I didn’t always know I would be a dairy farmer but I think it was probably something in me from the start!
As a child I would spend hours sat perfectly still in a pen with cows and calves just watching how they behave. Cows are such expressive animals, everything is written in their eyes; happiness, mischief, sometimes sadness if they don’t feel well.
We live in a lush green valley in South Wales so our cows graze out in the summer and are housed during winter months when the weather makes it too wet to graze and we currently have 180 dairy cows on our mixed family farm.
We milk two breeds of cows, half of them are your typical black and white Holstein Friesians and the other half is Dairy Shorthorns. I'm a bit sentimental about the Shorthorns since they have been in my family for over 4 generations. They are a rare breed and we work very hard here to preserve the purity of their breed for future generations. They are native to Britain and suited to our climate and grazing conditions. They give less milk than our black and whites but they are hardier and more fertile. We keep three bulls on the farm, my two homebred Shorthorn Bulls Bruno and Frank; and our Aberdeen Angus called Jock.
Being a dairy farmer is such a rewarding job, especially the breeding. With every calf born I think about their mother and their grandmother. I imagine how they will turn out as adult cows and how we shall work together as a team to produce milk for the future.
Welfare is high priority for us, we are a closed herd so we do not buy in any animals (other than Jock) for fear of bringing in any potential disease. I work very closely with my vet, nutritionist and foot trimmer to keep my cows happy and healthy which helps to provide all the lovely dairy products we all enjoy everyday!