What do cows eat?

I can’t find much information on the websites of major retailers about the farms they source their milk from. Most of what is available makes reference to high welfare standards but lacks any real detail. Similarly, when it comes to how the cows are managed and, in particular the contribution from grazing, there is little…

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Healthy fats in milk

The French public research institute, Institut Nationale de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) has produced some interesting findings on healthy fats in milk. Researchers in the INRA-INSERM-University Aix-Marseilles Joint Research Unit for Human Nutrition and Lipids: Bioavailability, Metabolism and Regulation, wished to compare the effects on the cardiovascular risk of two types of dairy fats: those…

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Out-wintering cattle

I attended a very interesting meeting at Kinston Maurward College today, which was all about out-wintering cattle. The meeting was run by the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), based at The University of Aberystwyth. There were two excellent farmer presentations from Clyde Jones and Chris Barnes, who shared their experiences of out-wintering…

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Eat Wild

I stumbled upon this website www.eatwild.com which contains some interesting points about pasture-fed livestock. It has been set up by a New York Times best-selling writer called Jo Robinson, author of a book called ‘Pasture Perfect’. The website is very much about farming and food production in the USA but she presents some interesting findings…

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British Grassland Society

I attended the Pasture to Profit Conference held near Worcester last November. It was a really stimulating gathering, even though I don’t run a spring calving herd along the lines of a New Zealand style system. Several of the speakers highlighted the potential to produce milk form grass and there are lessons we can all…

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Open Farm Sunday 2012

Promoting our farming and our milk is essential if we are to win the support of UK consumers. LEAF have been running Open Farm Sunday for the last seven years and it provides a fantastic opportunity to instil value in our farms and our cows. This year Open Farm Sunday takes place on June 17th.…

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Christmas update

Dear All Just to say I received another 39 printed survey FRD returns today, taking us to around 300 in total. It is really rewarding to find the odd hand written note stapled to survey forms actually saying “thank you – I think what you are doing is great”. HAPPY CHRISTMAS and thank again to…

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Fair Trade

The following from The Independent illustrates what might be achieved through building a better understanding of the way in which we farm. Although it would appear that shoppers have tightened their purse strings and switched to cheaper alternatives in some instances, they are demonstrating strong loyalty to Fairtrade products. This is exactly what I hope…

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Moving towards a brand

One or two people have asked me how I plan to get milk from Free Range Dairy farms collected, processed and distributed. But, it is important to understand that, in the first instance, Free Range Dairy is a movement rather than a brand. I want farmers to join this movement because they believe that pasture-based…

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Survey out now!

The survey is out now and we are already receiving many responses. The survey is available both online and as a printed form to be returned via freepost. Look out for an insert in this month’s British Dairying, your next National Milk Records, the January issues of Dairy Farmer and South West Farmer. It doesn’t…

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Survey coming soon

Somerset Farmer wants others to help reclaim the value of milk Neil Darwent, a dairy farmer from Frome in Somerset, has recently established a new farmer-led initiative to reclaim the value of milk for UK dairy farmers. Through Free Range Dairy, he is seeking to unite thousands of milk producers who still operate a pasture-based…

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Bringing in the herd

The other day, the 9th of November, we brought the last of milking herd indoors for the winter. After nearly eight months of grazing, it wasn’t a lack of grass or freezing temperatures that made our herd head indoors, it has simply got too wet for the ground to carry them. Those lazy hazy days…

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Unfit mothers?

I was interested to read in a recent edition of International Dairy Topics (Practical information for progressive dairy professionals) that modern day dairy cows are failing to provide milk of a suitable quality for feeding their offspring. According to Neil Birkett of Rosebeck Services, “The excess fat in cow’s milk is difficult to digest and…

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