Twin challenge on farm
By Dean Taylor
Wharepapa South sharemilkers Rachel and Andrew Burke knew they had taken on a big challenge this season, but did not think that would include dealing with early, multiple calving.
The couple moved onto a new property this season, with 176 hectares of dairy land and 100 hectares for their sheep and beef stock. They expanded their dairy herd from 200 to 500, purchasing a total of 318 in calf cows.
Their calving season should start on July 19 and they were hoping for a total of 150 heifer calves and 10 Friesian bull calves to rear.
Already 12 cows have calved, but more surprisingly four of their new herd have all had twins.
Mrs Burke says the first set of twins was followed a day later by the other three sets. Two sets were born within an hour. They are all good sized, healthy calves and three sets were born without any assistance.
Now she is looking at the very healthy state of the rest of the herd and wondering how many others will give birth to twins. She also believes it will be the year of the bull calf, with 12 bulls so far from the 16 calves.
Mrs Burke says it looks like their first season will be more of a challenge than they thought.
Along with the early and multiple calving, the next step is to get 318 cows into an unfamiliar rotary shed.