Emily Brown of Linderlan Brown Swiss is a very clever young woman and dairy farmer and I am really pleased she accepted an invitation to write a guest post for me. Over to you, Emily!
First I’d like to thank The Milk Maid Marian for inviting me to do a guest blog! I feel very honoured and somewhat famous…
I’d like to introduced you to Olga, a brand new baby calf born recently, what’s so special about her you ask? (apart from how obviously adorable she is of course!) Well lots of things!
Olga is a pure bred Brown Swiss dairy calf, she is four weeks old and loves to drink milk, eat grain and hay, and run circuits of the calf paddock at full speed with all her mates, but that’s not all, Olga came into the world in a very unusual way!
Olga was born via embryo transfer. This is where a superior cow is selected to produce embryos which get implanted into other, less valuable cows, resulting in more offspring from the very best cows. This is done by a special vet who gives the mother or ‘donor cow’ injections to stimulate multiple eggs to be formed, kind of like when someone has twins or triplets. They are then fertilised via artificial insemination, and after seven days flushed out and either implanted into another cow, or frozen to be implanted at a later date. Olga’s mum made six in one go!
So why do dairy farmers sometimes do embryo transfer? Well, we are always looking to use the best technology to ensure that we are breeding the healthiest, most productive animals we can. This enables them to live longer and better lives, which is great for the animal and the farmer!
But there’s another reason Olga’s mum was selected to produce embryos: not only has she lived a long time and produced a lot of high quality milk but two of her daughters and one of her grand-daughters have won Champion of their age groups at the biggest and most glamorous dairy show in Australia – International Dairy Week. This is where the most beautiful cows of the six dairy breeds strut their stuff every year.
Let’s hope little Olga follows in her big sisters footsteps in the future, but with a little brother or sister on the way 10 weeks after she was born she might have some competition!!!