A man has been killed by a bull on a North Canterbury farm.

A police spokeswoman said officers attended a sudden death of a man at a farm in Oxford yesterday at about 4pm.

The man's wife told Stuff that the death was an accident.

"It was just a straight-out unfortunate set of circumstances that happened. He wasn't doing anything stupid."

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Federated Farmers North Canterbury president Cameron Henderson said it was "incredibly tragic" for the community.

"Farmers do this work for more than just income, it is a lifestyle. So for someone to lose their life in this way is incredibly tragic."

At this stage he was unaware of the details of the incident and did not personally know the farmer, but said Federated Farmers would be supporting the community alongside the Rural Support Trust.

"Once we have had better contact we will be offering all of the support we can to farmers and the family."

Cameron said while such incidents were "exceptionally rare", working around animals was always unpredictable.

"Bulls are generally more scared of you than you are of them, you just need to be careful around them and ensure they are not backed into a corner or feeling threatened.

"But when you are working with animals there is always a chance of a freak accident happening as animals are unpredictable."

A WorkSafe spokeswoman said they had been notified of an incident where a man was "fatally injured by a bull".

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"We are making inquiries," she said.

A St John Ambulance spokesman said staff attended the incident.

More to come.