A UK dairy farmer has described it as the “worst night in my 20 years of dairy farming daylight has broken to 54 dead cows”.
Tom Rawson, Director of Evolution Farming, said that the incident was originally thought to be bloat it is now believed to be external water contamination the likely cause.
He said that 30 more cows were saved by the “amazing caring farm staff their families and the vet”.
At his herd of 700 cows in Houghton the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue attended an incident at the farm to provide assistance in providing drinking water for cows after more than 50 cows were killed.
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) ferried fresh water to the farm throughout the night to keep the herd watered.
The farm and herd is managed by Evolution Farming, which manages 2,400 cows across six sites, its website says.
Company chairman Duncan Rawson said: “Ten of our dairy cows at pasture suddenly collapsed, showing symptoms of severe bloat.
“The staff on duty at the time are extremely experienced stockmen and have dealt with bloat in previous roles,” he told Leicestershire Live.
“The condition of the cows was so extreme, they made the decision to perform emergency rumendectomies, using a cannula to release the gas directly through the cows’ sides. This quick thinking undoubtedly saved several cows’ lives.”
He added: “Once this emergency action had been taken, the vet was called. By the time he arrived, more cows had collapsed, some in yards, leading the vet to suggest the cause wasn’t from eating plant matter or clover in the pasture, but from the water system.”
Source: Farm Ireland