Farming leaders are worried about the mental toll the persistent wet weather is having on people on the East Coast of the North Island.
“The sound of rain on the roof used to be soothing. Now it causes anguish,” said Tairāwhiti farmer and Federated Farmers board member Toby Williams.
He said such is the frequency, rain events are merging into one.
A further 76mm fell on his Gisborne farm at the weekend with more than 200mm recorded in parts of Hawke’s Bay.
In the past two weeks 354mm has fallen on his farm – and 429mm for the first 26 days of June.
With soils saturated after 18 months of above-average rainfall, the latest rain caused surface flooding, land slips and closed roads at the weekend.
The East Coast Rural Support Trust chair, Clint Worthington, said parts of the area were well into recovery following Cyclone Gabrielle, only to have this setback.
“In the last six months or so it’s been two steps forward followed by five steps back.
“They talk about farmer resilience but you wonder how much more resilient can they be?” he said.
Trust members have been working the phones to determine the extent of the issues from the latest deluge.
From that information they will develop programmes and services required by the community.
Roading issues have once again disrupted the aid that support groups are planning and rolling out to farming families and rural communities.
Williams said farm access has again become a problem as slips and flooding closed roads and damaged already vulnerable farm tracks.
Having been inundated by slips from above State Highway 2, the weekend’s events caused the road to slump, he said, dropping 1m in some places.
The weather is causing anguish among people.
“You struggle to find anyone who tells you they are happy.
“We just need a break.”
In addition to watching their farms inundated by floodwaters, Williams said people are tired and frustrated by soil conditions that limit what they do.
The Feds’ Hawke’s Bay president, Jim Galloway, said farmers have been unable to feed stock due to the risk of having vehicles on saturated soil, and feed utilisation has fallen.
Newly repaired or built farm tracks are also too dangerous to use, due to the slippery clay surface
Galloway said some parts of the province had between 200mm and 300mm of rain at the weekend. He tipped 140mm out of his own rain gauge.
He said farmers are exhausted and efforts by the Rural Advisory Group to provide aid and assistance have been hampered by the weather disruption.