THESE COWS ARE in no hurry. Each just meanders to the dairy, all rolling hindquarters, swishing tails and loping heads, the blue-black and tan Rorschach ink-blot patching of their hides vivid against the washed-out Australian summer light. They stop as they please along the way. Chew cud. Moo. Drop pats. Moo again. They nudge the soft earth or a companion before snorting and continuing on up through the paddocks to the shed.
It’s milking time – just as it’s always milking time in this dairy for about 360 Fresians at Camden, where the outer orbit of Sydney gives way to the gentle rise that becomes the Central Highlands. These cows are not held to the human clock and milked according to the dairy farmer’s traditionally antisocial (for both people and cows) timetable at the crack of dawn and again dusk. And they don’t have to line up for hours, either, cramped in a race, their udders bursting, in order for a dairy worker to quickly wash their teats, apply the suction cups, extract their milk, disinfect and send them on their way.
Already a subscriber? Sign in here