Moving day


5 min read

Set up for success Farm owner Sharemilker / contract milker Contract obligations Stocktake Farm equipment and machinery Communicate with contractors Moving animals Additional resources

Moving Day is a big day in the farming calendar and requires good planning and communication to ensure success. For some, Moving Day not only involves shifting a household of belongings, but it also involves relocating farm equipment and animals. Early preparation is important, as is clear communication with your team, whether they are contractors, friends, or family, regarding your plans and expectations. Careful consideration must be given to animal movements, and all farm equipment and machinery should leave the farm in a clean and disinfected state to manage health and biosecurity risks.

Set up for success

Ensure sharemilker / contract milker contracts are signed by both parties and a farm inspection with new farm owner, incoming and outgoing sharemilkers, farm manager, farm advisor has been planned.

Determine your staffing needs for your new farm, start recruiting for required staff and ensure signed employment agreements are in place, alongside signed service tenancy agreements for any employees who will live on farm.

Ensure anyone coming onto the farm hasn’t been overseas in the past 7 days to reduce the risk of introducing exotic organisms, especially if they have been travelling to countries with foot and mouth disease (FMD) and have been in contact with FMD-susceptible animals (e.g. farmed or wild cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, deer, llamas, alpacas).

Communicate regularly with the people on your existing farm and the people who will be on your new farm about your plans - dates, key information etc. Ensure staff have enough time to be prepared, pack and clean in the weeks leading up to moving. If necessary, adjust rosters and hours of work.

Get in touch with your insurer well before the move - there might be more things to discuss than you think. It’s a good idea to know the physical address, building details, any plant or machinery details, and the details of your sharemilking or contract milking agreement if applicable.

Contact your utility providers (e.g. power, internet, etc) and ensure you will be disconnected and reconnected on the right dates. Take and record final power meter readings for all houses at both properties.

Farm owner responsibilities

A farm owner is responsible for:

  • Ensuring employees leave houses clean and tidy. Complete a house/s inspection for any maintenance required on current farm by end of April and arrange for any repairs and upgrades required. Check you comply with healthy home standards.
  • Completing a final house inspection with existing tenant (sharemilker and/or employees) as soon as house/s are vacant.
  • Consider whether drug testing of house/s will be required.
  • Confirm with departing and new tenants their departure and arrival times so there is no cross over between parties.
  • Check with your insurer what obligations you have in terms of inspections and what, if any, impact this could have on your insurance cover.

Sharemilker / Contract milker responsibilities

Sharemilker and contract milkers are responsible for:

  • Ensuring that their own house and their employees house/s have been left in a clean and tidy state to the standards agreed in the contract.
  • Consider whether drug testing of house/s will be required. If yes, arrange contractors and discuss with farm owner.
  • Completing house/s inspection with employees and then farm owner as soon as house/s are vacant, and complete house/s inspection prior to moving in on new farm.
  • Immediately discuss any issues with farm owner, agree a plan and document this.

Contract obligations

Ensure all body condition score (BCS), pasture cover targets or supplements on hand will be met as per the contract on takeover date. If they are not going to be met, have a proactive conversation with the other party as to what arrangement can be made to compensate:

  • Obtain third-party advice if required to reach an agreement.
  • Contract third-party to measure surplus/deficit feed inventory and quantify if required.
  • Refer to your contract which should clearly show the exact amount of feed required on hand as well as the process to follow if the actual feed inventory is different to this.
  • Ensure calves are fully weaned and are getting their daily requirements through grazing pasture prior to moving them off-farm.
  • Winter and heifer grazing contracts should clearly set out the roles and responsibilities of the animal owner and the grazier, including weight targets, feed management, animal health and transport.

Understand new resource consent management requirements of new property (e.g. recording monthly water use, completing compliance forms for environment).

Finalise and/or update rural supplier accounts (e.g. Farm Source, Farmlands, PGG).

Update farm policies and procedures for new farm. Ones that are especially important to complete early are:

  • Emergency plan
  • Farm rules
  • Map of the farm identifying risk and no-go or limited-go zones
  • Risk assessment – what are the key risks and how will you manage them
  • How your farm team will communicate, including about health, safety and wellbeing
  • Maintenance register


  • Record a stocktake of plant, machinery and supplies you have on your farm currently if relevant, note if any maintenance is required and arrange for that to be done. Determine what equipment and supplies you will need to complete your new contract.
  • Plan a timeframe for purchases of those things you will need that you don’t currently have and arrange for them to be delivered to your new address.
  • Keep a record of these for insurance purposes and ensure higher-value items are specified on your policy.

Farm equipment and machinery

  • Clean and disinfect vehicles and machinery thoroughly to reduce the risk of spreading diseases, pests, and weeds.
  • Clean, and then disinfect, any equipment that is used in or on animals, for example drenching equipment.
  • Fix any maintenance issues that are your responsibility. If they are not your responsibility then ensure whoever it is knows what needs to be done, in writing.
  • Ensure effluent infrastructure is left as you found it, and/or is left according to your contractual obligations (e.g. effluent pond is required to be no more than one quarter full of effluent as at 1 June). If this is unlikely to be achieved, have a proactive conversation with appropriate parties.
  • Clean the sheds and plant appropriately. Clean the dairy shed to a high standard of cleanliness. This means all surfaces, vats, pipelines etc. Use only approved products.

Communicate with Contractors

  • Ensure you have clarified what it is you need / want the contractor to do. Make it clear where they will be going / working and advise them of anything they wouldn’t expect that would be a risk to them.
  • Let them know of other activity on farm that could pose a risk to them. Advise them of farm rules (e.g. speed limits) and expectations of behaviour and of any relevant emergency procedures.
  • Make sure you have agreed your costs and have a written document of expectations. It is helpful for both parties to have an electronic copy and mark-up of a farm map.

Moving animals

If you're selling the herd, moving farms, or sending your stock to grazing, take time to plan their movement in advance and confirm the exact number of cattle you need to transport.

  • Dry off as many cows as possible and do this with sufficient time to ensure they are properly dried off on the day of transport.
  • Check that the farm loading ramp and holding yards are in good order with no obstacles that could harm cattle or people during loading. Confirm this will also be true for unloading.
  • Ensure your NAIT records are up to date, all animals are tagged, and you’re completing all NAIT actions within the required timelines. Find out about your NAIT obligations.
  • Confirm the health status of any animals that will be mixing with your animals on the new farm, and if necessary, make arrangements for testing, vaccinations etc. Keeping new animals separate for 7-14 days reduces the risk of introducing unwanted diseases. See the DairyNZ pre-purchase checklist for guidance.
  • Check there are no biosecurity restrictions or requirements on the new farm, for example as a result of M bovis or Tb control.
  • Contact your insurer to confirm you have appropriate livestock transit cover in place before you move.
  • If you will be droving, try to find out from local farmers if they will also be droving and plan together how you will avoid each other.

Find out more about transporting stock

Last updated: Apr 2024

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