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  • Farm Sunday: June 01, 2008

Author Topic: Open Farm  (Read 4738 times)

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Offline Bob Horrocks

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Open Farm
« on: May 27, 2008, 11:44:58 am »
Bolton's Farm on Hawkshead Road, Little Heath is open to the public on Sunday 1st June 2008.  Open approx 10 am to 5 pm

See www.farmsunday.org for information.  Unfortunately the details given for Bolton's Farm give the wrong address and are to be corrected. 

Email: jamesc AT sentry.co.uk  (substitute '@' for'AT' - done to fool spammers)
Telephone: 07970 549040

Details TBC So far, ... Find out about how milk is produced.  Meet Henry the bull.  See the sheep and lambs.  Find out what the farm animals eat. Suitable for the whole family - especially the kids. Guided tours will run throughout the day Open approx 10-5

To help give us an idea of numbers please email james as above
« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 04:57:25 pm by Mermaid »
 

Offline sasquartch

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Re: Open Farm
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2008, 12:09:15 pm »
Is there an entrance fee ?
 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Open Farm
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2008, 04:36:44 pm »
 See www.farmsunday.org which suggests that there should be no entrance fee, although a donation box might be available. Bolton's Farm is part of the RVC.   So I assume it is free.  Yippee.

Last year Henry the bull was in the field at the back of our house and I am told he is a character.  There is quite a story as to how he came to the RVC.  He became ill and was brought to the RVC.  They got him better but the farmer did not want him back, so here he is!  Apparently he sulks if the 'girls' get more attention than he does.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 05:25:33 pm by Bob Horrocks »
 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Open Farm
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2008, 06:25:25 pm »
About 400 people went on conducted tours round Bolton’s Farm on 1st June.  The manager, Paul Christian, very kindly gave me a copy of the script used by guides to ensure you get the true facts!

After a general introduction, we walked through a ‘dip tray’ to ensure we did not carry any bugs or diseases which could affect the cows.  The first stop was for a demonstration of artificial insemination used to give the farm a choice to breed different traits into the herd like better feet and legs or quality of milk. 

The second stop was to see pregnant cows, new mothers and calves and Henry the bull.  He is a 7 year old Hereford, weighing about 1,250 kg’s.  The herd of 100 cows are up to 12 years old..  They were in the barn so we could see them, but normally they graze on the paddocks. The bedding is changed every day, using 2.5 tonnes of fresh clean straw each day.  (see picture)



The next stop was the Feed Storage, or silage clamps.  Silage is preserved / fermented food for feeding over the winter months.  The farm grows its own food and preserves it.  A cow will eat about 10 tonnes of food in the winter.  In the previous week the farm made about 1,000 tonnes of grass silage.

The farm has 125 acres of paddocks where cows graze during the day between April and September.   RVC students go to the farm to get hands on experience of foot trimming, calving, routine vet visits, pregnancy diagnosis, cattle nutrition, milking, bio security and heaps of other tasks and subjects. 

The next stop was the small but adequate milking parlour.  It takes about 3 hours to milk the cows and wash down.
Milking takes place twice a day at 5 am and 3 pm. Cows like to come into the parlour in a particular order and often choose their preferred stand.

We then went to the milk storage room where it is stored at low temperature.  The tank holds 5,300 litres of milk which is collected every other day, or daily when lots of milk is being produced.  Farmers get about 23 pence per litre, making a loss of about 4p per litre.  About 6 dairy farmers cease business every week.   Farmers are lobbying Government and supermarkets constantly in an attempt to change this.

BOLTONS PARK has plans to bottle and market its own milk and produce associated products, with strong interest from local businesses.  In terms of food miles if a family in Brookmans Park drank Bolton’s Farm milk the distance that food will have travelled may be as low as 1 mile! 

Paul told me that some adults do not know where milk comes from. Maybe one of these pictures will give a clue.

A big thank you to Paul, his staff and the students who enabled us all to find out what is going on at one of our local businesses.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2008, 10:34:38 am by Bob Horrocks »
 

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