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Independent.ie

Saturday 24 February 2018

Experts baffled why there's so many cows with no calves in Ireland

Image: Getty Images.
Image: Getty Images.

Farming Independent Team

The bachelor farmer and unmarried aunt are well known to all of us - but have you ever encountered the spinster cow?

Well, according to figures that have just come to light, there are plenty of elderly bovine maidens in the country - up to 25,000 of them in fact.

An analysis of the national herd carried out as part of the ongoing BVD eradication programme highlighted the anomaly - a virtual army of females aged four years or over who have never had a calf.

Although the numbers equate to just 1pc of the national cow herd, the total figure has taken people by surprise.

"It's hard to fathom why there are so many. It just doesn't make sense," one industry source said.

"Maybe they're pets that farmers never got in-calf," he suggested.

"It's possible they're just barren females that farmers hold on to to keep stock bulls quiet when they're off duty," another maintained.

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"If you have a feisty bull, it's a handy way of keeping him in order through the back-end of the year," he added.

Asked to explain the existence of the 25,000 elder maidens, one wily old mart manager opined that sexual orientation might be a factor.

"Maybe they're just allergic to the bull, if you know what I mean," he said.

However, a female farmer from the southeast had a completely different take on the matter.

"The ladies were simply minding their figures," she maintained.

The debate continues.

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