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LACEYS FARM UPDATE
Since my last blog the farm has been busy harvesting grass to store for winter feed. The first cut is taken at the end of May when the grass quality and volume is at its peak and grass sugar levels high, giving a good feed potential for the cows. To harvest we cut the grass then allow it to wilt slightly before using a foraging machine to pick up, chop and add a preservative. Its then all hauled back to the farm using tractors and trailers and 'clamped'. This is when its put in to a large airtight pit. It will stay in there until we take it out daily over the winter to feed the cows. To give you an idea of the size of the pit, the first cut of grass we took was 95 trailer loads, each load weighing approx 6 ton so the heap of grass now will be bigger than the average house. With a second cut of grass to come off in a few weeks we happily have plenty of grass to go round this year!
Feeding the cows properly is just one cog in the process of maintaining a healthy dairy herd, but vital all the same. The maize is another crop we grow to feed the cows. The maize was drilled (sown) on 12th May, with germination taking 10 days it got off to a good start (germination can take any thing from 10 to 28 days, but the sooner the seed sends down some roots and then the leaf shoot the greater chance of survival and successful growth), and all the rain has been kind to it as well the only thing holding it back now is the cool temperatures in the end of May and June.
I'd like to tell you about a cow we have called Aphradite (yes its her real name, each cow has its own name and number, and even individual passport!) She's one of our cows in milk and she was doing very well after calving back in November and giving lots of milk. She was out in the field and 'bulling' (coming in to season the cows get 'frisky' and playful in the hope of attracting the bull) and she over stretched her leg and did some damage. A cow that becomes injured or cannot keep up with the pace of the herd and the working life generally doesnt have a long future on the farm, and I would guess that on the majority of European dairy farms then she would have been sent for slaughter. But we like to do every thing can for our cows so we pulled her out the herd and kept her in her own VIC (Very Important Cow) pen over a period of weeks to hope with some rest her injury would start to repair. We tried numerous things and even the vet had written off her chances of making a recovery, but with the cow still producing milk and being happy with in herself , we didn't want to give up.
Gideon had been going to see Susan Clarke, from the Candlewell Clinc Osteopath and mentioned to her about Aphradite and the difficulties we were having with her. Susan said she we be pleased to come and see the cow and see if there was anything she could do for her. I'm not ashamed to admit I thought it would be a complete waste of time, the vet had given up on her, we had tried everything we could, and my hopes for this to work were pretty much none, but Susan kept with it and came to see our VIC numerous times. Susan has worked with animals before, mainly Horses and Dogs, never a cow but she had plenty of belief that progress could be made......and she was right!! After a few visits visible improvement in how the cow walked could be seen and after a little more work from Susan, Aphradite had made significant improvements, so much so she has now rejoined the milking herd and happily walks in and out to milk every day. I am pleased to admit that I was totally wrong in my perception of the Osteopath, and Susan can take pride in knowing through her techniques and skills she saved this cow!!
On a final note, this weekend is Open Farm Sunday, and Laceys Farm we be joining the Edgly Family at Kensham Farm, Cadmore End for a chance to invite the public on to the farm for you to see what farmers are doing in the local area. All free would be great to see you there!!
In this section
- The saga of the half-closed flyover continues
- Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth
- When can we have our flyover back?
- Wycombe has become a concrete wasteland
- Murky world of local elections..
- Is it time to get out of Europe?
- Is the High Street becoming a Low Street?
- Bringing back our lost A&E to Wycombe
- Buying on the never-never
- How many are in food poverty?