Partners Networking to Advance South Island Dairying

Covid-19

Level 4 Response

Following the Government’s announcement on Monday, 23rd March we are shutting the farm gates to anyone who is not a staff member of LUDF. The health and wellbeing of our staff is paramount, and we will be employing all practical measures to keep them from contracting the Coronavirus.

We will continue to conduct weekly Farm Walks and post the data to the SIDDC website and LUDF Facebook page as normal. As always, if you have any questions about what is occurring on the farm, reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram or email and we will ensure to answer them for you.

Given the new isolation rules, we have decided to postpone the May Focus Day. The tentative plan is to have it in June, at which point we can hopefully either meet in an outdoor setting or set up a live stream from Lincoln University for you all to view online. This will all depend on how the next few weeks progress, but we will continue to update you as the plan develops.

 We have established the following protocol to be used on farm to reduce risk to our staff members and are sharing it so other farm owners/operators can adopt similar practices. If you have additional actions that we have not mentioned please let us know as we are keen to implement as many preventative measures as possible and it will be useful for all farmers to continue to grow this list.

The LUDF staff will be split into two groups and we will isolate each team from the other. As Peter, our farm manager, is still recovering from knee surgery we will continue to employ a relief milker  until he is fully operational, which we expect to be in the next two weeks. For health and safety reasons we do not want individuals on farm alone, so we will always have two staff working together during this period.

The intention is for each team to work 3 days on 3 days off throughout the lockdown period, but we will continually assess this approach and make changes if required. We have provided staff with additional disposable gloves, that they typically use during milking, so they can use them when operating machinery as well. We also have put leftover teat wipes around the office and on our vehicles so staff can disinfect steering wheels before usage. This is in addition to wearing gloves. At the end of their roster they will disinfect any surfaces that they have come in contact with during their work. This includes all machinery, office desks, computer keyboards, kitchen surface, door handles and milk clusters. We will be using SteriGENE or a dilute solution of XY-12 to achieve this disinfection depending on the surface. We will monitor staff for fatigue and ask them to implement all hygiene advice provided by the government, to distance themselves from one another and to isolate themselves when they are not on the farm. 

 As for the SIDDC partners, Ravensdown and LIC are essential services and will continue operating throughout the shutdown. AgResearch, Lincoln University, and DairyNZ will shut their facilities but most staff members will be working from home if they have the capacity to do so. SIDDC will operate as usual and continue to support LUDF staff members and all dairy farmers during this time. Please remember to look out for one another during this difficult time and to take care of yourselves too!

 - Clare Buchanan
Demonstration Manager

Click here to download the MOU our team members were asked to sign

Level
Risk Assessment
Range of Measures on LUDF
Level 4 - Eliminate
  • Sustained and intensive transmission
  • Widespread outbreaks
  • No one allowed on farm except LUDF staff
  • LUDF team split in two and isolate from one another
  • Gloves are worn when operating machinery
  • Teat wipes used on steering wheels and surfaces
  • Disinfect all surfaces at end of shift
  • Social distancing among team members
Level 3 - Restrict
  • Community transmission occurring OR
  • Multiple cluster break outs
  • Only LUDF and SIDDC staff allowed on farm
  • Regular staff roster (8 on 2 off, 8 on 3 off)
  • Gloves worn when operating machinery
  • Teat wipes used on steering wheels and surfaces
  • Disinfecting surfaces at end of shift
  • Social distancing from team members
Level 2 – Reduce 
  • High risk of importing COVID-19 OR
  • Uptick in imported cases OR
  • Uptick in household transmission OR
  • Single or isolated cluster outbreak
  • Non-symptomatic New Zealand based visitors permitted on farm - hygiene standards enforced, remain outdoors, no handshaking etc
  • Regular staff roster (8 on 2 off, 8 on 3 off)
  • Good hygiene practices on farm – teat wipes and hand washing as needed but no disinfecting required
  • Social distancing from the general public but not team members when close proximity is necessary for on farm jobs 
Level 1 - Prepare
  • Heightened risk of importing Covid-19 OR
  • Sporadic Imported Cases
  • Isolated household transmission associated with imported cases
  • All visitors permitted on farm but with hygiene standards enforced
  • Regular staff roster (8 on 2 off, 8 on 3 off)
  • On farm measures relaxed but staff still encouraged to continue with heightened hygiene practices