Moving Day is nearly here! This is when farmers carry out a tremendous feat of logistics and teamwork to pack up their households, animals and equipment and move to new farms for the start of the new dairy season, June 1.

This important time in the dairy farming calendar brings new opportunities as farmers, sharemilkers and employees move up the career ladder, said DairyNZ people team manager Jane Muir. This year, an estimated 5000 farmers are expected to move.

Additional planning, hygiene procedures and contingency steps are required for this year's Moving Day to protect health and safety due to Covid-19.
Additional planning, hygiene procedures and contingency steps are required for this year's Moving Day to protect health and safety due to Covid-19.

"The amount of planning and hive of activity around the move is enormous, and every year farmers rely strongly on positivity, communication, cooperation and comradeship to pull it off successfully," said Ms Muir.

This year, there are additional challenges caused by the complexities of Covid-19, with extra care needed around health and safety, hygiene and forward planning.

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"At this stage, it looks like New Zealand will be at Covid-19 alert level 2 when Moving Week takes place, but we need everyone to consider all scenarios and we are providing support for this. Being prepared means farmers can proceed with confidence," said Ms Muir.

Looking after the cows will be all-important as farmers make the big Moving Day shift. DairyNZ recommends farmers stay calm around the cows throughout the move.
Looking after the cows will be all-important as farmers make the big Moving Day shift. DairyNZ recommends farmers stay calm around the cows throughout the move.

"DairyNZ has pulled together a range of resources to help dairy farmers with the move, with input from Federated Farmers, Fonterra and FMG."

The resources have been designed to be user-friendly and save farmers time and stress. They include guidelines on managing the key elements of the move – covering planning and movement of people, animals and equipment. The guidelines also cover managing contractors and regulatory requirements in the current Covid-19.

"We know many farmers love having templates for key activities they have to carry out, so we have made a number available to help with the move," said Ms Muir.

The templates include a Moving Day Planning Document to help plan ahead, and a Moving Day Participation Record (to keep track of who is helping with each move in case Covid-19 tracing is required).

A user-friendly Q&A has also been developed covering such things as who can help with Moving Day, which businesses farmers can use for Moving Day and who is responsible for ensuring houses are cleaned thoroughly.

Highlights from the Moving Day guidelines:

Some of the key information from the guidelines is summarised here but farmers are encouraged to check out the full resources on the DairyNZ website at dairynz.co.nz/movingday.

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Moving farm and household items

The guidelines for moving farm and household items includes:

■ Guidance on physical distancing when moving and minimising movements if moving between regions.

■ Advice on thoroughly cleaning the house, dairy shed, vehicles and machinery.

Moving animals

The guidelines for moving animals includes what to do for:

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■ Buying or selling stock and transporting cows.

■ Ensuring the right animal care procedures are followed for feed and water, fitness for travel and – importantly – remaining calm around the cows.

Moving people

The guidelines for moving people includes:

■ Advice on farm inspections and recruitment interviews and the need to keep a record of anyone who has assisted with the move.

■ A great tip to check if there is the possibility of having 24 to 72 hours between tenants leaving and arriving to take the pressure off. There are also ideas on how to keep people fresh and motivated for the move.

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Admin and regulatory requirements

These guidelines include lists and advice to help with:

■ Regulatory matters such as completing ASD and NAIT requirements, and finalising critical record keeping for on-farm records. There are reminders to update farm policies and procedures for the new farm.

■ Checklists to cover off things that need to be finalised at the house and on the farm.

Managing contractors

The guidelines for managing contractors includes:

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■ Confirming how the contractors are managing Covid-19 within their business and what this means for the move.

■ A checklist of steps to cover off, including advising contractors of farm rules and relevant emergency procedures.