Transporting dairy stock safely needs to play a major part in farmers' Gypsy Day move, says DairyNZ.
Gypsy Day starts today when dairy farms change ownership, sharemilkers take new contracts and herds of cows hit the road for winter grazing.
DairyNZ animal husbandry and welfare team manager Chris Leach said a good plan ensured stock would arrive at their destination fit and well for the winter.
"A cow's diet is a good place to start - provide magnesium for three to four days either side of transport. If going onto different feed, cows need a feed transition plan.
"Gradually ease them onto new feed over a week to 10 days prior to transport.
"If feeding crops over winter, allocate one to two hours of crop each day on the milking platform, while grazing pasture or feeding silage. This will help minimise the effects of a sudden change in diet."
Animals must be fit, healthy and able to bear weight on all four legs when being moved and farmers should talk to their vet if they had any concerns.
Leach said a good plan and a team member skilled in transporting stock was key to ensuring Gypsy Day ran smoothly, and cows arrived in good condition at their destination.
"Cows should have access to good quality hay, baleage or dry feed and water," he said.
Southern police and regional authorities are reminding farmers and motorists to take care during the Gypsy Day migration.
Federated Farmers sharemilkers' section chairman Neil Filer said stock trucks would be "flat out" transporting thousands of cows and young stock or they would be moved on the road if a new property was nearby.
He said farmers moving stock on roads should get permits from local councils and wear helmets and high visibility clothing if teams were operating quads and bikes. Fairfax NZ
- The Press