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Helping Women Understand Cow Psychology

Helping Women Understand Cow Psychology

Women attending the Network for Women in Dairying conferences will be asked to go home and watch their cows.

Cow lameness specialist and Inglewood Vet Services veterinarian Neil Chesterton is leading a workshop at the conferences focusing on how a cow's behaviour reflects her well being.

Mr Chesterton says that in investigating how to solve the growing problem of lameness in the country's dairy herds, he found that most lameness is from traumatic injury and cow behaviour has an important part to play.

"Traumatic injuries often happen when people and cows interact."

His workshop titled 'Adding Value to the Vat' is one of three workshops at the Network for Women in Dairying conferences, being held in Invercargill on May 12 and New Plymouth on May 19.

More than 400 women are expected to attend the two conferences which have the theme 'Dairy Women Adding Value'.

Mr Chesterton says women can play a large role in improving the stock handling on their farms.

"Women are more observant and have a better feel for this type of stuff, so my aim for the conferences is to help women to see the problem areas by watching their cows' behaviour."

Mr Chesterton will give key points of cow behaviour to observe on the track and in the milking shed that will help identify where lameness injuries are occurring.

"Women will then see things which they have never noticed before - things that will be a help in understanding where the problem is and how to fix it."

Mr Chesterton says the problem could be as simple as different staff all using the backing gate differently, confusing the cows.

When not in clinical practice, Mr Chesterton travels the country advising farmers on their herd lameness problems and also spends about a month each year training veterinarians and farmers in the prevention of lameness.

The Network for Women in Dairying is funded by Agmardt and the conferences are sponsored by The National Bank, Telecom, RD1, Ballance, Ambreed and Gallagher Group.

Further information on the conferences is available on the Network's website, http://www.womenindairying.co.nz/ , or by contacting Sue van der Poel by phone on 07 825 2823.

Registrations close on April 30.

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