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Hanging up the hammer – Woodton auctioneer begins new life as a dairy farmer

PUBLISHED: 17:13 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:15 14 September 2017

Former auctioneer Rebecca Mayhew have started a micro diary selling raw milk from Jersey cows. Picture: Nick Butcher

Former auctioneer Rebecca Mayhew have started a micro diary selling raw milk from Jersey cows. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

A former auctioneer has found instant success after embarking on a new career as a dairy farmer.

The Jersey cows of Old Hall Farm. Picture: Nick Butcher The Jersey cows of Old Hall Farm. Picture: Nick Butcher

Rebecca Mayhew, of Old Hall Farm in Woodton, was inspired to pursue the venture following a trip to Scotland to visit a friend’s farm.

So much so – she decided to bring a cow back.

Mrs Mayhew said: “We have a running joke in the family that we are always running out of milk – so we decided we would make our own.”

The raw milk proved instantly popular among family friends who quickly wanted to know how they could purchase it in the future.

Rebecca Mayhew and her Jersey cows. Picture: Nick Butcher Rebecca Mayhew and her Jersey cows. Picture: Nick Butcher

Encouraged by such comments, the herd has steadily increased to nine since the first arrived in November 2016 - with the farm now producing a variety of flavoured milk, including vanilla, chocolate, blueberry and coffee.

Mrs Mayhew said: “The higher fat in Jersey milk gives a richer and creamier taste.”

From humble beginnings the farm is now producing between 80 and 90 litres of milk a day – all of which is bottled by hand.

Each morning the cows are called into the barn, one at a time, fed and milked via a portable milking machine.

Rare Jersey calf twins - Brian and Bonnie. Picture: Nick Butcher Rare Jersey calf twins - Brian and Bonnie. Picture: Nick Butcher

While the cows could produce 
20 litres-a-day the farm take 
less to ensure plenty is available for the calves they rear with 
the cows.

Mrs Mayhew said: “It’s more of a symbiotic relationship. Good for the calves. Good for the cows. Good for us.

“We want to get people interested in food. We are proudly Norfolk and want people to remember where their food comes from.”

The farm produces milk and cream and soon will be adding butter and cheese to their 
dairy repertoire.

Currently the products are sold at their own farm shop, situated just off the Norwich Road. The store is unmanned and operates through a mixture of refrigerated vending machines and an honesty box system.

There are plans in place to add a café to the location and sell locally-sourced produce which Mrs Mayhew hopes will transform the location into a “food hub for the community”.

For more information visit: www.oldhallfarm.co.uk

Brian and Bonnie

Two weeks ago Old Hall Farm experienced a rare phenomenon when it welcomed the birth of a pair of twin calves.

Overcoming a difficult birth Brian and Bonnie, while still small, are happy and healthy.

Previous scans suggested only one calf was being born so the twins were a surprise to all.

Brian came first but as his head repeatedly slipped back it made for a tricky birth. Bonnie followed yet she was at an even higher risk after managing to get herself upside down in the womb.

Despite receiving only a 50pc chance to live, both have survived and are currently being nurtured by their doting mother.

Mrs Mayhew revealed one of the highlights of her experience as a dairy farmer has been the opportunity to interact so closely with them.

She said: “It’s been a privilege getting to know all of the cows, they are all extremely maternal and protective.”

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