‘Nervous excitedness’ on dairy farm moving day

Dairy cows near Winton, Southland [file photo].

John Hawkins/Stuff

Dairy cows near Winton, Southland [file photo].

It’s moving day on dairy farms and Covid-19 has seen the bar raised in cleanliness and hygiene standards for the occasion, a Southland federated farmers leader says.

June 1 moving day, formerly known as Gypsy day, is the time when contract milkers and share milkers move their cows, families and equipment to new farms for new beginnings.

It’s also the time when the majority of sale and purchase agreements for dairy farms go through.

The day coincides with the end of the dairy season, when cows have been dried off.

Southland Federated Farmers dairy chairman Hadleigh Germann said dairy farmers also moved their cows to their winter grazing locations at this time of year.

Hadleigh Germann, Southland Federated Farmers dairy chairman.

Kavinda Herath/Stuff

Hadleigh Germann, Southland Federated Farmers dairy chairman.

There had been concern that moving day would coincide with lockdown but those fears were allayed when the country went to alert level 2.

However, Germann said Covid-19 had made dairy farmers more aware that cleanliness and hygiene needed to be at the front of their minds.

He did not have the number of sales and movements in Southland but said it was always a busy and exciting time for those involved.

“It’s new challenges in front of them, a new farm to learn, new team members to work with … a nervous excitedness, a bit like running onto the rugby park for the first game of the season.”

Neighbours or mates often helped out those people making the big move to new farms, Germann said.

”If you are having to pack up and shift it’s bloody busy, you have to dry the cows off and get them on trucks, you might be sending them to different farms, you try to leave the farm sick and span for the new people arriving.”

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