1444 aka “Cheeky Girl” on the left with the pink nose
Meet 1444, known to us as “Cheeky Girl”. If you were in the paddock alongside me, she would certainly want to meet you. As a calf, a yearling and now, a mature cow, Cheeky Girl’s always been one of the first in the herd to wander up to you in the paddock. You’re busy working on the fence, you turn around to see who’s sniffing you and there she is, every time!
Vegan group, Voiceless, today launched an “expose” of cruelty to Australian dairy cows called The Life of the Dairy Cow: A Report on the Australian Dairy Industry. Continue reading
Not quite monsoon weather
I’m writing this post hoping to be embarrassed by calling this a flop of a monsoon trough. Earlier in the week, we were promised 5 inches of rain by now but we’ve clocked up about a tenth of that in five days of drizzle with perhaps an inch or so supposedly delayed in traffic still to come. Not that I would ever look a gift horse in the mouth, of course!
The gift of a good soaking in summer is precious indeed. We don’t irrigate here so rely totally on what falls from the heavens and our farm is set up to make every drop count. The silver lining of greater climate volatility is more summer downpours. We have sown deep-rooted perennial pastures, including the heat-loving tall fescue and cocksfoot, throughout the farm. These pastures respond almost instantly to rain in summer and increase our resilience to an increasingly tricky climate.
Bring it on!
“If your New Year resolution is to be happier, make your priorities fruit, nature, sun and sleep.”
This simple prescription for a happy life stems from Otago University research reported in the NZ Herald this morning. Sounds a lot like farm life, doesn’t it?
From all of us here on the farm, have a wonderful 2015!
Before we say goodbye to 2014 though, I’d like to pay tribute to our wonderful fellow Landcarer, Margaret Ferguson, who helped us plant trees this summer and tragically lost her life in a farm accident this month. I still can’t believe this magnificent lady is gone but she would be delighted to see how well our trees have already grown.
The trees arrived in September
The grass was sprayed to give the plants a head start
We finished planting in the first week of October
Giving the trees a helping hand when it got dry was noisy work
Look how much they’ve already grown: the same trees on Boxing Day 2014
RIP Margaret. We miss you.
RIP Margaret Ferguson: a passionate fellow Landcarer (Photo courtesy of Kaye Proudley)
Meet our newest family member, Dixie the divine.
Yesterday, the cows were in the house paddock for the first time since Dixie came to live with us and they were intrigued to meet her, lining up by the horse paddock and bobbing their heads in astonishment at the strange “brown cow that whinnies”.
The stars of the show line up to meet the new Queen
It was a misty, drizzly morning and while the cows and Dixie were separated by perhaps 50 metres of paddock, the effect was magnetic. Dixie whinnied. The ladies mooed. And so on for a good half hour. Continue reading
We know we are not perfect, we realise we must do better and we are proud of how far we have come.
Our cows live better lives than they did when I was a girl. Careful breeding has reduced the incidence of mastitis and lameness, while a new understanding of bovine nutrition has reduced the risk of calving trouble and helped us insulate the cows from the impact of both drought and flood. Our first generation of naturally polled (hornless) calves has just been born.
Even so, dairy farmers will one day earn a prime-time feature for all the wrong reasons. It could be someone doing the right thing that looks like the wrong thing: Continue reading