IT’S a low act, kicking someone when they’re down.
And that’s just how Murray Goulburn supplier Geoff Pate feels after two of his replacement heifers were stolen from a highway paddock on his dairy farm at Lang Lang-Nyora.
“We knew there were a couple missing straight away but initially we thought they might just have strayed out on to the highway or something,” said Geoff this week.
“But no, they’ve been stolen and we thought we should highlight the incident to other farmers.
“A few years ago there was someone active in the Maffra area stealing dairy cows and it caused quite a few problems.
“We’ve decided to put up a $4000 reward for information leading to the capture of those responsible and also the return of our calves.
“The police don’t think it will do much good but there may be someone out there who knows what happened and will be interested in the reward.
“They were three months old and weighed between 130kg and 150kg so they wouldn’t have been easy to load up.
“Since we moved them out of the shed, we’ve had them in the paddock near the highway, and we’ve been feeding them beside the driveway so it would have been easy to pull into the driveway and the calves probably came right up because they thought they were getting fed.
“They’ve probably loaded them into a horse float or something.
“They’d be worth $1000 each on the export market but they’re worth more to us as replacements. They were pretty good calves.”
The theft has hit Geoff particularly hard after the past couple of tough years as a Murray Goulburn suppler.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle with the low prices and a couple of other issues we’ve had and then this. It’s disappointing.”
Geoff is in the process of erecting a CCTV surveillance system and he’s changed the automatic opening arrangement on the gates. Which is a bit of a nuisance because the tanker driver now has to get out and open the gate.
“Normally we’d hear someone come in but on the day it happened (Monday, June 5), it was windy and there were a few heavy downpours of rain.
“It was at night and we were in the house at the time and we didn’t hear anything. They picked their time well.”
But, it’s a low act and Geoff would like your help in trying to find the calves.
“One of them was a lot more white than black and white. The other was your fairly standard Holstein Friesian but I’d know them if I saw them.
“They’d have four holes in their ears where the tags should go.”
The incident has been reported to the police but so far without result.
Geoff’s message to other farmers is be vigilant and consider getting a motion-sensor CCTV camera for protection.
If you have any information call S/C Gary Slink at the Loch Police Station 5655 1244 (Korumburra) or Geoff Pate on 0428 595 761.
$4000 reward posted for cattle rustlers