Digging for milk

In my quest to produce more milk form grass I am going to really try and understand more about the grass we grow and the soils that feed it. So, today, I ventured out with my spade for a bit of an exploratory dig. Now, I’m no soil scientist, but I do know that looking…

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Cow dance

Word is some folks have turned their cows out to grass already and, hopefully, it won’t be long before a lot more follow on farms around the country. Can you remember how it feels – the warmth of the sun, the smell of the earth, the sound of grass been tugged by hungry mouths? All…

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Your milk under the microscope

At this week’s BGS / BSAS conference in Malvern, Mike Wilkinson from Nottingham University presented a paper titled “Trends and targets for milk from forage”, in which he highlighted how little milk actually comes from forage on many farms. Data collected from farms costed by Promar farm business consultancy showed that the average milk yield…

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What burgers should teach us.   BRITISH FARMERS     The problem we have had with all our milk and meat lately is we get paid a price below the cost of production. It’s about the whole farming industry. This has made us realise we have to engage much more with consumers if we are…

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Deception and perception

The horsemeat found in beef products throughout UK supermarkets may not have posed any significant risk to the health of those eating it, but it has caused widespread mistrust. The shocking findings by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have exposed how the demand for cheap food has resulted in consumers being deceived on a massive…

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Fantasy farming

  Imagine a dairy farm running 50 cows, which were milked once a day whilst their calves were left to suckle until they reached six to eight months of age, producing high quality milk and meat to be processed on farm and sold direct to local customers. The herd I have described above sounds very…

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New web page

We have now added a new page to the Free Range Dairy website. In the menu across the top of the Home Page you will now find a new tab marked ‘Pasture Promise’. Click on this to find out more about our Free Range Dairy standards, details of how you can sign up and some…

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We choose to have fertile cows

Whenever I go through our National Milk Records (NMR) reports, following monthly milk recording, I’m always grateful that we don’t seem to have any major problems with infertility in the herd – especially when I hear of the impact it is having on profitability on some farms. Our latest NMR fertility summary shows rolling 12…

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What a waste!

I was astounded to hear that as much as half of the food produced in the world does not reach people’s stomachs. According to a new report from the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) between 1.2 and 2.0 billion tonnes of food produced around the world never makes it onto a plate. The IME’s…

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New Year’s Resolutions

After one of the most difficult years in living memory, many dairy farmers will be wondering whether or not they will still be milking cows at the end of 2013 and who can blame them? The squeeze put on milk prices back in the early summer, dreadful weather and the continuing increase in input costs,…

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Proud to be Free

I now have Free Range Dairy farm signs available for anyone who wants to declare their commitment to grazing their cows. The signs incorporate the Free Range Dairy logo, our Pasture Promise logo and a simple line saying “Cows graze on our farm”. The cost of the signs is £15.00 each. However, for those that…

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Ben & Jerry’s Happy Cows

Several years ago I read about Ben & Jerry’s Caring Dairy Programme, which was launched in the Netherlands in 2003. This is a collaborative project involving Ben & Jerry’s, dairy farmers, cheese makers, research centres and the World Wide Fund for Nature. The programme set out 11 key indicators of sustainability for dairy farming. Now…

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