'Not everyone has bank holidays off': Farmers need a break too says this dairy man
This week sees a return to work after the long Bank Holiday weekend for many people, except for those of us in the farming occupation.
Recently I listened to a few dairy farmers talking about how lucky they are if they can get a few hours off on a Sunday. The workload this time of year is enormous. Some days morning milking followed by feeding calves can soon run into evening milking again very quickly.
I read last week's article from Darragh McCullough about trying to milk cows with less stress. Of course it made sense. We, the farmers, have to make the necessary changes - and not have a situation where the cows are changing us.
We all have at least doubled in cow numbers from a few years ago when our fathers were milking. And, as the simple saying goes, 'more cows, more work'.
For many of us we have come out the other side of a busy spring, we should now write down when it is still fresh in our minds what went right and what went wrong this spring and try and do something about the issues for next year. Now that the show season has begun we should take advantage of a trip or a day away.
One positive and negative issue for me this spring, and I can't do anything about it, was that I had the seventh set of twin calves last week. That is seven out of 78 cows calved. Never before had I so many. Thankfully all twin calves were born healthy and well.
The negative side being it wrecks the cow. The cows have to be watched carefully with retained cleanings as stomach problems can develop. I treated them all with Betamox antibiotics and wash outs. There are eight cows left to calve. These have all been outdoors since early April with pre-calver licks.