Column: A catch up with the cows from Old Hall Farm

The cows at Old Hall Farm in Woodton. Picture: Nick Butcher.

The cows at Old Hall Farm in Woodton. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

It has been a very busy few weeks since I last wrote. The grass has been growing like the clappers, and it has finally stopped raining (for now), so we have been able to get the girls out to their summer pastures and take our first cut of haylage.

Rebecca Mayhew with her herd of cows. Picture: Nick Butcher

Rebecca Mayhew with her herd of cows. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Whilst it seems silly to be thinking of winter already, we have to be one (or preferably two), steps ahead and think about forage for the winter months. We are on quite heavy land (man’s land, as my father-in-law likes to call it) which means that it isn’t always suitable to put cattle out every day over winter – therefore, we need to preserve as much grass as possible for use when we can’t get the cows out to the fields.

One thing I have found since having Jersey’s, is that they can be a bit fussy about the weather. They like a nice temperate 20-22 degrees Celsius - anything hotter and they are unhappy and god forbid if it is cold and rains/snows! I’ve also discovered that my girls are happy to let themselves in if they feel that they’ve been outside long enough too – I was on the way to get them in on Sunday, and they met me coming down the yard.

We have had several new calves, including a second set of twins from one of our heifers (first time calvers), Sarah. Between now and November we have another 15 or so to calve, which by Christmas means that we will have almost doubled the size of our milking herd! The vertical learning curve isn’t getting any less sleep, but it sure is fun.

Work on our dairy building renovation behind the shop is finally under way, and we hope to have mooooved the girls over by September. This will enable our customers to see the cows every time they come to get their milk, and the hope is that this will prove popular and enable people to get a better understanding of our part of the dairy industry and agriculture in general.

It is also food festival season, and we have a few dates for your diaries: May 27 – Reepham Food and Drink Festival

• June 2 – Beccles Farmer’s Market

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• June 9 – Wyken Vineyards Farmer’s Market

• June 17 – Norwich Food and Drink Festival (including Battle of the Banger’s)

Of course if you can’t wait for these dates, our self-service farm shop is open every day from 7am until 9pm and if you have any queries in the meantime do call on 07900814252.