Member Advisory

Bringing cows home from grazing? Sending bobbies to the works?

July 27, 2018

Transporting pregnant cows

New Regulations cover the transport of pregnant cows.
The implication is that, if you transport a cow in late pregnancy that gives birth during transport or within 24 hours of arriving at a slaughter premise or saleyard, and you don’t have a vet certificate allowing for the cow to travel, then you will be liable for a fine of $500.
Most of you will be bringing cows back to the milking platform. Please make sure you bring the cows home in plenty of time for them to give birth after they arrive home, or leave them at the run-off until they do give birth and then bring mother and calf back, together.
Check Regulation 41 on transporting animals in late pregnancy here.
Make sure, also, that they are fit to transport – able to stand on all 4 legs and no signs of ill health or injury. If not, get a vet certificate.
If within 4 weeks of calving date, travel should be less than 2 hours.
Cows travel better when prepared for the journey:
  • Stand all cows off green feed prior to transport for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 12 hours, to empty themselves on your farm and not on the road or on the truck.
  • Feed these cows straw, hay or baleage, with free access to water, during this stand-off time.
  • Find out what time the truck should arrive so you can plan your stand-off period
  • Supplement pregnant cows with 12 – 20gm of magnesium per cow, on the day of transport.
  • Talk to your transporter about what will be done about the effluent in the holding tank at the end of the journey
  • If the cows are walking to the new farm, let those farmers along the way know in advance so that you can both manage biosecurity risks
  • Wanting the truck to be ‘clean on, clean off’ for biosecurity purposes? Provide water and hoses for the transport operator to use, in a place where you can manage the washdown.
More tips from DairyNZ can be found here.
Remember your NAIT obligations – all movements must be recorded.

Shelter for bobby calves

All of you will have facilities to allow the bobby calves to walk onto the truck unaided, because this regulation came in last spring.
All of you will also have built a shelter for these calves. Please check that this really does protect your calves as they will be rejected by the transporter if they are wet and cold.
Thank you for looking after your animals. Looking after them is a team effort. Make sure your team knows the rules by sharing this email with them.