Mark McDonald farms 540 cows at The Red Cow Farm in Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand. What started as a sharemilking endeavour has grown into one of the largest Milking Shorthorn herds in New Zealand, featuring a diverse range of red genetics sourced from around the world.
These cows possess a unique blend of Red Dairy Cattle genetics from various countries, emphasising Nordic bloodlines. The farm encompasses 190 hectares of land for milking and 100 hectares in Mayfield, northwest of Ashburton, for rearing young stock.
After purchasing the land for The Red Cow Farm in 2000, Mark had managers overseeing the farm until 2006. That year, Mark and his team took on the responsibility, which they have done for the past 16 years.
The unique climate in Ashburton, which occasionally experiences snowfall during winter, requires resilient cows that can handle harsh conditions. The farm's elongated shape necessitates cows that can easily walk long distances.
"We generally find we have far fewer foot problems with the VikingRed cows with the black hooves than we do with the black and whites," says Mark, highlighting the benefits of the VikingRed's strong, dark hooves.