The cows are already out full time, going out this year on March 23rd. This was much later than last year, when the cows went out in January and stayed out till early November, only being in one week when it snowed.
We like to have our cattle out as much as possible, and now it’s the turn of the young heifers. They anticipated this the other night this by appearing at the garden gate just as we were settling down to supper and a welcome rest. Supper was much delayed as we tried to re-house the heifers, with my husband Joe saying a sheep dog can only have one master. Sexist?
The noise and smell of cows grazing for the first time after a break, as they tear the grass and wind it round their tongues, is always very special, as are the trees and hedges as the spring greening transforms the landscape.
This spring we have reduced the protein in our bought in concentrates even further to 14%, in the interests of efficiency, our carbon footprint and global warming. We try to minimise bought in feeds as far as possible at this time of year. Grass is best! We have big hedges round every field and lots of trees, to provide shelter in hot weather.
Spring is always the busiest time of year on any farm, with planting, calving and lambing to name a few tasks. Social isolation is no stranger – only one person can drive a tractor after all, milking and calf feeding generally take place in isolation. So even with social isolation, little has changed. Farmers still have to work long hours, and our small dairy business has seen a massive uplift in milk sales.
Getting right up to date, the Chinese government is recommending its citizens to increase their consumption of dairy products three fold to boost their immune system. As an Archers fan, I was dubious about Kefir, as John Archer’s kefir was reputed to have a bad taste, but with a few free samples from Chad, I am now a fan. Ours has a great taste, and is certainly also great for my immune system!