris needs to be cleared?
  • Assess damage to pastures and the depth and type of silt.
  • Assess available non-flooded pastures and other unaffected feed reserves.
  • Accept help when offered, and ask for it if you need it.


If your are unsure where to start, we can supply you with free and confidential support and connect you with the services you need, whether financial, business or health-related.

Call now 0800 787 254 (RURAL HELP)

Decision Tree for Flood Damaged Farms

DairyNZ has produced a flow chart to assist with farmers with flooded property

12 Jul 2022

DairyNZ - Decision Tree for Flood Damaged Farms

Read more

National Feed Coordination Service

Do you need help sourcing supplementary feed or grazing to help you get through the coming months?

08 Apr 2022

Feed Coordiantion Service - April 2022

Read more

The Country's Rural Wellness Week - Neil Bateup

Host of The Country, Jamie Mackay catches up with RST National Council Chair Neil Bateup

02 Apr 2022

Farmers have a lot on their plate this year and that's before Covid-19 is brought into the mix, chair of the National Council of the Rural Support Trust Neil Bateup says.

Read more


The Mayoral Relief Fund for the February 2022 floods is now open.

22 Mar 2022

Farmers impacted by the February 2022 floods can now apply to the Mayoral Relief Fund.

Read more

Farm Business Continuity Planning

Having a business continuity plan is important for ensuring your farm can continue to operate as efficiently as possible during any unplanned disruption.

25 Feb 2022
Read more

Rural Support Trust NZ