31 May 2013

Dairy herds on the move as new season starts

1:35 pm on 31 May 2013

Herds of cows will be on the move at the official start of the 2013/14 dairy season this weekend.

Gypsy Day, on 1 June, is traditionally when cattle are moved between farms as sharemilkers start new contracts on different properties.

Dairy NZ animal husbandry team leader Dr Nita Harding says most are moved by truck but some will be herded along the road between farms, so both farmers and motorists need to be careful

Dr Harding says farmers must make sure the animals are healthy enough to withstand the journey, and cows should be stood off green feed for 24 hours before being moved to reduce the amount of effluent in trucks and on the roads.

During the stand off period they must have water and should be fed hay, she says. Cows being shifted should also be fed magnesium supplements, as their magnesium levels will drop due the stress of being moved.

The cattle will also need NAIT identification tags.