Now we have everyday work of the housed high yielders, needing bedding and feeding, the ‘lows’ (plus Sandisfarne Laird, by Laudan, PLI 169) have the run of the farm. We did put extra fertiliser on a few weeks ago to try and keep them out as long as possible, the last of the animals hopefully staying out until November. Calving is still going well, even a ‘barren’ cow managed to produce a bull calf which caught us unawares! We have Garrett, Leif, McCormick calves being born to the Black and whites, whilst the Reds are having Ayrshire calves by Tryst and Napier.
With the recent spell of relatively good weather, we have been putting in grass seeds, also lugging in big bales of straw from our own crops of triticale, oats, wheat and barley, plus bales from several of our neighbours. This afternoon we are planning to start mowing down grass for our third crop silage, all of which is done in big bales as we do not have clamps at home. Our rented farm where the youngstock are housed has clamps, which we have filled with wholecrop.
Tomorrow sees the arrival of the ATL team from ‘across’ to finalise the putting in of our 17 ‘out of parlour feeders’ which are spread out all round the cubicle shed. We bought these a while ago, after getting totally fed up with the daily grind of mixing feed, the quoted replacement costs of both the wagon, tractor driving it and the huge fuel bills they generated. We also were finding that we could not help animals that were over-milking themselves in a flat rate system ….. some got fat, some got skinny!!! Exciting stuff… We are looking forward to the first time this Christmas, when all the bales can be put in the sheds ready for the holiday period, so that there will be only the scraping and milking to be done. All we need now is a scraper system; we had intended to put a rope system in but have run out of time….
Our local co-operative Creamery that all the dairy farmers supply to on the island, has managed to land a deal, won in the face of competition from a number of cheesemakers in the UK, selling our mature and vintage cheese to Publix, which has over 1400 outlets in the USA… Great news!!