Managing risks during big annual stock shift



Recent finds of myrtle rust and the pest plant velvetleaf in the Waikato region underline why it’s crucial for farmers to take precautions as they move stock and equipment at this time of year.

Moving Day occurs in the week leading up to and immediately following 1 June each year. It involves the mass transporting of cows and machinery around the country’s roads as farm contractors relocate themselves and their stock in time for the new season.

“Biosecurity starts at the farm gate,” says Waikato Regional Council’s pest plants team leader Darion Embling.

“It’s clear that farmers and contractors have an important role to play in preventing the spread of pest plants through good on farm biosecurity practices.”

He said machinery hygiene is especially important with Moving Day coming up and the movement of stock, machines and vehicles between farms at this time.

“To help stop the spread of dangerous weeds and animal pests, as well as disease, it’s important to ensure vehicles, machinery and equipment is cleaned before making shifts. Machinery should be cleaned so no visible soil or plant matter remains which might spread pests or weeds

“Taking precautions like this on the plant pest front helps ensure agriculture stays healthy in our region.”

Last year it was confirmed that unclean machinery generally had been linked to the spread of velvetleaf in the region.

Meanwhile, to help avoid stock effluent ending up on the road during shifts, it’s also recommended that farmers stand their stock off green pasture for a minimum of four hours with water before transporting.

Other tips include:

  • confirm stock pick-up times in advance to eliminate confusion
  • move stock close to the loading ramp the day before, when possible
  • use dry feed before transport because it results in less effluent
  • if possible quarantine stock for 24 hours before moving and on arrival.

More information is available at or call 0800 800 401 for advice.


Farmers wishing to drove stock along Matamata-Piako roads are required to obtain a permit from the Council prior to moving stock.

A permit application can be downloaded from our website (scroll down the screen to ‘Stock Movement Application’) and returned by email, conventional mail or by hand to any of the Council offices.

The permit is free, but the farmer must have public liability insurance of at least $2,000,000.00.

Effluent left on the road from the cattle must be cleaned up as this can cause the road to deteriorate, and all stock droving must be completed during daylight hours. There is also a maximum of 600 cattle that can be moved in a
single drove.

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