A quick-thinking student farmer from Co Down has saved pedigree cattle worth more than £100,000 from a major fire with nothing more than a bucket of feed.
Nathan Moore, from Dromara, who is currently on work placement in Kidmore End, Oxfordshire, managed to move the herd of 50 Aberdeen Angus cattle to safety after a bonfire on a neighbouring property got out of control placing the livestock in danger.
The 20 year old member of Artana Young Farmers and a former pupil of Dromore High school is spending a year working on placement at Vines Farm as part of his agriculture degree course at Harper Adams University in Shropshire.
When the fire broke out Nathan guided the Aberdeen Angus cattle from the blazing field by calling them and tempting them with a bucket of food.
Speaking to the Henley Standard newspaper, Nathan said: “Another tractor driver called me to say the field was on fire and I knew it was the one with the cows in,” he said. “I jumped in my car in Sonning Common and I could see the smoke as I was driving over from the village so I knew it was bad.
“I got a bucket because they like their meals and as soon as they saw me they came running over and I let them out on to the road.
“My first instinct was to get them out of the field and then I could go and help the firefighters.”
Roddy Young, who runs the farm which is owned by Aubrey and Angela Adams, praised the fire service for their quick response times and getting it under control and highlight Nathan’s actions as being the ‘right thing’ to do.
He said: “When someone saw the fire they rang all the farm staff. Nathan was the first of us here and he got the cattle away from the fire.
“He did the right thing taking some food out because they are quite greedy, so they will usually follow someone with a bucket of food. They are pedigree animals so there would have been a huge cost. The potential loss is enormous.”
The herd included 25 cows, worth about £2,000 each, and each had a young calf with them which had not been weaned. The cows were also carrying a calf each.
The young and unborn cattle are worth about £1,000 each.
Nathan added: “It’s not something I had experienced before so you have to think quickly and know what to do.
“When I arrived the firefighters were already here so I could concentrate on trying to deal with the cattle. They were my main focus to start with.”
The fire also placed at risk 150 acres of wheat which Mr Young, who has worked on the farm for more than 45 years, said could have cost them another £100,000.
Nathan’s mother, Stephanie, was understandably proud of her son’s actions.
“I think it really would have been very scary,” she said. “But he kept a cool head and knew just what to do in a difficult situation.
“It was part of his duties on his placement at the farm and he done really well.”
Stephanie said Nathan was equally cool as he told her about the fire in their regular Sunday catch up.
“He told me what had happened and was very calm. He just said he’d had a bit of excitement and told us all about it. He had seen the plume of smoke rising as he came through the village and he went straight to the farm to help.
“A few days later he sent a message on What’s App with a picture of the local newspaper and a ‘placement went well - made it into local paper’.
“I’m very proud. The pedigree cattle are worth an absolute fortune but he knew they’d respond to something as simple as a bucket of feed and he was right!”