Wednesday, 5 May 2010
Organic Farm Walk, Guernsey Cows, No Local Abattoirs, Alternative Energy Generation
We went to this particular farm for a meeting of the Milk Academy that is organised by OMScO every couple of months for a number of organic milk producers to meet up and discuss various issues and to look at farms.
I have never attended these meetings before but today I accompanied the Farmer as we were going to go elsewhere afterwards.
There were half a dozen farmers, two chaps from OMScO and me. Very few wives go to any dairy producer meetings, but I always quite enjoy them and it is always fun to look around other farms. I knew most of the farmers today and they are good company. But a group of dairy farmers (and their wives), is surely the only gathering where a man can say 'I do like like the look of your udders!' and no-one bats an eyelid! We were standing in field surrounded by herd of lovely Guernsey cows at the time and yes, they did have good udders. Conformation of udders and backsides is a necessary topic of conversation in certain social situations.
The farm walk was interesting and seeing a herd of Guernsey cows was lovely. They are not very common. We had one Guernsey here when our boys were little, known as Ginger, who milked superbly for many years and produced beautiful calves.
After viewing the cattle, there was lot of discussion about grass crops and varieties of clover. Clover is the vital ingredient for organic farmers as it fixes nitrogen in the pasture. However, clover is is more temperature sensitive than grass and as a result of the very cold winter and now a cold spring the fields are rather sluggish in their growth and the crop may be very late in coming.
After walking through pastures we we then taken by the farmer whose farm we were visiting, through some beautiful oak woodlands which were just beginning to show signs of bluebells coming into flower. Another couple of weeks and they will be spectacular.
After yesterdays lovely sunshine it was disappointing today to be having to walk around in mist and drizzle and our drive home was through thick mist all along the coast. Not pleasant.
Yestetrday we took one of our Traditional Hereford beef animals to the abattoir near Tregaron. It is a very good small abattoir up in the hills of Ceredigion of a kind that is few and far between unfortunately. It is a pity that we have to make around trip of 40 miles to get to an abattoir; the Farmer's father only had to go about 4 miles, but as most small local abattoirs have been closed down thanks to the burden of paperwork and cost of up-grading to EU standards we have no choice in the matter.
The abattoir we use is very efficient and we will collect our beef in about 3 weeks time when it will have been hung well, butchered, packed and labelled for us.
The Farmer is just off out again to meeting in the village about alternative energy generation, which is something a lot of people locally are doing. We have a number of friends who are 'off grid' and generate all their own power by solar, wind and/or water. If we weren't milking it is something we would seriously consider, but with 7 motors running twice a day to milk the cows our electrity demands are too great. However, we may be able at some time to run the house &cottage off wind & solar power which would be marvellous.