Today is Friday June 1st. For most of us this year it’s the day before Queens Birthday – the last opportunity to enjoy a long weekend for over four months. But for the country’s dairy farmers, 1st June is gypsy day – the day every year when any dairy herds which are shifting prior to the next milking season change locations.
Whether the herd is moving down the road on foot to a neighbouring farm, or across the Cook Strait on a truck to the other end of the country, this year the transition will be a little more fraught than usual, with the threat of micoplasma bovis hanging over the entire industry – and therefore the whole country.
At around 37% of our total exports, farming is still by far our greatest export industry – which makes it a major contributor to our way of life. So even the most urbanised city-dweller is affected by the state of our farms – undoubtedly among the most efficient and productive in the world.
So if you are a ‘townie’, spare a thought for your rural kiwi brethren while you’re putting your feet up this weekend – for many of them it will still be business as usual. And if you’re a farmer, particularly one in the beef or dairy industry, know that the rest of New Zealand are thinking of you and wish you all the best.