I WRITE THIS after I have been racing for the day. Going racing is a bit like dairy farming.
You enjoy it, but you know, like the supermarkets, the bookmakers will not let you make any real money. Yet just occasionally they let you win so you keep coming back. I must be a real sucker for punishment because after lining the bookies” pockets and queuing to get out of the car park, I drove home to start milking at 8.15pm.
Since I started calving, cows have been spending all day out at grass or kale, which has had tremendous benefit on herd health. The biggest drawback this year is – because of the warm, dry nights – large numbers of my cows have decided they would rather lie in my loafing area than use cubicles. I am open to ideas on how I coax them back in.
This time of year we have to think about our next breeding season. I think we will carry on with our policy of if a cow looks like a breed, cross it. Our Swedish red crosses, calved this spring, look the ticket for me with good legs and feet, good udders and sensible amounts of milk.
Calving has been quiet for a week, as when we swap from AI to our Charolais sweeper bull his longer gestation period gives us a natural break. This does not do our calving pattern much good, but gives us a chance to clear our calf pens.
Cows should kick off just as our second bunch of ewes start lambing, so I can look forward to a few more nights on the sofa.
We have found a replacement butcher, who we have given licence to take our direct sales on to the next level. The only trouble is we could have done without the turmoil of a change in staff at Easter.
My mother is looking for anyone who remembers her as a student, Arabella Burton, at Moulton College, Northants, in 1950. Please contact her by e-mail at woodpeckers@ nbansdell.fsnet.co.uk