Farm advice: Mooving Day and beyond


Moving Day, or Mooving Day as it’s sometimes termed, is an annual event on the dairy farming calendar falling on 1 June. This is the date that signals the start of the annual dairy season.

As a result, this is the date frequently used for settling the sale and purchase of dairy farms, the commencement or end of dairy farm staff employment, and contract milking or sharemilking contracts. Historically, the term ‘Gypsy Day’ was used as the descriptor of the day. These days, however, it has been acknowledged that this term is derogatory, and its usage has now faded in preference of Moving Day.

In this article, we outline what’s involved on Moving Day — both on the home front and on the farm.

The big move

On this day (or around 1 June), farmers, their possessions, farm equipment, and frequently their dairy cows, are physically shifted between farms. With rural New Zealand being predominantly agricultural, this can involve moves over long distances and sometimes between the North and South Islands. Occasionally, stock is shifted on foot for shorter distances, however, it more frequently involves convoys of vehicles, often heavy trucks and trailers.

Many aspects must be considered for Moving Day, including the practicality of arranging and shifting so many things on a single day. As a result, the days on either side of 1 June are frequently used and can extend the moving process to a week or more. Often, the King’s Birthday holiday also coincides with 1 June, so there’s likely to be increased traffic at this key time that can add delays to both farmers and holidaymakers.

What’s involved?

On one hand, Moving Day is the same as any house shift. The house has to be packed up and furniture and personal belongings have to be transported to their new home, schools changed, and there’s a new community to settle into.


For rural communities, however, Moving Day is much more than a change of home address.

For those who are providing accommodation for their employees, the requirements and safeguards of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 apply, even if the tenancy is on a farm. The employer (who’s also a landlord) must ensure that their tenants’ rights are maintained, including having a tenancy agreement in place. These requirements and protections have been markedly increased over recent years and familiarity with the new requirements is a must for those providing housing.

What’s also important is the requirement for rental homes to be warm and dry. Rental properties must meet all the requirements of the healthy home standards, including suitable heating, and vented cooking facilities and bathrooms.

Dairy farmers must think about preparing farm equipment and vehicles, and their stock for Moving Day. Planning for the movement of farm equipment and vehicles, that may not be road-legal or suitable to be driven on public roads, needs to be factored in. This involves ensuring safe transportation at a time when daylight is short, it’s frequently wet, and the roads are dark in rural areas, with heavy traffic.


Stock movements need to be planned with care; if stock is driven on foot, suitable safety precautions and warnings need to be in place. Animal health and biosecurity precautions must be planned and completed to ensure these issues are addressed. Farming is not only the dairy workers’ lifeline but also key to our country’s identity and international trade.

Farm sales

If you’re selling or buying farms, stock, and/or equipment, the task list seems endless.

Grass cover must be measured, and frequently shortfalls must be corrected through payment or the purchase and delivery of additional feed. Milking sheds and plant must be cleaned, inspected, and serviced, as do effluent holding ponds and irrigation systems. Wells, bores, pumps, and irrigation lines must be checked and any shortcomings addressed.

For those selling or buying stock, animal numbers, animal condition, animal health treatments, and veterinarian inspections must be completed. Movements of stock must be noted, and the transfers of ownership recorded.

Logistics must be decided for the stock leaving and arriving, the transporters, drivers, and stockyard availability. Any break in the transport chain can potentially affect those who are next in line to use the transport or driver.


As with any logistical undertaking, checklists planned out ahead of time will help the process. These can include items such as:



  • Packing and movers (be it family, friends helping, or using professionals), including temporary storage, if required, and considering the risk of rain when shifting belongings.
  • Temporary housing for pets, including securing them before the move starts.
  • Cleaning the house; don’t forget the oven.
  • Locating all keys for house and farm properties and ensuring they are clean and in good repair. Identifying and notifying any issues.
  • Completing final inspections, including bond release forms if applicable. Completing new rental agreements and recording initial inspections.
  • Final reading for power and internet, disconnecting, or new connections, redirecting mail, phone connections, and forwarding addresses.
  • Provisions for cleaning a new house if it has not been left to a suitable standard.
  • New schools, doctors, dentists, and vets.
  • Updating and transferring insurance policies and records.
  • Ceasing employment and final pays and holiday leave entitlements, returning farm equipment and vehicles.



  • Outgoing and incoming owners or milkers’ final inspections of the sheds, systems, winter feed, tracks, and pastures.
  • Clean, disinfect and maintain farm equipment and plant, to ensure it’s operational and key components have not been inadvertently packed.
  • Ensure all NAIT stock records are up to date and stock record transfers are in place.
  • Ensure winter feed, sheds, and effluent systems are stock-proof and secured. It may take time before the incoming farmers can fully check and locate all systems.
  • Ensure all trucking or delivery companies and drivers have clear instructions and details of where and what to load or unload, including which roads or access tracks to use or not.

Look after yourselves

Acknowledge that any house move, be it personal or farming, is stressful and complex. Try to ensure that you look after yourself and those around you during the process. Also, if you see anyone on the move, give them some space — literally and figuratively. The chances are they are sleep-deprived and stressed. We’re all in this together.

John Sheddan

John Sheddan is a director of Gore law firm, Sheddan Pritchard Law Ltd. He specialises in rural and commercial issues involving rural and residential property sales, business sales, leases, and subdivisions.
Sheddan Pritchard Law Ltd is a member of NZ LAW Limited, an association of 59 independent law firms practising in more than 100 locations.
Information given in this column should not be a substitute for legal advice.

Images supplied by Adobe Stock

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