Member Advisory

COVID-19: 29 April 2020


To: All members of Federated Farmers
We appreciate the ongoing support of our 13,000 members. Remember we are funded from a voluntary membership so please join if you are not a member and encourage your friends and neighbours to join if you are.

We are updating our website as new information comes to light so please click COVID-19 Updates on our web page.

As New Zealand settles into life at Level 3, Federated Farmers continues to work on a number of fronts including immigration, Moving Day, employment, work on the large-scale adverse drought event and developing our thinking for on-the-ground Government-funded initiatives that will deliver immediate employment benefits and lasting environmental and economic benefits.

Federated Farmers continues to work with DairyNZ, FMG and Fonterra to develop guidelines to help farmers with their big move on Moving Day. Remember to secure the contractors you need for the move, including cleaners, removal companies and that important ferry crossing if you are shifting islands. We understand that there will be only one Cook Strait sailing (between both operators) per day so make sure you secure space.

If you need to move a dog or cat by itself, I can recommend VenturePet, who did an excellent job of shifting our new pup last night.

Table of contents:

  1. Feed and planning for the winter months ahead - Please call for free advice
  2. Two week weather outlook from Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ)
  3. Facilitating Moving Day in the Dairy Sector, cover letter to MPI
  4. MPI Guidance for Businesses: Operating under the Animal Products Act during Level 3
  5.  COVID-19 Level 3 Outdoor Recreation Guidance

1. Feed and planning for the winter months ahead - Please call for free advice

The latest feed survey from MPI has made it very clear that baleage and hay are in incredibly short supply. On top of this, many areas are still experiencing lower than average pasture covers, with available pasture ranging from 28.5% to 85% less than normal for this time of year.

The Feed Working Group (consisting of Federated Farmers, AgFirst, MPI, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb) is looking ahead to winter and the scenarios we could see playing out. Even with a good winter and strong spring, there is a huge feed deficit facing a lot of farmers.

As feed is being fed to unplanned stock on hand due to the processing backlogs and sales closures, it is critical that farmers reach out for to talk to someone now to get a second set of eyes over your situation. Farmers who have been using the Free Feed Planning and Management 0800 service have all been so grateful for that additional support the consultants have been able to give them to either start making a plan or to help them make tweaks to their existing one. It’s a free phone service where you can talk to experienced consultants who understanding farming and know how to help farmers.

Farmers - especially in Southland, Northland and Hawkes Bay, where seasons have been especially tough with little improvement expected in the coming month - need to reach out as soon as they can.

Please call either 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 4 324 7969) or 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352). They will put you in touch with a consultant who can help you with your plan and provide you support with the management issues you are battling with.


2. Two week weather outlook from Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ)

Predictive Services and NIWA have issued a weather forecast for events that may be of importance to us in the coming week. The forecast is a relatively settled week ahead with a chance of strong winds for many districts toward the end of the week. To find out where and when, please refer here.

You can find on our website (see under 'Helpful Links', bottom of the web page) the 6-day rainfall accumulation forecast: good falls for some western areas of the country but little for the east. From the current soil moisture deficit map not a lot of change from last week, with Auckland, Northland and Hawkes Bay still very dry, North Canterbury showing some moisture deficit. Looking ahead to next week, the settled weather is expected to continue.

Note: you can track conditions but also get daily site forecast at

For information around any weather warnings issues refer here.

3. Facilitating Moving Day in the Dairy Sector, cover letter to MPI

Earlier this month the Moving Day Working Group consisting of representatives from Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Farmers Mutual Group (FMG) and Fonterra met to identify problems and potential solutions associated with the movement of people, goods and livestock on Moving Day/Gypsy Day. The Moving Day Working Group submitted a report to MPI for consideration, which highlighted problems and solutions. You can read the cover letter which was submitted with the report here (see under 'Moving Week' heading).

The Moving Day Working Group continues to meet to develop guidance on how farmers can successfully move under Level 3 and we expect this material will be available at the beginning of May. Please check DairyNZ’s website for answers to some commonly asked questions.


4. MPI Guidance for Businesses: Operating under the Animal Products Act during Level 3

Under COVID-19 Alert Level 3, many more businesses will be able to get back to making and selling animal products. In order to help the planning and decision making, MPI has developed an easy way for businesses to meet their requirements so they can get up and running under Alert Level 3. MPI will provide further details on operating at Alert Level 2 when (or hopefully before) New Zealand moves to this level.

MPI has also waived the fees that would normally apply to registering a change in scope to animal product operations. This covers all food businesses operating under the Animal Products Act 1999, including egg producers, poultry, dual operator butchers and dairy processors.

Further information go to our website, and refer to the information sheet under Questions & Answers.

5. COVID-19 Level 3 Outdoor Recreation Guidance

The Mountain Safety Council has released an interactive website that outlines what recreational activities are allowed under the different COVID-19 Alert Levels. This is being updated to reflect the current Alert Level status and will incorporate any new guidance information released by the Government. If friends or family are wanting to come out to the farm to go for a walk, horse ride, fish or hunt, this explains how far they can travel and has some handy tips around managing risk areas like opening gates.

To find out what recreational activities are currently allowed in your region click here.


Gavin Forrest
GM Policy & Advocacy
Federated Farmers of NZ