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"We all learnt a great deal about Farming - it helped the children to understand the idea of Farming more. A real hands on experience!"

By Reading School Year 4 teacher

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November

November

25 Oct 2016

It’s a beautiful autumn day. Newly planted grass in the field opposite glistens in the warm sun. Some leaves have fallen, while others hint at the glorious colours to come.  The plough struggles to turn over hard ground, ready for planting next year’s wheat crop. We have just got back from a short break in Wales. There it wasn’t Hurricane Mathew, but felt like it, as we walked around the Stackpole Estate near Tenby.  The sea was angry, delivering white foam to the high cliffs above. On the empty golden beaches, the sand shot blasted your face and hands. We eventually found an area of dunes and shelter to eat our lunch. In the distance and to our amazement, there was large flock of sheep, no, a herd of black and white cows grazing the cliff top on the horizon.

Our walk continued next to the ornamental lakes to the site of the main house.  Back in 1966 the owner of this huge and mainly derelict pad had put in plans to reduce its size.  When the council refused he knocked the lot down and sold the stone as hardcore for a new oil refinery.

Now on the home straight we set out on a wide red stone road. Either side were electric fenced grass paddocks.  They were lush and dense with white clover and not a hint of dock or thistle. Then nearly a mile up the road a steady stream of cows appeared at the end of the afternoon milking and 500 of them all in one mob.  Brothers Chris and Nigel James milk 1800 cows across four units on 1900 acres.  Their aim is simply to be amongst the lowest cost milk producers in the UK. They spring calve the whole herd with all milk produced from grass and a minimum use of concentrated food. All their milk goes at a premium because of its’ quality for mozzarella cheese, and their cows live a long time. I don’t think I have ever seen such well managed grassland, or cows which looked so well and content. And Wales was very beautiful.

John Bishop