From the Frying Pan into the Fire
April 2018 was a tough month. Every week, we hoped that the rain would stop and each week, the weather forecasters dashed our hopes as fields remained waterlogged, grass grew slowly and livestock stayed indoors eating the last of the winter fodder. Many farmers, mostly those on drier land and accustomed to having their livestock out in February and March, ran out of fodder and had to purchase more.
The cows were indoors for months [...]
Do cows know when they are related? Do mothers and daughters stay close? What about sisters? We’ve often noticed cows that are twins grazing close together. Sometimes cows will form a mother and daughter bond even if they aren’t related. Lucy, one of our favourite cows, was lying in her cubicle recently (yes, she has her own cubicle and no other cow dares to try and lie there) and on either side of her were two of her daughters, Lucy [...]
The sun came out last week and the clouds disappeared for a few days. The temperature even got to 20 degrees Celsius. After a long winter and near despair with heavy rain the previous Monday, the drying wind and the sunshine were welcomed by all. Unfortunately, we’ve had showery days too.
Lou has been accompanying me on my morning [...]
It’s more of a comparison than a tale but like a lot of dairy farmers, we’re constantly trying to improve the quality of our herd and we’ve been working on improving milk solids for a number of years through breeding, milk recording and grass management. When the milk recording information comes, we’re looking at milk volumes for the individual cows but also their fat and protein percentages. Before we started milk recording, the ‘best cows’ were great on volume but [...]
I’m tired. It’s not often that I’m really tired. It has been a busy couple of months: new calf shed being built, 130 calves born, and lots of finishing touches to Till the Cows Come Home which is being published in May. But it’s the relentlessly bad weather and all the extra work that goes with it that has made me tired. We knew the weather wouldn’t be great over Easter but the fact that it is continuing on for [...]