DairyNZ is looking out for its farmers, and free health checks were conducted throughout New Zealand recently.

Originally started as part of DairyNZ's Health PitStops project, which was supported by the Transforming the Dairy Value Chain (TDVC) Primary Growth Partnership programme, the Health PitStops have continued.

The programme was a seven-year, $170 million innovation investment led by commercial partners, including DairyNZ and Fonterra, and partnered by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Since it started in 2010, more than 4000 farmers have had health checkups at events such as the National Fieldays and Side (South Island Dairy Event).


The TDVC programme ends shortly, but the team behind the PitStops project believe the checkups are too important to end with it.

They have now turned to Fonterra's Farm Source network and the nation's nursing students to keep the project alive and sustainable beyond the life of the programme.

Southern Institute of Technology nursing educator Jess Domigan, who ran PitStops in Gore recently, said four year-two student nurses ran the health checks.

They spent a week in Invercargill and Gore Farm Source stores completing health checks, including blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI, social wellness and mental health.

''The feedback has been fairly positive,'' she said.

About 80 farmers in the region had taken part during the week, which was about raising awareness around health.

Gore dairy farmer Simon Vallely said he was not one to go to the doctor too often, so being able to pop in without an appointment and get a health check was great.

''It gives you a quick overview of everything and if you need to go [to the doctor], you can go.''

Southern Rural Life