My old cow
Let us introduce you to a cow that may have been the oldest producing beef cow in Atlantic Canada at the end of her life in 2014. The Holstein x Black Angus shown in this portrait was owned by Wayne McQuaid of South Melville, Prince Edward Island. McQuaid was raised on a dairy farm, he owned his first cow before he went to school, and by the time he was 15 he had raised a beef herd of his own. He was 15 when the cow in question was born on the family farm, in 1986. Something in her genetic make-up, or upbringing, made her special. She had her last female calf in 2007, aged 21. Then she calved again in 2009, for the 17th time, at the age of 23. By that time, McQuaid, who never did give her a name, was simply and affectionately calling her “the old cow.” The Island beef farmer said he “welled up with tears” when he put her on the truck for her last journey to Truro, to a slaughter sale, in June last year. The year before, he had commissioned Island artist Tony Diodati to paint a portrait of what may have been the oldest producing beef cow in Atlantic Canada.
McQuaid has now chosen a new “pet” calf, a Red Angus x Black Angus that was several months old in June. He has named her Spitfire and she will stay with his herd of 35 mixed-breed cattle. “It just started coming up into the barn playing,” said McQuaid, who bottle-fed her after the mother’s hip was broken. “She just kept coming up, and coming up, to get patted.”
Do you have an old still-producing beef cow? Atlantic Beef & Sheep would like to hear your story. We invite you to submit your “contestant” to our contest to find the “Oldest Producing Beef Cow in Atlantic Canada.” There will be a wonderful prize package for the winning owner: it will include a plaque, a blanket from MacAusland’s woollen mills of P.E.I. (embroidered with the Atlantic Beef & Sheep wordmark), a year’s free subscription to the magazine, and a choice of two books: A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & Game or Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game. The winner will be chosen at the end of the year and announced in the Spring issue of the magazine. Your submission (by email or mail) will need to include: 1) your name, phone number, street address, mailing address, and (where appropriate) the name of your farm; 2) a recent photograph of your cow – ideally with her last calf by her side; 3) the age of your cow and the birth date of her last calf; 4) a record of some kind to help prove the age of your cow (this could be an old, dated photograph, a newspaper clipping, a show report, or anything else that you think would help verify the cow’s age.
Please contact us for ideas and help if you do not have any such records. We want to be fair, but we don’t want to exclude anyone from participating in the contest. You may also want to write down any interesting facts or stories about this cow, or give us a brief description of your farm and livestock. Submissions must be received by Christmas, but do try to take a photograph of your cow outside in summer or fall. Please send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “cow contest” in the subject line, or mail it to DvL Publishing, P.O. Box 1509, Liverpool, NS, B0T 1K0. Questions are most welcome and we look forward to “meeting” your old cow. –From the team at ABS.