We are one large family and we spend all of our time farming! We have been at Plurenden for 10 years now and our girls are happy to be offering their milk for sale from the farm-gate or by delivery.
Our milk is pasteurised but not homogenised so that the rich cream still rises to the top!
We believe that the creamiest tastiest milk comes from happy healthy cows that are allowed to graze all summer & are fed home-grown forage through the winter.
The farm is managed to ensure we are sustainable with the natural environment, whilst being as efficient as possible, this includes rearing all of our calves at home.
If you would like to know more get in touch or stop in at our shop. Why not bring your wellies and watch the milking!
The day starts at 5am when the cows are rounded up for milking which takes until around 10am. They are milked in groups depending on if they are high or low yielders with the fresh calvers separately.
Whilst the milking is being done the barns are bedded down with fresh straw and the cows daily feed is put out. Their diet is especially formulated by a nutritionist who makes sure that they all have the correct balance of minerals, energy, protein and fat for maintenance of the cow and milk production. The calves are fed on warm milk and hay and young stock are also fed.
During the middle of the day in the summer the cows go out to grass. This is the natural way for them to feed and make fresh milk!
Other jobs are carried out such as checking for cows that are bulling, scanning for pregnancy, routine vet visits, foot trimming & records keeping.
At the farm we grow all of our own forage feed - we cut grass 3 or 4 times a year for silage and we grow barley and maize for feed - so any cultivations or harvesting happens during the middle of the day.
The afternoon routine starts at 3pm and finishes at 7pm - the milking happens all over again and the calves are fed. Other jobs such as checking for new calves, topping up mineral supplements and general farm maintenance.
Last thing is the scraping out of the cow waiting yards, turning out the lights and saying night night to the ladies!
Firstly the cows - our herd calve in all year round and are milked 365 days a year twice a day so the daily routine continues...
Outside in the fields however...
Spring time we are busy cultivating the soil - we have heavy ground here so we avoid ploughing and disc cultivate the ground, this also helps to maintain the soil structures. We are also busy spreading lots of manure on the ground- recycling! The manure is full of all the goodness to make the crops grow well without artificial fertilizers.
We plant Barley to harvest as a Whole crop with the grain and the Maize which must be planted by the beginning of May.
As the ground dries up in April the cows are turned out to graze, the fields are grazed in a rotation so that the cows always have fresh grass.
At the end of May and June we cut our grass silage - the first cut has the best nutrition values. The grass is mown & left to wilt for a day before being collected with a Forage harvester which chops the grass and blows it in to a trailer. The grass is tipped in the yard and squashed to remove the air and then preserved under black sheets to ferment in to silage.
Over the summer months we buy straw from arable farmers so we are busy bailing and carting the bales home to store dry for bedding in the winter. We also fit in second and third cut of grass silage and if weather permits, a fourth!
Autumn arrives and we can start muck spreading again on grass land and cultivating the ground to sow new grass seeds - the grass lays only grow well for about 2-3 years so they need replacing. We also cut the maize with the forage harvester which we adapt with a big cutting header on the front - this chops the plants and feeds them in to the machine where it passes through a corn cracker- this as it suggests cracks the cobs on the plants so that they are digestible by the cows.
This chopped maize is then blown in to trailers and carted back to the yard again as with the grass, squashing and sealing in an air tight heap to ferment in to silage for the cows to eat.
Winter arrives and all the cows are housed inside now meaning the winter involves a lot of work in the yard keeping the cows clean, dry and well fed.
Often they are in the dry and warm and we are outside getting wet!