Winter Time on Blagdon Farm
Posted by Andy- Farm Manager at the Blagdon Estate
Leaves are crunching under foot, trees are bare and frost has started to decorate our fields. Although the countryside is looking sleepy we are busy behind shed doors. Our Blagdon Estate dairy cows, nearly 140 of them, are tucked away inside for the winter. Although you may think it is bit of a crowd inside, our girls love it. Really they are just like fussy females; they want to be kept inside where we can be at their beck and call, looking after them 24/7. The happier our beautiful cows are, the better the milk and ultimately the better the Northumberland Cow’s milk cheeses, so it’s in all of our interests!
It’s becoming increasingly important for people to know where their food is from and how far it has travelled. A little buzz word that flies around; Food Miles. It’s important for us as well; our provenance makes us who we are today. In fact the dairy cows graze on the same fields where the whey from the cheese making process is spread. This by-product of cheese production adds vital nutrients to the grass, saves on fertiliser and creates luscious fields for grazing. A full circle if you like.
Jacks the Dairy Manager at Northumberland Cheese with one of the Winter Calves
At the moment the cows are milked twice a day for about 5 minutes each time; we don’t ask them for more than they give and they usually get bored and wonder off after a few minutes! It is a one man operation at the farm so he has to be quick getting the milk. In the winter, when they are kept indoors we get a much larger milk yield because they are not wasting energy trying to stay warm in the rain and wind. We drive the bulk tank (down the lane!) to the Cheese Farm about 3 or 4 days a week to provide the Cheesemaker’s with the milk to make the 13 different cheese’s that use Blagdon Milk. This week we delivered 5800 litres of milk. The perks of the job as the Farm Manager are that I get to enjoy my favourite Northumberland Oak Smoked Cheese in return for getting the milk there on time!