Farmer recounts watching dust storm form into twister that lifted two-tonne mower

A Rakaia crop farmer tells 1 NEWS he watched in awe as a dust storm turned into a full blown tornado on his farm this afternoon - snapping and overturning his heavy equipment.

Randal Hanrahan was on his land when he says he noticed the wind change.

“There was a lot of dust on a shingle road and it generated from there, from being a bit of dust from coming into a paddock, and slowly generated into a dust storm and got bigger and bigger until it was several hundred metres high," he says.

The twister then moved across the farm, where he lost sight of it, he recalled.

The broken irrigator at Randal Hanrahan's farm.
The tornado snapped the irrigator at Randal Hanrahan's farm. Source: 1 NEWS

A farmworker, who happened to be driving past, called Mr Hanrahan saying a couple of irrigators had been blown over and snapped in half and his two-tonne mower had spun over.

“It was at 90 degrees to what it was and on its side, so the wind must have had a fair bit of force behind it,” he says. 

Mr Hanrahan had only ever seen small dust storms before. 

He says he will be contacting his insurance company in the morning. 

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An irrigator was 'pretty much snapped in half' and a two-tonne mower was turned over, Randal Hanrahan said. Source: 1 NEWS