News / Blog

New Zealand Dairy Farmers Dealing With Dairy Cow Theft
January 13, 2016

More than 100 dairy cattle disappeared without a trace from three Mid Canterbury farms during December.
A farm in Alford Forrest has lost 52 Friesian bull calves, while a farm south of Hinds lost 17 grown dairy cows.

It followed news that 36 cows disappeared from Mayfield farm over a two week period in December.

The farm owners are puzzled

Jill Quigley, who owns the Mayfield farm with husband David, said rural Mid Canterbury was not a good place anymore.

“It just looks a little suspicious,” she said.

“Things have changed. It used to be a nice little rural community. It’s quite scary really. Rural Mid Canterbury is not the same as it used to be.”

Quigley spent a couple of weeks away from the farm over the Christmas break, which she said was “quite refreshing”.

“It’s good to get away and forget about the mess.”

Although there were no leads on what happened to their cows, people were now being vigilant about checking their stock levels, she said.

It was possible the other two incidents were discovered only because of the attention garnered from her missing cows, Quigley said.

Crowe Howarth agri-principal Michael Lee said the number of cattle that went missing suggested they were destined for a farm in the South Island.

“It would far too expensive to get that number of cows across Cook Strait,” Lee said.
“With the number and volume I wouldn’t have thought the cows would go to an abattoir. That’s a lot to process through a friendly third party or home kill.”

Lee suggested the cows might have been stolen by a farmer and a rustler in cahoots, and thought the only value from the cows would come from milk.

“They would attract a very low value for resale as the EID (electronic identification) tags would have been cut off from the ears.”

Not all was not lost though, he said.

Concerned farmers should use the pro-track system that scanned cows daily, which would quickly pick up any inconsistencies in stock numbers.

Analysing stock numbers would help get on top of anything problems immediately, he said.

By: Audrey Malone


Fall 2018