Crunch time

The pastures are still green but they’re barely growing and, now, we must make hard decisions about what to feed and to whom.

Already, we’re feeding seven rolls of silage (each weighing about 800 kg) and a very hearty meal of grain to the milkers and if I want to keep the cows milking really well, I’ll need to step that up even more in the next few weeks. Any cow who is not producing at least 10 litres of milk per day is not paying her way. If she’s in calf, we will let her take a holiday. If not, we must sell her. Fortunately, the vast majority of cows are in calf, so we should be able to keep almost every one.

The reality that farm animals are working animals rather than pets is one of the hardest lessons of life but a valuable one, I think. Farm kids learn from an early age that the circle of life is inescapable but it is in a farmer’s power, though, to make every life a good one. What an awesome privilege.

4 Comments

Filed under Animal Health and Welfare, Cows, Farm

4 responses to “Crunch time

  1. When I was working on a kibbutz in Israel in 1980, the cows were milked 3 times a day with a record output of 52 litres in one day. However, I understand the milk had far less butter fat in it than the high quality milk I am sure your cows produce. Also they were kept in stalls all their life and never had the pleasure of pasture underfoot.

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    • milkmaidmarian

      The Israelis are amazingly adaptable people. I am often astonished by their ability to produce food in a desert. Would love to hear more, Libby!

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  2. Marian, I love your last paragraph – exactly how I feel. I had to sell a cow that was not falling pregnant today, and I was feeling really down. But having read your blog, and knowing that we do our very best to ensure quality of life for our animals, I feel a bit better!

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    • milkmaidmarian

      Thanks Dinki. It’s never nice for farmers to hand over an animal that we’ve tended with such care but every time I watch a wildlife documentary, I feel so proud that our cows live such wonderful lives.

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