Dairy farmers take coronavirus precautions

By Jamieson Salter

In a time of widespread panic, the region's dairy farmers are playing their part to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

These farmers have changed the way they work, finding new methods to abide by the restrictions put in place.

Waaia dairy farmer Margaret Cockerell said her milk factory sent out instructions on how to deal with tanker drivers.

“People would normally stand around and chat with the milk tank driver and we have to keep that low key now; the last thing we would want is to not have our milk picked up,” she said.

“I have a disinfectant bottle and spray the vat outlet, the ladder they climb, the control box, things that they’re going to be handling that we’ve handled, but most farmers wear gloves.”

Mrs Cockerell said things were running normally on her farm despite new confines, with contractors still coming in and out.

“If we want anything, we send a text message to our supplier to place an order and they deliver it.

“We haven’t seen any of our local neighbours; it’s about limiting contact but still using those services you need by sending a text message or on the computer.”

Mrs Cockerell has been checking in on her neighbours via text messages.

Gunbower dairy farmer Stephen Brown said he had been more aware of his behaviour but that there had been no significant changes to his business practices.

“We had some correspondence through email of the protocols of the tanker driver, who wears different gloves for each farm they visit and disinfect everything they touch, and then wipes their own steering wheel,” he said.

“I’ve got a casual that comes in on the weekend and I just avoid the obvious things like patting them on the back.”