Cows on the ‘moo-ve’ - drive with extra care Canterbury and West Coast roads


The NZ Transport Agency is asking drivers to be extra careful, and farmers to make safety a top priority, as New Zealand’s annual dairy cow migration gets underway.

Sharemilkers relocate themselves and their stock to new farms on or about June 1 each year. While a lot of stock is moved in trucks, many will be herded along roads.

Transport Agency Journey Manager Lee Wright says motorists travelling throughout the Canterbury and West Coast regions should drive with extra care and watch for livestock on roads ahead of the annual movement.

“If you come across a herd on the road, please be patient and don’t beep your horn as this could frighten animals and lead to a longer delay,” Ms Wright says.

Farmers droving their stock will need consent from the Transport Agency to move animals along or across State Highways. This permission comes from the Road Corridor Manager, generally managed by a Corridor Access Request and Work Activity Permit. A temporary Traffic Management Plan is also required.

This is designed to help protect everyone on the road, the stock and the road itself.

“We're keen to assist farmers or sharemilkers to move their stock safely and with minimal disruption to road users,” Ms Wright says.

Tips for people moving stock:

  • Plan ahead – use the most direct route to move stock and only cross or follow the road if it is necessary. Move stock during daylight hours and avoid doing this at peak morning and afternoon travel times. Keep stock off well maintained road verges.
  • If you are moving stock on a local road or a highway, you need a Corridor Access Request/ Work Access Permit and a traffic management plan.
  • Those involved in driving stock must wear high visibility clothing to ensure they can be clearly seen by road users, warning signs should be used and flashing amber beacon lights activated on vehicles that are part of the droving operation.
  • Particular care is needed when moving stock on roads with bends. Signs or a pilot vehicle with a flashing amber beacon will be needed around the corner, to warn motorists of stock ahead.
  • If moving machinery drive slowly and, if necessary, have a pilot vehicle to warn road users of the wide vehicle following.
  • Know your legal obligations around driving livestock along or across a road.

For the Mid Canterbury and South Canterbury areas please contact the state highway Corridor Manager email:

For the West Coast:

For North Canterbury:

Inland Route 70, Waiau to Kaikoura:

Or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS 0800 44 44 49.