Quiet ‘Gypsy Day’ expected
Councils and farming organisations are warning motorists to be careful on rural roads as stock is moved for wintering.
June 1 is also ‘‘Gypsy Day’’ or ‘‘Moving Day’’ for the dairy industry, the time of the year – between May 31 and June 1 – when sharemilkers move to another farm with their cows. Some cows travel by truck, while others walk.
Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury dairy chairman Nathan Currie said Gypsy Day should be a quiet affair as people in the area were ‘‘reasonably settled’’.
‘‘There’s not a lot of 50/50 [sharemilking] jobs like the old days. It’s not as commonplace as it once was.’’
Currie floated the idea of moving Gypsy Day from June 1 to mid-June to help take some of the pressure off dairy farmers and their families.
‘‘A lot of people are still milking at the end of May, and it puts a lot of pressure on them to move on June 1. I’m keen to see if there’s any appetite to shift Gypsy Day to the middle of June.’’
Federated Farmers North Canterbury (which includes Selwyn) dairy chairman Michael Woodward said there were very few 50/50 sharemilkers in Canterbury as the region favoured large scale farms.
He too noted few movements around Gypsy Day over the past few years, a trend which he expected to remain.
‘‘Gypsy Day is still alive and well in the North Island. It’s always going to be a part of the dairy industry.
‘‘With the larger scale farms in Canterbury, you just don’t get those sharemilker roles changing as much as they do up north.’’
The Selwyn District Council says any stock moved on state highways will need a consent from the NZ Transport Agency. Council consent is needed for roads with a 70km speed limit and other high volume roads. Cattle must be moved in mobs smaller than 400 on roads in Selwyn.
A pilot vehicle is required at the front and rear of stock at all times to avoid a crash.
To check the rules visit www.selwyn.govt.nz/stock. For Ashburton rules, look up the transportation and parking management bylaw on the Ashburton District Council’s website.
Anyone with feedback about whether Gypsy Day should be moved can contact Nathan Currie on 0272956516.
500 dairy cows are moved along Thompsons Track and Somerton Rd, near Rakaia, as part of Gypsy Day in 2015.