December on the farm
December is a pretty quiet month for the gang at Hatton Farm. The fields are very wet now after a lot of rain this autumn so the cows and youngstock have been housed for a little while, and they are eating the silage we made over the summer.
We calve most of our cows in the spring so we have started to ‘dry off’ some of the earliest calvers, who will have about a two month break before they calve in February. Milking is a bit quicker as the cow numbers reduce, although there is plenty of feeding and bedding down for us to do, which takes up the extra time. We also make sure everyone takes some time off and we try to take the chance to catch up with some of the jobs that get neglected during busier times, like tidying the workshop! The number of milking cows will continue to reduce over the next couple of months until we start calving again in February.
Over Christmas we split the rota between us so everyone got some time off, but of course the cows still need to be milked, and fed and bedded, even on Christmas Day! We try to organise things on Christmas Eve so that we can get the work done really quickly on Christmas morning and get back to open those presents! At New Year the younger members of the team get New Years Day off so they can party in style on New Year’s Eve without worrying about starting at 5am for milking next day!
We celebrated a clear TB test just before Christmas, which is really good news. This will allow us to sell our Aberdeen Angus calves on to beef farms in the Spring, and hopefully means we have a healthy herd going into 2020.