A 25-year-old, Hereford suckler cow has successfully given birth to twin calves on a Somerset farm.
The black and white Hereford cow is still part of John and Peter Wakes’ 130-head commercial suckler herd at Lower Thorn Farm, North Barrow, Somerset.
She has produced more than 20 calves since 1995 – all of them bulls.
Neighbouring farmer Jane Harrison helps at Lower Thorn and was called in as the first of the twins was a breech birth.
Despite the first calf presenting the wrong way round, Mrs Harrison said both the newborns were healthy and had got to their feet straight away.
The calves and dam were turned out on to pasture close to the farm soon after they were checked over, she said.
Mrs Harrison, who also helps the Wakes by filing BCMS data, pointed out that the cow is older than Defra itself.
“Because she was born before 1 July 1996, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food was still in charge,” she said.
It means the cow has no requirement for a BCMS passport and has an old-style Z Tag, she said.
Mrs Harrison quipped that the Wakes retained the cow because they were waiting for her to produce a heifer calf to breed as a replacement.
But, she said: “The wait goes on – maybe next year.”
Key farming events since 1995
- 1996 Tory health secretary Stephen Dorell links BSE with its human form CJD, sparking beef crisis
- 1997 Badger culling trial commissioned by Tony Blair’s new Labour government
- 1998 UK regions handed more powers under Devolution Act
- 2001 Foot-and-mouth outbreak devastates UK farms
- 2001 Defra formed
- 2007 Foot-and-mouth returns after government research institute leaks virus into drains
- 2010 Tories and LibDems oust Labour to form coalition government
- 2016 Brexit referendum begins UK’s departure from Europe
- 2020 UK leaves Europe
- 2020 Covid-19 pandemic