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Making memories on the farm

Making memories on the farm

Competition winner Alison makes new memories together with her family.

A childhood farm visit is a memory that's stayed with Alison Melrose for 30 years. Winning a farm stay in our DiscoverDairy competition was the perfect opportunity to make new memories with her 4 year old daughter Kirsty and husband Andy. Here, she shares their experience at Laigh Tarbeg Farm in Cumnock, Ayrshire.

"On our arrival, we were shown to our room. After settling in, we went downstairs, and were given a lovely cup of tea and slices of delicious homemade fruit loaf before being taken on a tour of the farm.

Kirsty loved the calves as they were small like her – not as intimidating! She fed them and even named a few for the farmer. She also got to sit in a tractor and pretend to drive.

It was a fully-automated farm – very high tech, with laser-guided machines that could identify each cow and even tell if it was unwell or had already been milked. One cow tried to get extra food by walking into the milking pen and the machine lifted the food away!

I was surprised to learn that technology has mechanised almost every aspect of dairy farming at Laigh Tarbeg. Only the covering of silage using old tyres is done by hand. There was even a machine that pushed the silage up against the fence and within the cow's reach. It looked a bit like a Dalek from 'Doctor Who'!

Kirsty really enjoyed meeting the cows, and couldn't wait to tell the children and staff at her nursery all about her visit. She also took in some of the posters about a year in the life of a dairy farm, so her friends could learn where milk came from.

I would definitely recommend a farm stay. Not keen on farmyard smells? Well no worries here – there was no 'cow poo' smell (!) as even waste removal is automated. We had a lovely stay and would definitely go back if we are ever in the area again."

Congratulations again, Alison – we're glad you all enjoyed your stay.