Dairy farmers have so much to be positive about - it's amazing that we get to wake up in the morning and actually produce food for people to eat.
Our farm is in Somerby, Leicestershire, and I do like to walk the fields, see the views across to Owston Wood and the spire of Tilton Church as the cows graze on the ancient grassland. Our farm is in the Countryside Stewardship and Entry Level Stewardship schemes, which means we work to encourage the wildlife, habitat and ecology on our farm. Alama Bank is a famous hillside on our farm, home to rabbits, fox and moles!
My husband Mark and I have 120 Ayrshire cows and their milk is used to produce (the world-famous) Stilton cheese. There are also two bulls - the proud fathers of some of our calves, which we either rear to enter the milking herd or sell at the local cattle market.
I'm passionate about the work we do and try to tell that story to as many people as I can. I often give talks or run school visits in the local area and beyond to share stories about on the running of the farm. I get questions about anything and everything - from the fat content of milk (I like to point out that whole milk is only 4% fat!) through to how early milking starts (5am, usually!) and the names of the calves (a favourite with school children).
Like many dairy farmers I do like technology. We were one of the first farms to use QR codes (a web address condensed into a code that you can scan with a smartphone) on our cows. We used white spray paint (animal friendly, of course) on Lady Shamrock, one of our calmest, but most attention-seeking, cows. She quite enjoyed it, you can see the results in the News article about Lady Shamrock.
I'm taking a cue from Shamrock and recently started my own blog where I write about life on the farm - so far topics have included a film crew coming onto the farm to discuss the weather; a cow jumping the fence; and drilling for water (and finding it!).
One thing's for sure: dairy farming is never dull.
Other updates from Jane Barnes
March on the farm
we've finally turned out our cows during the day. With the spring sunshine on their backs...Read more
Farming down Under
G'day folks. This is my first post for 2014 from Down Under.....Read more
Lighting a spark on November 5th
Living on a farm really gives you a sense of the changing seasons and feeling close to nature...Read more