Cows on the move for Gypsy Day

by Anonymous Author

Hundreds of cows will be on the move this month for the start of the new dairy season, also known as Gypsy Week.

Gypsy Week marks the changeover of the dairy seasons when farms change ownership and families move entire households, farm equipment and cattle to a new property. Cows can be moved around Gypsy Day or from May to July as they are moved on to winter feed. 

Care should be taken when driving on rural roads in Selwyn over winter as many cows will be moving between farms if it’s a short distance, or shifted in trucks if they need to travel further.

Motorists also need to be patient. When approaching a mob of animals being moved on the road, motorists need to slow down and assess whether they can wait for the mob to reach their destination, or quietly move through the mob if it is safe to do so. Drivers should not sound the car’s horn as it may cause the animals to panic and behave unpredictably.

Farmers who are droving their stock will need consent from the New Zealand Transport Agency to move cattle along State Highways, and council consent for roads with a 70km/h speed limit and other high volume roads. Cattle must be moved in mobs smaller than 400 on roads in Selwyn.

It is highly recommended that drovers wear high-visibility garments to ensure they are clearly visible from 150 metres. They should use flashing lights and temporary warning signs.

Gypsy Day tips for farmers

  • Plan ahead — choose the most direct route to move cattle and only cross or follow the road if it is necessary. Move stock in the daytime and avoid peak driving times. Keep the stock off well-maintained verges. If you need consent from the council for the move, apply for one at least two working days in advance. Consent applications can be made online
  • Be particularly cautious when moving stock on roads with bends. Signs or a pilot vehicle will be needed around the corner to warn motorists of the stock ahead to avoid a crash.
  • If moving machinery drive slowly and, if necessary, have a pilot vehicle to warn other drivers of the wide vehicle following.