6 Dec 2019

Striped dairy cows – a rare breed

From Country Life, 9:13 pm on 6 December 2019

Opunake farmer Andy Whitehead milks eight different breeds of cattle, but Lakenvelders are his favourite. They hail from the Netherlands and are easy to spot in the dark.

If you drive past Andy Whitehead's Taranaki farm at night, his favourite cows are easy to spot.

They look as though they've been draped with a white blanket.

"Lakenvelder simply means 'white blanket' or 'white sheet' which describes the cow with a stripe over her back," Andy says.

The milking breed originates from the Netherlands and is considered a rare breed in New Zealand.

The Belted Galloway, the beef breed, was bred from the Lakenvelder.  

Andy loves the look of his tall black cows with their wide white stripe and their temperament. They're not his top producers but they perform well when crossed with higher producing breeds.   

Andy has mainly Friesians, Jerseys and KiwiCrosses on his Opunake farm but augments his herd with five other breeds; Brown Swiss, Guernseys, Ayrshires, Shorthorns and the Lakenvelder.

"You've just got to keep life a bit interesting I think. Variety is the spice of life.'

One of his Ayrshires, now retired, is 18 years old.

"I just hope that she can get to 21 because I will scull a yardie of milk if she gets to 21," he says with a laugh.