Flood Impacts on Dairy Farms in the Bay of Plenty Region, New Zealand

Ryan Paulik, Kate Crowley, Nicholas Cradock-Henry, Thomas Wilson, Ame McSporran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Flood damage assessments provide critical information for flood hazard mitigation under changing climate conditions. Recent efforts to improve and systemise damage assessments have focused primarily on urban environments with few examples for primary industries such as dairy. This paper explores the adverse consequences of flooding on dairy farms in the Bay of Plenty region, New Zealand. Ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie in April 2017 caused prolonged riverine and surface water flooding on over 3500 hectares of dairy farmland. The event provided an opportunity to develop and apply a participatory approach for collecting information about on-farm flood damage, and both response and recovery actions implemented by dairy farmers. Semi-structured interviews and transect walks with farmers revealed a range of direct and indirect damages to production and capital assets, influenced by duration of inundation, silt deposition and seasonality. Results highlight the need to identify on-farm and off-farm asset interdependencies of dairy farm systems to estimate long-term socio-economic consequences at farm-level. Enhancing dairy farm flood resilience in a changing climate will rely on farm-level response and recovery plans, proactively supported by emergency management agencies, farm service suppliers and support agencies
Original languageEnglish
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2021


  • Agriculture
  • Dairy farm
  • Flooding
  • damage
  • production
  • capital assets
  • New Zealand


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