Jarrod and Nikki Greenwood are relishing the prospect of progressing from contract milkers to 50/50 sharemilkers.

This lifetime aspiration means buying their own herd and switching from Palmerston North to a 115-hectare farm near Whanganui.

And they will make the move tomorrow, June 1, known in the agricultural world as Moving Day or Gypsy Day — the day when stock is moved from farm to farm across New Zealand.

"It's a good step up," said Jarrod Greenwood of the move to Whanganui.

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"Farming is our passion and we're in it for the long-haul. We love being around animals, working outside, and the business of farming itself."

The Greenwoods recently sourced a herd of 270 cows from the Waikato and brokered the deal through a trusted agent they have known for a long time.

It was important to check the history of a herd, said Greenwood — "Whether it has been mixed with other livestock in the past 12 months, including at wintering.

"Obviously the M Bovis situation is a concern and we've been taking all the necessary steps to minimise that risk. That means doing your due diligence, such as recording all animal movement on NAIT and completing the Animal Status Declaration [ASD] forms.

"We've also made sure that our new herd was tested for M. Bovis — and we got the all-clear."

He said recording animal movement on NAIT was "not hard" and should be a priority when farmers are thinking about moving animals.

"There are no excuses now — getting on board with NAIT is in everyone's interest. You don't want to be compromising your livestock's wellbeing or our overseas reputation as a safe food producer."

Accurate record keeping including tagging, registering animals and recording movements in NAIT is vital for the tracing of animal diseases and for effective disease preparedness, prevention and control.

Greenwood said he was mindful of cattle diseases like theileria and bovine tuberculosis (TB) and the importance of staying vigilant.

"When you're buying cattle, you have to be sure about what you're potentially getting into.
It only takes one crook calf bought from the sale yards or another farm that could turn into a major problem."

Relocating livestock on Moving Day — especially from a 'Movement Control Area' — meant making sure a TB pre-movement test had been done, he said.

For farmers moving cattle for grazing, it was equally important to know about the location, the grazier, and what on-farm biosecurity measures they employed.

"I've not encountered that type of transition yet. To be honest, it's going to be a big learning curve. But I know I would be thinking about NAIT and even checking that the farm boundary in relation to neighbouring properties is secure.

"There's bound to be a lot of stock trucks coming on-farm. I would be checking they are all fit for purpose for transporting herds and been thoroughly washed beforehand.

"At the end of day, anything new coming on-farm is a biosecurity risk, and you don't want to be the one suddenly having to manage a cattle disease outbreak," Greenwood said.