If you want to work on a dairy farm you probably need to know how to pull a calf when its mother is having problems, but it is hard to learn because practising on live animals is often not practical.

Key points:

  • The cow simulator is teaching ag students how to help with calving
  • It cost $70,000 and was imported from Canada
  • It is the only one of its kind in regional Victoria

It is a handy skill, though it does raise animal welfare issues.

That is why a cow simulator being offered by South West TAFE in Warrnambool is proving so useful.

The $70,000 simulator, imported from Canada, is giving agriculture students a remarkably realistic experience in assisting the birthing process.

Rebecca Toleman of South West TAFE said the simulator was exceptionally lifelike.

“She’s a life-sized cow. She’s about 2.8 metres by 1.6 metres and about one metre wide,” she said.

“She’s made of fibreglass, she has a milk receival can inside her with lifelike teats.

“She also has a birthing tract inside with a 35-kilogram, lifelike calf and a simulated backside as if she was springing, ready to calf down.

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Ms Toleman said the simulator allowed students to see what was happening inside the cow during the birth. 

“The good thing is you can take her back off, so if you’re unsure what’s going on you can walk around, look inside the stomach, and get an idea of what’s happening inside the uterus and come back and try again,” she said.

The simulator is one of only a few in Australia and the only one in regional Victoria. 

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Lifelike cow simulator teaches students how to help with calving
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