KZN farmers smiling despite bad weather

Modern weather forecasting technology, in combination with lightning-quick social media communications, allowed most of KwaZulu-Natal’s farmers to prepare for the snow, ice and heavy rains that fell this past weekend.

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Reports indicated that farmers who took precautions were able to protect vulnerable livestock from the cold. One such farmer in the KZN Midlands even brought some newly-born calves (photo below) into his home and warmed them up in front of the fireplace.

Photo: Andrea Jooste

Clive Foss, chairperson of the Nottingham Road Farmers’ Association, said that local farmers were sighing with relief after receiving as much as 80mm of rain. Although not as drought-stricken as other parts of the province or South Africa, the KZN Midlands had also suffered from severely depleted dam and groundwater levels.

“This was the only proper rain that we’ve had since March. It was a Godsend,” Foss said.

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He added that the only complaints he had received from farmers were of the damage caused by droves of snow seekers who came from as far away as Durban to experience the white delight.

The farmers also complained that many of these visitors damaged farm fences, were trespassing, and left farm gates open in their determination to play in the snow. They reportedly often also left litter behind on, or adjacent to, snow-covered farms.

Manager of the Mooi-Mpofana Agricultural Association, Tony le Roux, said while he had received no reports of livestock losses in his area, the local gravel district roads had become muddy and slippery due to the snow and rain. This had caused problems mostly for milk collection tankers travelling to and from local dairy farms.

Meanwhile, reports continued to come in of ongoing heavy rains and associated flash flooding across other parts of the province, particularly its coastal areas.