With Meadow gone the dairy is down to just 12 milking cows, the lowest number we’ve had for about eight years we think. The demand for milk has never been greater and we know there are many more people in the local area who we could be supplying. We would like to buy some more cows in the spring when they’re back outside grazing the pasture; there just isn’t enough silage around this winter to feed any extra heads at the moment. The cost of buying in extra silage and straw is so high that there’s not much justification to increasing our numbers as yet from a financial point of view. Things will look better in the spring, and running out of our own silage may become a thing of the past for the dairy herd now that the dairy has merged with North Aston Farm. There should be more acreage available for them to graze in the summer if required, and more of the high-yielding, early-cut spring silage for them to feed on in the winter now that we’re no longer a small business with just 40 acres of land, but a part of a much larger farm with 900 acres of land.
Raindrop, an Ayrshire milker calved last week and another Ayrshire, Leah is not far away from calving, so the milk yields are about to increase from the winter lull we had in January. The 12 cows we have are certainly earning their keep, it’s been a monumental effort by the girls over the past year and they’re producing between them on average 185 litres a day. This works out at a much higher average per cow than in years gone by when it may have taken 14-16 cows to produce 185 litres. Much of this is down to the three Friesian cows we bought in 2019 - Belinda, Darla & Maisie. They are milking behemoths! far out performing the majority of the rest of the herd. But one thing we would like to address in the future is the balance between the Ayrshire and the Friesian numbers. We may have become a bit too reliant on the Friesians recently. The higher quality and better flavoured milk that the Ayrshire’s bring is a big selling point we might be losing (It’s not just about the quantity!) We’re certainly on the lookout for an organic farm that might be willing to sell us some Ayrshires in the spring (‘we know a guy, who knows a guy…’). Looking further ahead, we’ve got some Ayrshire replacements growing up in the herd who are destined to become milking cows, and now that it’s become a lot easier to find Ayrshire bulls where we can chose the sex of the calf, we’re going to inseminate one or two of our best Friesian girls with an Ayrshire seed, to create some crossbred offspring. Their young could conceivably give us the best of both worlds - quality and quantity. And for the purists… at least their children’s children will become Ayrshire!
We hope you enjoyed the meat from Meadow, there is a small amount left in the freezer if you would like to order again (please click on the link below to see what’s available, and email us with your request) Some of the meat is curing to make Bresaola which we hope will be ready in early March.