Cows' killer likely to be urea

Couple amazed by community's generosity

SUE O'DOWD
Last updated 05:00 11/12/2012
tdn cow stand
ROBERT CHARLES
Water contaminated with urea is thought to have poisoned 122 cows on an Oeo farm.

Relevant offers

Water contaminated with urea is thought to have poisoned 122 cows on a South Taranaki dairy farm last week.

Chris and Catherine Cook's cows dropped dead one by one last Tuesday on their Oeo Rd farm as they were topping up water troughs.

The Ministry of Primary Industries is still investigating the deaths and results are not expected until late next month or early February.

Eighteen cows are still recovering and unlikely to be milked again this season.

It appeared the cows suffered nitrogen poisoning after a 5000-litre urea container was used to top up the farm's water troughs, family spokesman John Murphy said.

The container was thoroughly washed that morning for use as a portable water tank on the farm trailer.

"Even though the container was heavily rinsed, the water was contaminated by urea which the plastic absorbed," he said.

Mr Murphy, who is Mrs Cook's brother, said the family was revealing the likely cause of the deaths because they wanted to stop speculation.

The couple were amazed by the community's generosity since news of the cows' deaths broke.

Delivery to the farm of 80 cows offered on loan or as a gift was still being arranged.

The couple had also had lots of offers of assistance to milk their 460 healthy cows.

Mr Murphy and his brother, James, had been helping the couple's staff on the farm since the disaster, but the couple were now back at work.

"They're picking up the pieces. The shell shock has gone but they're sad at losing all the animals. They feel they let the cows down - unwittingly. They were giving them water which is essential for life."

Mr Murphy said the deaths showed plastic containers should be used only for one item because it absorbed chemicals.

"As farmers, we routinely use containers for multiple uses - but not any more."

Ad Feedback

- Taranaki Daily News

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

The lower drink-driving limits from December are:

Great - too much carnage on our roads.

Overkill - targets moderate drinkers, not the heavies

Still too little - make it zero tolerance.

Sensible - punishment is in line with lesser breaches of limit.

Vote Result

Related story: Drink-drive limits lowered

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Follow the Taranaki Daily News on Twitter

Get Taranaki's frequent news and sport updates

TDN North Taranaki Midweek

The North Taranaki Midweek's online

Get your mid week news fix

TDN South Taranaki Star

South Taranaki Star online

Get your South Taranaki news online