Keeping her sleeve clean
AI proves a bit of a gag
Iwould like to introduce myself. I am the Rural Lone Star, a city girl from Dallas Fort Worth Texas. Our population is roughly 6.5 million. I grew up in a 15th-floor high rise. My backyard was a tennis court. The only herd I’ve ever seen is of women rushing to shop for clothes. The most rural I get is driving to the airport. I had never heard of a gumboot until I came to New Zealand and I was excited when I was told it was footwear. Not what I expected.
I am exploring the rich rural land of the Waikato – a bit scared of what I may find but most of all I hope I wear the right outfit.
This week I roll up my sleeves and head out to Roderick and Wendy Nicholas’ Matanuka farm just 10 minutes north of Tokoroa to have a go at artificial insemination or AI.
Here I learn from second-incharge Teresa Molloy about the wonders of getting cows pregnant. It is not as easy as bada-bing-bada boom. Talking to Teresa I find out the pressures to get cows pregnant. Most farms turn to artificial insemination to help build the best herd for milking. For insemination, Teresa selects six cows she knows are in heat. Now we just wait for the AI technician to show up.
I am expecting a big burly guy who like most men is in and out of the process as fast as he can. To my surprise Lyndsey Heath, a beautiful blonde woman shows up to do the deed. She is very prompt and organised, and hands me a long orange glove. Now I am getting scared.
The six waiting cows must be as scared as I am because all at once they let loose last night’s dinner. I start to gag and try not to vomit but the smell is overwhelming and I throw up.
Teresa reminds me that it is just grass and I think, that’s not any grass I’ve seen before.
The AI process is quite quick, hand in, syringe in and done. Lyndsey is trying to get me over to the cows to give it a go but my gag reflexes stop me from even considering it; I just get close enough without gagging.
I gain some composure and am able to get up on the platform that Lyndsey works from.
I’m sorry folks, it was just not going to happen, my arm up anything – no thank you. But I did use the syringe on two cows, which didn’t require my arm going into a cow’s nether regions. I hope that what little I could actually do did help produce a few calves for the farm.
Teresa told me that most farms do a six-week process of AI but her farm stretches that out to eight to 10 weeks giving them more opportunity for conception. Hopefully all the beautiful cows will be pregnant soon which means more milk on our tables.
I can also report my hot pink overalls from My Farm Lady are still clean.
Until next time, have a great Christmas and New Year.
ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION: The South Waikato News Rural Lone Star Brenna Parthemore with artificial insemination technician Lyndsey Heath.