Farmer Focus Livestock: Tom Rawson is in the thick of calving

After a five-month break I am well and truly back in the pit.

Milking is like riding a bike, during most rides there’s a fair chance of either a puncture, the chain snapping or simply just falling off and getting wet, cold and covered in it.

There has been some change in personnel at Clever Cow in the past month; Andrew has moved on to pastures new and Tom has gone to Bishop Burton, I would like to thank them both for their efforts and commitment to our business and wish them the best of luck. Joining myself and Mike is Laura Oldham, a student from Harper Adams University College on her year out.

We are well on with calving the autumn herd, the benefits of using sexed semen on the crossbred heifers is now clear, with heifer calfs out numbering bulls 31 to 13.

Trying to connect farming with the public seems to be at the forefront of British Agriculture plc; our efforts have gone down well by using a couple of small paddocks between the houses and the local sports club in which to calve the cows. I am yet again grateful for easy calving semen, as the heavy use of bad language might take the edge off it.

However, the downside was a local Staffordshire bull terrier, which got into the field and terrorised anything in its path. Seeing a dog hanging from a cow’s throat is not a nice sight and I’m afraid to say a shotgun was the only deterrent; as a result the calving area has now moved indoors. In this case I wish the owners had ignored recent advice and not let the dog go when in the presence of cows with calves.