Coronavirus: Top tips for Moving Day under alert level 2

It's estimated that around 5000 dairy farm households will be involved.
It's estimated that around 5000 dairy farm households will be involved.

In the farming world, Moving Day is a significant event.

The start of the dairy season sees thousands of people move to new farms to start employment and milking contracts. 

For those involved the day is already complicated enough, but throw COVID-19 and a number of health and safety regulations into the mix too and it becomes even more challenging.

It's estimated that around 5000 dairy farm households will be involved in the move, which takes place from June 1. 

Farm owners, sharemilkers, managers, employees and their families will all shift properties for new jobs. And it's not just people who will be moving; in many cases cows and equipment will also be coming along for the ride.

To take the pressure off as much as possible and make things just a little bit easier, DairyNZ has issued a number of recommendations to farmers.

"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," says Jane Muir, DairyNZ people team leader.

"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."

Top tips for Moving Day

Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them

Make a plan for Moving Day, covering how people, stock and machinery will be moved.

Figure out beforehand who will be needed during the move - this includes people already on the farm and those arriving.

Family and friends are allowed to participate but all those involved should be kept to a minimum. Physical distancing of one metre is also required.

Prepare early

The more prepared you are the smoother the move will be.

And it's not just your new workplace you need to think about, it's important to leave the farm you are leaving clean and disinfected to manage health and biosecurity risks. This includes vehicles and machinery too.

Remember that everything can take longer and be more complicated with COVID-19 restrictions so allow time for this too.

Don't forget the admin

Although COVID-19 doesn't affect admin much, there is still plenty to be done on this front.

As well as updating critical on-farm records it's also important to understand any new resource consent requirements on a new property you are moving to.

You should also update farm policies and procedures on new properties. Some important ones to complete early on are: emergency plan; farm rules; map of the farm identifying risks or no-go zones; a list of risks and how you will manage them; and a maintenance register.

Contractor coordination forms should also be updated.

If you don't have good policies in place already DairyNZ suggests asking other farmers for ideas and possibly copies of their own documents to help you out.

To see all the recommendations from DairyNZ click here.