We graze our cows outside for as much of the year as possible, but they do have to come in in the winter – otherwise they would be standing up to their hocks in mud on our heavy clay farm. The cows have been very content since they came in. They feed out in the open air, from round feeders and the silage face, and have a new cubicle building for accommodation. We have our cubicle building on camera and it’s very satisfying to see how quiet the cows are in there, lying down straight away with no bullying or problems moving around. It’s a sleep only building with large passageways and a high roof so ventilation is good.
As well as silage, we have given the cows access to an added salt supplement with amazing results. It’s rather like giving children free access to a sweet shop. We have two one tonne bags in the cow yard, and the cows queue up to have a turn. There are always one or two cows licking away happily. Apparently the appetite for salt in cattle is only exceeded by water. Salt is said to improve blood formulation which aids fertility, hardens hooves, reduces cud ball and frothy bloat. It has excellent mineral and trace element content, and also promotes grass growth, helping photosynthesis. It has so many excellent properties that it makes me wonder if we should be cutting back on salt so much in human diets!
Talking of human diets, researchers in Texas have found that a chemical contained in cheese called spermidine, helps stop damaged liver cells from replicating, and so hopefully prevents liver fibrosis, often a case in liver cancer. Not only that, they found a higher intake of spermidine lowered blood pressure, and gave a 40% lower risk of heart failure. When mice were fed a spermidine supplement, their life expectancy increased by a whopping 25%!
In other research at University College, Dublin, the effects of cheese on cholesterol was analysed and according to this study, eating higher levels of cheese did not increase cholesterol levels. A daily matchbox portion of cheese has been shown to reduce the chances of heart disease by 14%. Parents note, a small portion of cheese after a meal, prevents tooth decay.
As well as selling and eating cheese, we have been busy overseeing calving as the cows have been calving with enthusiasm and we have lots of lovely little heifer calves. We are keen to get our cows outside again, which will happen as soon as it stops raining, and the pasture dries out. Roll on the spring!