The death of one cow is a blow to a dairy farmer, 120 at once is a catastrophe.
A Whakatane dairy farmer is rallying farmers across the country to help a South Taranaki couple who had 120 cows die on their farm this week.
About 15 vets rushed to the Oeo farm of Chris and Catherine Cook on Tuesday but could not save the dying animals, part of a herd of 600 and worth an estimated $400,000.
Vets are not saying what caused the deaths but had ruled out nitrate poisoning this morning. . .
Whakatane dairy farmer Rod McPherson is calling on fellow farmers to help the Cooks out.
McPherson had contacted Fonterra to arrange for anyone who wanted to donate a cow to help rebuild the couple’s livelihood to get in touch. . .
Mrs Cook’s brother, John Murphy, said this morning the family was not ready to speak but was grateful for all the support they had received.
The couple, who have a young family, said farmers had offered them cows and people were taking meals to their house.
The wider community, including Fonterra and DairyNZ, was supporting the couple.
About 20 cows were still sick and were being looked after and milked only once a day.
The rest of the herd was fine.
Murphy said he thought it would be a long time before the couple were ready to talk about their ordeal.
Meanwhile, Newstalk ZB has reported this morning the cows died after a water trough was topped up with a portable tank used earlier to dissolve nitrogen.
But Taranaki Veterinary centre chief executive Stephen Hopkinson, of Hawera, said he would not release the cause without the permission of his clients.
“It’ll be up the family to make that decision – when they’re ready to discuss it,” he said.
“But to avoid scaremongering, I can say it’s not nitrate poisoning.” . . .
The Cooks are former Taranaki Sharemilker of the Year winners.
Good sharemilkers know their cows individually. These deaths will be an emotional and financial blow to them.
We had TB in our herd a few years ago and had to kill a lot of stock. It was a very difficult time but at least compensation is available for that.
It’s too expensive to insure stock for accidental death and farmers accept the odd loss as inevitable but none would expect to lose 20% of their herd.
The Farming Show is seeking donations to help the couple.