Archive for May 2009

>Turning the cows out for the summer

>Yesterday was a big day. I guess for the more experienced livestock farmer this is just another season, but being our first it has its significance!
Preparing your animals for turn out is complicated, in fact it feels very complicated. We had three separate groups. Our mothers with calves who were wintered in the shed, the young bulls who we weaned off their mothers early winter and had to be kept away from females and indoors who were in another part of the shed, AND the heifers and open cows who spent the winter on the hill. Incidentally the girls who spent the winter out look much better than those who spent it under shelter.
The last few weeks have been spent;

  • introducing all three groups to electric fencing
  • getting them used to moving between different areas in the farm
  • worming all three groups
  • introducing the non mothers to the mothers (a little bit of physical assertion determining Top Cow ensued – briefly)
  • Vaccinating (yesterday) – cows get routinely vaccinated for, Blackleg – a horribly aggressive Clostridial infection that can appear from nowhere, Bovine Viral Diarrhoea which affects the unborn calf and Leptospirosis which can cause abortions and sickly calves amongst other issues.

Having run the first round of vaccinations we turned the herd out into its newly prepared field that had been divided into small paddocks. The grass looks wonderful, lush green and full of buttercups and the cows dived straight in to their first meal of fresh summer grass, it was a pleasure to watch. We will be moving them onto fresh grass every day to 2 days, and will be adjusting the size of the paddocks as we go along trying to ensure an even grazing pattern.

>DEFRA continues in its quest for Trust…

>Once again DEFRA proves that it can be trusted. Having announced earlier this year that UK stocks of Bluetongue vaccine were to be sold to Europe and that new stock would have to be purchased at full market price. Prompting many of us to order early. DEFRA have now announced that they will be dumping stock in the UK at 50% discount. Once again our politicians prove that the rules that apply to ordinary businesses do not apply to this government.
Where any business organisation to announce a stock clearance with all stock to be cleared, and any future stock to be sold at a higher price…only to then halve the price of that product. Trading Standards would have a field day. Especially if this were a market defining retailer.
However DEFRA feels that it can drive sales of Bluetongue vaccine on the back of an announcement that prices will increase, only to cut prices when it finds that the former strategy has cleared the shelves.The ethical sales strategy would have been to discount to clear.The result of this exercise is that responsible farmers that have already ordered their vaccine are being penalised.

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