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Cow Alarm A Money-Saver For Farmer

Gore farmer Phillip Pullar is happy with his electronic cow alarm - it has saved him potentially thousands of dollars.

The innovative alarm, developed by Shoof International Ltd of Cambridge, warns farmers when cows on antibiotics are about to be milked. It sounds when the farmer comes within arm's length of a cow being treated, indicating the cow should not be milked.

The drugs contaminate the milk, meaning the farmer has to dump it. The dairy company could then test the herd's output every day for the rest of the season, adding big costs to farmers who might also incur penalties as high as $10,000.

Cows on antibiotics are usually separated from the herd, but somebody such as relief staff might inadvertently put the cups on a treated cow. "It happened to us about three years ago," Mr Pullar says. "The dairy company found contamination and it cost us several hundred dollars."

Mr Pullar says he can now be confident that his milk is free from antibiotics. He bought two sets of the alarm last year for his 550 cows and their use has been near-continous. They have rung several times.

The alarm consists of a strap placed around a cow's leg and a medallion worn by the milker. It was developed with the help of Technology New Zealand - part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology - which invests in research into new products, processes or services.

Dairy farmers in Britain, North and South America and Europe will get the chance to see the alarm at three big overseas farm shows later this year, Shoof managing director Geoff Laurent says.

"We're going to the Dairy Event at Kenilworth, England, and then to the World Dairy Expo at Madison, Wisconsin, in October," Mr Laurent says. "After that it will be to Hannover in Germany for the Eurotier, a big agriculture fair."

The alarm is unique, fail-safe and simple to use, he says.


Contact: * Geoff Laurent, Shoof International Ltd, Laurent Rd, Cambridge. Ph (07) 827-3902, 0800 800-801. Fax: (07) 827-7596. * Phillip Pullar, No 2 RD, Gore. Ph/fax (03) 205-3813. Email: * Tony Hadfield, Technology New Zealand (Christchurch Office) at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, (03) 377-9340. Website:

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525. Email:

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