THIS IS THE LAST WINTER THERE WILL BE A DAIRY HERD HERE. GOODBYE YOU SLOW OLD COWS.

This is the last winter we will have a dairy herd of cows on the farm.  It will be very strange next winter.  But nice.

We also rear calves from birth.  We won’t be doing that next year as we won’t have any cows.

It will be so nice not to have to go out on a Saturday teatime to feed the young calves warm milk after the milking has finished.  Let me count how many calves we have a the moment that we give warm milk to. We have about 7 pens with 4 calves in each pen.  They have to be fed milk twice a day.  It takes so much time.  In this freezing weather we’ve had to wrap up warm.  I will be able to watch Saturday night TV and get tea over before 8pm.

It is sad in a way that this farm as a dairy farm is coming to an end.  It started as a dairy farm in about 1946 and there has been milking going on twice a day EVERY day since then.  JUST IMAGINE WHAT CHANGES HAVE HAPPENED SINCE THEN.

In the past the milk was put into churns and taken to the local dairy.  the milk did not travel far at all.

In the past there were more than one dairy farm in some villages.

In the past farmers walked their cows through the village and across roads to get them to the pasture.

What other things have altered since 1946 Iwonder?

You would have thought that in a country that only provides 50% of its food there would be ways to make money from producing good fresh milk.  But no. 

Dairy farmers have been leaving the dairy industry (and it is an industry, albeit a caring one) for a long time.  Welcome to the fresh milk from abroad era.  But then again I don’t think we have been self sufficient in milk since milk quotas came in.

I wonder if people ever wonder how much it costs to produce a pint of  milk.

Also, after milking twice a day farmers come in and there is such a lot of paperwork to do.  

When I first came to live here, which is many, many years ago, I thought ‘people will always need fresh milk’ .  I never thought that price and not making a profit would ever enter into it.

I seem to remember one politician saying (some time last year maybe) that we should buy all our food from abroad and build houses in the countryside.  Are they mad?  They don’t seem to realise how important food is.  People take food for granted.

It is within living memory that people died trying to bring food to this country (Second World war)

Back to birds.  They will be here long after I’m gone.  I saw two blackbirds on the birdtable they seemed to have an arrangement as to which one pecked and which one did not.  No fighting – just what seemed like organised co-operation

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