When the north wind doth blow...

Margaret Finlay: It’s not just dairy cattle here at Rainton, we also have a flock of about 500 sheep, mostly Scotch Mule ewes - a cross between a Scottish Blackface ewe and a Blue Faced Leicester tup. The crossbred ewe is supposed to embody the best bits of the each breed - hardiness and good natural mothering, and prolificness with good milk production respectively. The southwest of Scotland where the farm is located, is generally accepted to have a ‘maritime’ climate, with cool summers and mild winters - warmer and wetter than the east is a common description. Not this March.

22 April 2013 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 3

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!

Margaret Finlay: The Rainton dairy project has hit its first major hurdle. The calves from the autumn calvers have demonstrated that although 10 to 15 litres of milk a day is more than enough for them - and up to 10 litres a day more than they would get in some conventional rearing systems - they will drink as much as the cow can produce. Based on the milk production records for the individual cows from last year, this can be up to thirty litres a day in some cases!!

08 April 2013 | 11 Comments | Recommended by 4

The white stuff...

Margaret Finlay: It’s hard to believe that the first calf born in to our new system is now nearly three and a half months old! Normally dairy calves would find themselves taken away from their mothers within 48 hours of birth, confined to a small pen for the first couple of weeks of life, and then mixed with at least five or six other calves of the same age in larger pens. But the 36 calves born here over the past few months are still enjoying having milk on demand as they grow up side-by-side with their mothers.

26 February 2013 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 12

A journey of a thousand miles…

Margaret Finlay: Here at Rainton Farm, home of Cream o’ Galloway ice-cream in south west Scotland, we’re adopting an entirely new method of dairy farming. I’ll be blogging about some of the experiences we’ve had (and continue to have!) on our family farm. It became increasingly clear to us that the UK agricultural industry faces many challenges which will only increase in potential threat in future years. We are hoping to demonstrate that, in fact, there is another way...

31 January 2013 | 10 Comments | Recommended by 4

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