The big shift: Moving day advice for farmers

12 May 2020

As an estimated 5000 dairy farm households New Zealand-wide prepare to move for the new dairy season, from June 1, information is available to help make this year’s shift during COVID-19 safe and easier.

DairyNZ people team leader Jane Muir says the annual move sees farm owners, sharemilkers, managers, employees and their families shift properties for new jobs as they progress their dairy careers. For many involved, their cows and farm equipment move too.

The move, known as Moving Day or Moving Week, faces additional challenges this year due to COVID-19 – additional planning, hygiene procedures and contingency steps are required to protect health and safety.

“Farmers are incredibly resourceful and adaptable, and we know they will rise to the challenge to carry out successful, safe moves and have a good start to the new dairy season,” said Ms Muir.

“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.”

Moving Day guidelines and templates are now available on the DairyNZ website. The information is designed to help make the move seamless and help farmers understand requirements in both a COVID-19 and pre-COVID-19 world. 

“Pulling together this package of user-friendly resources has been a fantastic collaborative effort with input from DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, Fonterra and FMG,” said Ms Muir. “We are all working together to support farmers who are doing such a tremendous job providing essential dairy nutrition to New Zealanders and export markets.”

The guidelines encourage farmers to share their Moving Day plans with everyone involved in helping move, to help ensure the move goes as smoothly as possible.

“Based on the government information to date, gatherings will be limited to 10 people on Moving Day so the numbers of friends and family who  can assist will be limited and physical distancing should still be managed appropriately,” Ms Muir said.

Due to COVID-19, records must be kept of everyone helping during the move, to support contact tracing if someone gets sick.

Everyone involved in Moving Day should carry a letter from the farmer authorising their involvement. Surfaces that are frequently touched should be regularly cleaned with disinfectant during the move, and the house and dairy shed need to be thoroughly cleaned.

The guidelines also include advice on preparing and transporting stock. For both COVID-19 and biosecurity reasons it is recommended cows are not milked during their journey, so drying off cows prior to transport is encouraged.

The Moving Day resources include:

  • Guidelines: covering planning and movement of people, animals, equipment and household items. There is also guidance on managing contractors, and administration and regulatory requirements in the current COVID-19 environment. 
  • Templates: including 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). There is also a Moving Day Movement Declaration, where employers authorise employees to travel when helping with Moving Day.
  • Q&A: 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. The Q&A explain the guidelines for farmers moving from the North Island to South Island.

The Moving Day Guidelines, Templates and Q&A are available at

For more information, support or to talk to a DairyNZ consulting officer, farmers can contact DairyNZ by phone 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969) or email

Media inquiries:

Vanessa Fever

Senior Media Manager

Phone 027 836 6295

Ali Tocker

Media Advisor

Phone 027 211 2159

Photo usage: If you require high-resolution versions of photos featured in this article, please contact