Moving Day: MPI reminds farmers to register animals

Paeroa farmer Bart Van de Ven moving has also had to move his daughters' playhouse.
Paeroa farmer Bart Van de Ven moving has also had to move his daughters' playhouse. Photo credit: Supplied / Bart Van de Ven

With only a week until moving day, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is reminding farmers to register their animals for tracing purposes.

Marking the first day of winter on June 1, moving day is when dairy farmers from Kaitaia to Bluff move their herds to new pastures for winter grazing.

It is expected about two million animals will be moved this year.

MPI spokesperson Peter Hyde said it was important all animals were registered under the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) programme.

NAIT helps MPI respond quickly in case of a serious biosecurity outbreak, like Mycoplasma bovis.

MPI estimated 91 percent of animals were already registered but there were a few areas where farmers had not complied, Hyde said.

"Nine percent not registered is still too high for traceability systems to be effective. You really need high levels of compliance so we're actively trying to get towards 100 percent," he said.

"Unfortunately, last year we took compliance action on farmers that were persisting to move around unregistered stock, we had 13 successful prosecutions and we have another eight in the court system - so we do take it seriously."

Hyde said farmers should also brush up on their animal welfare obligations.

"Ideally, your cows will be dried off and it's important that you put them on hard feed silage, baleage or hay for a good four hours before the truck arrives to bind them up.

"You may also think about supplying extra calcium and magnesium if it's going to be a long transportation time, and also very important that if you have any compromised animals that you don't transport them."

Paeroa farmer Bart Van de Ven is moving 20 minutes up the road to Springdale.

Along with his wife and two daughters, they were going from being low order share-milkers to a 50-50 share-milking job.

He said it made things easier because they were not moving their herd.

"Years ago on moving day there would be cows everywhere but now there's more and more contracts where it stipulates that you buy the herd on the farm. And when you leave the property you're on, you sell the herd to the next farmer that comes in."

It had not made things less hectic for the Van de Vens who had already packed up most of their things.

"We're lucky the new boss has an empty garage that we have been able to move things into - so most of the house and plenty of the shed gear is already gone," he said.

"It's a big job, lots of trips in cars and trailers and a lot of community support, we've had friends and family coming over to give us a hand."

The family have even moved their daughters' playhouse.

Van de Ven said after three good seasons in Paeroa, he was excited to get into 50-50 share milking.

"We've done the move before so it feels pretty cruisy, it will be nice getting 50 percent of the milk cheque but in saying that we pay 50 percent of everything like cropping, feed inputs and all that sort of thing," he said.

"When we started 50-50 sharemilking about 12/13 years [ago], we went from a $7.90 to a $4.55 payout that was scary stuff, so this time around things should be easier."