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News from the farm...

Every month we write a newsletter which we send to our regular dairy customers, as well as subscribers to our mailing list. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, please click here.

December 2020 Newsletter

Happy Veganuary!

Only joking… or are we? Could 2021 be the year the dairy branches out into oat milk? The farm already grows oats in the village, so why not? And what could be better for the environment than a locally produced product in returnable glass bottles from a mixed farm that does arable and livestock on a crop rotation? With the possibility of some of our orders switching to oat milk in times to come, this could mean there’s less of a burden on the cows to meet our demand. They could lead a more relaxed life, not needing to be pushed too intensively all of the time to produce the maximum amount of milk required. It would need a lot of investment on the processing side of the business for this to become a reality and maybe a new building too, but it’s something definitely under consideration…one for the future perhaps.

Happy New Year!

We would like to start the year with some good news, but not all has been well with the herd of late. We’ve had a few cases of mastitis (not at all uncommon for this time of year) but Margaret’s had a serious bout of it over Christmas. She lost a lot of condition and wasn’t eating so she needed a couple of rounds of treatment and a visit from the vet. The treatment’s worked and she’s improving every day but sadly she isn’t producing a lot of milk. She’s at the start of her lactation and we would expect her to be one of the highest yielding cows at the moment, but unfortunately she’s one of the lowest. Luckily her illness came at a time when milk orders were very low and no-one’s had to go without milk just yet. But this has meant we haven’t been able to make any ice cream over Christmas as there was no milk or cream to spare. Once the holidays are over and all of the businesses we supply re-open, it’s going to be a struggle to keep up with demand and to make up for Margaret’s low yield.

Further to this, more concerns for the future include being informed that our next round of TB testing (due next month) will involve blood tests for the cows. There are two types of tests for TB; skin tests and blood tests. Historically the majority of our tests have been skin tests (and always come back negative). Just twice in the dairy’s history have the cows been required to give blood tests and each time it’s been a death sentence for about 20% of the herd. Some of our cattle were culled in the past due to positive blood tests, autopsies were then performed on these animals and no traces of TB were to be found. It’s been several years since our last round of blood tests; let’s hope during this time the test has improved, as to not give out so many false positives!

On to some good news… We have a new delivery vehicle, a fully-electric van. This will of course make your delivered goods from us even more environmentally friendly as the van has zero-emissions. Oats maybe some way off, but the business’s bid to become more modernised has taken a step closer with this mode of transportation. The van doesn’t have the largest range though, and it was a little nerve-racking taking it out for a spin to Wolvercote for the first time, but we’re glad to report it made it back to the farm safely and with seven miles left in the ‘tank’.

Last month we said our goodbyes to Meadow, a retired Friesian cow who could no longer produce milk. Meadow was the first Friesian the dairy bought way back in 2012 as it became more difficult for us to find organic farms willing to sell us Ayrshires. There were some initial worries she might not get on with the rest of the herd, being the odd one out. But she was quite the character and straight away fitted in with the Ayrshire girls. She could be mischievous at times and during her youth she didn’t show much respect to the electric fences. In the years since Meadow arrived, the dairy has bought six more Friesian cows, so she was definitely the trailblazer. Thankfully the other six aren’t quite so roguish.

We hope to have the mature beef available from the 14th January and we’ll send out an email for meat orders once it arrives. If you would prefer to pre-order something before the email goes out, please do get in touch sooner with your request. The mature beef options are listed in the link below. If you would like some meat before the 14th we have plenty of frozen rose veal at the moment, again the options for rose veal are found in the link.

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Season’s greetings! Warning - the newsletter is slightly longer than usual this month, but we felt we had a lot of important things to say, so you may want to make yourself a cuppa before starting. Ba


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