Moving Day to go ahead despite Canterbury flooding

Despite catastrophic flooding across Canterbury, Moving Day will continue as usual this year, says Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury president David Clark.

The annual fixture of Moving Day takes place on June 1, as the new dairy season begins.

Around 5000 farmers will pack up and move to new farms as employees begin new contracts for the upcoming season.

Clark says even in the face of the extreme weather event Canterbury faced over the weekend, Moving Day must go ahead as usual this year.

"It's not something that can be paused," Clark told The AM Show on Tuesday.

He said despite the name, Moving Day "is not necessarily a single-day event".

"It's something that leads up to the end of the dairy season, share milking staff move to new properties, new jobs and also at the end of the dairy season, particularly in the South Island, a lot of herds move off the dairy platform onto winter grazing blocks, and they have to be walked or trucked to that," he said.

"It's not necessarily a day as such where it's ready, steady go at 8am this morning - it's a process that runs over several days after June 1. But it's not something that will be delayed."

He said many farm workers who were moving house over the weekend may have been particularly affected by the wild weather.

"They might have finished their last job on Friday afternoon, before this weekend, and then were moving over this weekend ready to start a new job this morning.

"What a mongrel weekend to be shifting house."

Despite the hardship, Clark said the response among the farming community to pull together had been amazing.

It could have been worse

Although on some particular farms, mainly those close to rivers, there were a number of stock losses, Clark says in general losses were not too bad.

"It was well forecast this event, even though the event ended up bigger than the forecast that we saw last week, stock losses have been minimal across the district as a whole," he said.

"If we keep it in context, it's the end of May and in Canterbury we could have just have easily got this quantity of water in the form of snow, and if that had occurred we would have ended up with snow across the plains a metre, a metre-and-a-half deep up through the foothills and there would have been thousands and thousands of animals lost.

"So we probably dodged a little bit of a bullet there."