Tim and Louise Downes
Tim and Louise Downes
farm 230ha (570 acres)
with Tims parents in
Shrops, of which 139ha
(343 acres) is under
contract. The farm is fully
organic, comprising 140
dairy cows plus followers.
Aberdeen Angus beef cattle
are finished and part of the
cereal harvest of wheat,
oats and triticale is
crimped. They also have a
dozen breeding ewes
SILAGING began in earnest to catch the few dry days we call summer. Particularly important was the field we had agreed to lend as a car park for a local wedding.
Unfortunately, the weather that week was uncooperative, but at least both self-feed pits are now full and both contain a layer of red clover and white clover. We sheeted up late one night in strong winds, when the water filled barrels brought the Downes hang gliding display team to an exhausted finale.
The team included three locals with tractors and trailers and all enjoyed sharing the half-mile trip down the A49 trunk road with Jubilee traffic.
We are into recycling at the farm with old AMBIC milk clusters as electric fence handles and stockpiles of metal and wood. Finally, we have found a use for large DEFRA envelopes – reminders to dad and for planning farmers weekly articles.
Another Jubilee weekend accomplishment was shearing our 12 ewes and three tups. After being shorn last year by amateur, Tim, who felt he did a quality but steady job, the sheep were relieved to be shorn by a professional.
We have had the groovers in this month with cows and staff now much steadier on their hooves/feet along the exit race. All we need now is stronger concrete in the patches that were too much like crazy paving to groove.
Unannounced visits from wellington boot disinfecting officials began with a recent visit by the dairy hygiene inspectorate. It was the first inspection of the two year old parlour. The inspector was very thorough and still had enough ink left in her pen to sign us off with a good grade.
Under the spotlight in discussion groups is fertility. Being sports fanatics, watching the World Cup could have a detrimental effect on observing cows, particularly as heat detection is made difficult by the only signs of an on-heat cow sometimes being fluttering of eyelashes. *
Enthusiastic following of the World Cup could interfere with heat detection in cows, fears Tim Downes.