Coronavirus: What COVID-19 level 3 means for agriculture sector

MPI has been working with key sector groups on guidelines for Alert Level 3.
MPI has been working with key sector groups on guidelines for Alert Level 3. Photo credit: Getty

A move to a COVID-19 alert level 3 will mean all primary sector businesses are able to operate if they can do safely, says the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The Prime Minister has announced New Zealand will move from COVID-19 alert level 4 to alert level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday April 27th.

Primary industries and those who supply them were deemed an essential service under the level 4 restrictions, however have had to follow strict rules to stop the spread of the virus.

MPI has released details for agriculture businesses which are able to resume operations under level 3 and said it would provide further guidance soon.

Scroll down for the latest information and updates.

Businesses that can operate in alert level 3 include: 

  • primary sector businesses that provided essential goods and services during alert level 4
  • forestry including harvesting, wood processing, and forestry sales and exports
  • floriculture including bulb and seed growing, harvesting, processing, and sales and exports
  • wool and fibre industries including handling, shearing, scouring, and sales and exports
  • farm gate and cellar door sales - for delivery or contactless pick up only

Primary sector support services:

Businesses providing support services to the primary sector can operate at alert level 3 if they can operate safely.

Examples of these types of support services and activities include:

  • Farriers
  • Cattle yard installers
  • Suppliers of sphagnum moss for use in water treatment
  • Pest management operators (including vector control)
  • Fencers
  • Farm advisors
  • Research and science services
  • Biosecurity readiness, response, recovery and pest management activities
  • Wholesalers
  • Firewood suppliers
  • Timber manufacturers and suppliers
  • Farm property sales agents
  • Relocation to new farm properties
  • Construction of farm sheds, barns and herd homes
  • Routine plant, farm and gear maintenance
  • Manufacture, distribution and application of agricultural input products
  • Production and installation of frost protection fans
  • Livestock and wool sales and auctions - these must be held online where possible
  • Agricultural supply stores - for delivery or contactless pick up only
  • Pet stores - for delivery or contactless pick up only

Stock sales and auctions:

Stock sales and wool auctions are permitted, but the public must not attend. They should be run online where possible.


Retail businesses can operate, as long as they can offer contactless delivery or pre-arranged collection. 

This includes: 

  • agricultural supply stores 
  • pet stores 
  • butcher shops, bakeries and greengrocers 
  • restaurants, cafes and takeaways  
  • cellar doors

MPI said business owners should also seek advice from their key sector groups (such as DairyNZ, Beef and Lamb NZ, Horticulture New Zealand), their co-op, and Federated Farmers. 

Check back for updates.