29 May 2020
The Weekend of Gypsies and Queens
This Monday is 1st June. As it’s also Queen’s Birthday, and our first long weekend outside of lockdown, many of us will be taking advantage of this to enjoy some time away from home for the first time in months.
For the country’s dairy farmers, 1st June is Gypsy Day, which is the day every year, when any dairy herds shifting before the next milking season, change location. 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, it’s a major undertaking.
Two years ago, the process was made even more fraught than usual, with the threat of Mycoplasma bovis hanging over the entire industry. This year our nation’s farmers, along with the rest of us, have a totally different threat to contend with.
At well over 30% of our total exports, farming is still by far our greatest export industry and, in the absence of an international tourism industry, this year it is even more important to our way of life than ever. This means that even the most urbanised city-dweller is affected by the state of our farms – undoubtedly amongst 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 as for many of them it will still be business as usual.
If you’re a farmer with a herd on the move, all the very best for a smooth and incident-free Gypsy Day.