What a load of muck!
We muck out the cows every eight weeks or so because, as the straw bedding builds up, it starts to heat. This extra warmth increases the risk of mastitis because more bugs breed on the bedding. Nick and Andrew will start work at 5.30am so that as soon as Stewart starts milking, they can begin mucking out. We normally clean out one side per morning which takes about three hours and doesn't disrupt the cows' routine as most of the action takes place while they are being milked. The cows are shut out in the feed passage to keep them out of the way and once we have finished, fresh straw is used to bed them up. They absolutely love it and go a bit loopy when they first get back on to their beds, rather like having fresh linen sheets at home I suppose!
We dump the muck outside in the midden and when it is dry enough to travel, we take it to the fields and tip it in long windrows. Keeping it turned and aired is important to create the right type of compost. Soil likes a live compost and that means plenty of aeration - the more oxygen in it the better the quality.
We currently have 25 acres of Miscanthus (Elephant Grass) growing on the farm. It is an energy crop and will soon start a 3rd growing season when it should reach 12 feet in height. We will burn it for heating and hot water which should help to further reduce our carbon footprint.
On Saturday, St Valentine's Day, we held a hedge laying event down here. A length of hedge, that was planted about 10 years ago, was laid by about 40 people, each covering a 10-12 yard section. It's always a great spectacle as well as a social event and a chance for representatives from different parts of the country to display their varying trademark styles.
Wednesday, April 01
beautiful cows, glad to know they are happy!
Monday, May 11
I have just found this great forum with the subject on the organic farming . http://www.organic-farming.org
Great ways to eat only good and healthy food. To prepere yourself for upcoming years of hunger.
There are arround 1000 members and 10000 of threads for you to read and participate in most likely
one of the biggest problems on earth!