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Dairy Farming Gypsy Day, New Zealand

Sunday, 24 May 2015 at 12:02pm

New Zealand Dairy Farming Gypsy Day. Waibury blog.


June 1st is a big day in the New Zealand dairy farm calendar.  This is what is traditionally known as ‘Gypsy Day’, and as the new dairy season starts farms are bought and sold and thousands of sharemilkers will be making their move to a new farm along with their cows and dairy farm equipment, and their families and household possessions.

This day is huge not only for farmers but also for rural schools and communities, with some schools losing students to another district while welcoming new pupils into classrooms.  Lawyers are also kept busy with legal documents for farm transfers, new sharemilking contracts, legal advice etc.

On the roads it can be an interesting sight, with hundreds of cows being led down the road to their new residence.  Farmers now require local council permits and must wear high visibility clothing so motorists can see them.  Motorists are asked to not use car horns as this can scare the stock, and to be patient about delays.

Gypsy Day has seen a few changes in recent years, especially as the industry cleans up its act with stock effluent.  To aid with this Federated Farmers give the following advice to farmers when moving stock on the road:

  • Make sure cows are fit and healthy.  Body conditions score must be at least 3.0.
  • Stand all cows off green feed for a minimum of four hours and up to 12 hours to empty themselves.  Feed these cows straw or hay with free access to water.


Cows are also moved by stock transport if the farmer is shifting a long way.