B+LNZ estimates cyclones cost sheep and beef farmers between $367–422m

// Industry

B+LNZ estimates cyclones cost sheep and beef farmers between $367–422m

image of cyclone affected farm

B+LNZ has worked with a range of groups to calculate the direct on-farm impact on sheep and beef farmers of Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle, and the Auckland Anniversary weather event.

The report will help inform Government consideration of what further support farmers may need to get back on their feet quickly and to ensure impacts don’t spread beyond the farm gate.

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says the direct on-farm impacts of the extreme weather events in January and February on North Island sheep and beef farmers are in the range of $367–422 million.

“The results of these events will have a significant impact on farming businesses and communities for a number of years, but those impacts are unlikely to be easily identified in industry-level statistics,” he says.

“That’s why it was so important for us to quantify the impacts and inform the Government.

“As New Zealand’s biggest manufacturing sector and second largest goods exporter, a bedrock for rural communities and a major employer, a rapid recovery of these sheep and beef businesses is vital as it impacts all New Zealanders and the economy.”

McIvor says that while farmers and growers appreciate the financial assistance made available by the Government in the aftermath of Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle and the Auckland Anniversary Weekend event, it is clear that considerably more financial investment is necessary.

“Farmer are in a critical recovery phase. The Government is looking at what that investment might look like, so they have asked for a more complete picture.

“More than 90 percent of the estimated impact was due to infrastructure damage because livestock losses were expected to be low at a regional or industry level, although some individual farmers suffered high levels of livestock losses.

“The damage has primarily been to on-farm infrastructure such as fences, tracks and accessways, dams, culverts, bridges, water reticulation, and slipping which causes revenue losses through destocking. Most of these costs are not insurable.

“Where infrastructure damage is significant, the impacts can be varied and both short and long-term. Farmers had to deal with immediate concerns such as livestock welfare but are also facing ongoing implications around land management and financial stability.

“It’s important that farmers have some certainty so they can manage through the coming months and beyond. Anything that can be done to ease the fiscal burden of, and speed up, the recovery, will mean that farmers can more quickly get back to contributing to their local communities and New Zealand’s economy.”

The range identified is made up of $12–16 million for Northland, $18–21 million for Waikato-Bay of Plenty-Coromandel and $336–385 million for the East Coast, Hawke’s Bay, Tararua and the Wairarapa.

B+LNZ estimates that 1,200 farms in these areas were affected and suffered damage.

McIvor also notes the report does not consider infrastructure outside the farm gate, such as robust rural roading, although it is a critical aspect of recovery as it is a vital enabler for farmers and communities. He says farmers continue to emphasise this is an urgent investment priority for central and regional government.

B+LNZ worked closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries, regional and local councils, Regional Action Groups, Te Tumu Paeroa, and farmers across the North Island to undertake its analysis.


Download The impacts of Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle on sheep and beef farms report (PDF, 670 KB)

For more information, please contact James Ford on 027 235 9806 or media@beeflambnz.com