Here is what a day in the life of farmer Darren Bowles looks like during early Spring...
Thankfully it was one of the nicest days we've had so far! This year the weather has been quite interesting, the farmers and cows had to endure some crazy weather thanks to the 'Beast from the East'. Finally some sunshine peaked through the clouds and the cows were able to go out, check out our video on instagram @ivyhousefarmdairy to see them running into the fields.
The day starts pretty early for Darren, but seeing the sunrise over the beautiful landscape makes it a bit less painful.
At 5:00am Darren gets the cows in from the main yard and into the collecting yard, where they wait to be milked.
Whilst the cows are waiting, Darren scrapes the main yard so it is nice and clean for when the ladies leave the parlour. The milking takes a little while as they go in just 8 at a time and are welcomed by a little treat of organic cow cake (they are crazy for cow cake!) Each cow is milked for around 5 minutes, there is a sensor on each cluster which senses when there is no more milk coming out and the clusters the automatically detach from the udders making sure each cow is milked just so.
The parlour is then cleaned and both the cows and Darren have their breakfast, all by 9am! Now the weather is beginning to warm up and fields are drying out, they spend a few hours out in the fields each day, eating lots of grass and soaking up the sunshine. Once the weather gets a bit warmer the cows will be out to grass day and night.
Here is Darren enjoying breakie with Sarah, they were married just last month and had an amazing wedding reception on the farm!
At around 10 am it is time to go through the milking data on the computer, data is collected as the cows are milked so we can tell how much each cow is producing.
Now its time to put out new silage for the young stock and some fresh bedding too!
Then its time to check on the expectant mothers that are having a break in the maternity pen, they too need some new bedding. It's very important that they have a big comfy pile of straw to relax on.
Once all the cows have been fed, bedded up and checked on Darren goes on his lunch break!
On his return Darren refreshes the bedding for the heifers, has a walk around the fields to check on the growth of the grass and checks everything is ok all around the farm. He always takes time to make a fuss of his favorite cow Annabel (named after his little niece).
At 3pm it is time to think about the second (and final) milk of the day. The ladies are used to their routine and as soon as they see Darren they start heading back up the track towards the parlour. Darren rounds up the ladies and gets them safely into the collecting yard.
Whilst the herd are waiting to be milked it is time yet again to scrape the yard clean with the trusty old tractor.
After the yard is clean new bedding is put down in the sheds so the ladies have clean and comfy sheds to return to after all their hard work. The contraption below sprays straw out of the side as it drives past each bed.
Once the final milking of the day is finished and the parlour is clean Darren will have his dinner before returning to check on the cows last thing at night. A farmers work never ends!
Darren and Sarah live opposite Kim and Geoff on the farm, they love being surrounded by animals and have completely immersed themselves in the countryside. Darren and Sarah can’t wait to carry on the family business, continuing the work of Geoff and Kim. Darren says “Ivy House Farm is a home for happy Cows and great cream, I’m so proud of what my parents have achieved and I’m really excited to see how far the business can go”.