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A Day in the Life of a Dairy Cow

From Friesian to farmer, there is a lot that is forgotten when it comes to the process of field to fridge, so we asked those working tirelessly to put a pint on our table to give us a little insight to this viable industry… 

Puxton Farm

Nelly the Friesian lives and works on Puxton Farm producing top-quality milk all year round. We asked her a little bit more about her ‘9–5’… 

Tell us a little bit about your home and office… 

“Here at Puxton our herds people look after my friends and I all 365 days a year to make sure we are kept in tip-top condition to produce 100% organic milk. This means that when the grass is sweet and tasty, and the sun is shining, we love nothing more than being outside grazing. When we have come towards the end of our milking year we also graze at night and sleep under the stars. Though when weather is wet and cold we like to be in our purpose-built dairy shed with individual cubicle spaces with mattresses and fresh bedding.” 

Where do you rest your head at night? 

“Being born at Puxton Court Farm, this is our home and where we rest each night, whether it be indoors or out. With our friends and family close by, including our calves, we are nice and relaxed to produce rich nutritious milk.” 

What’s is your favourite fodder and how does your diet affect your milk?  

“We like nothing more than eating fresh spring grass with the sun on our backs. Although by late Summer, the grass can reduce in nutrients, so our farmers conserve different forage like grass and maize when its at peak condition so we can feed on this in the Winter months. If our diet isn’t kept in fresh peak conditions, we will produce less milk so our food is checked monthly by a specialist nutritionist.” 

Do you calf all year round? 

“To produce milk all year round we also produce a calf once a year, and the process of milking keeps us stimulated and relaxed to carry on milking. Together with the other cows in the herd we total 150 head so roughly every other day there is new life on the farm. Within the herd, we are not all black and white pedigree Holstein cows; some of our friends are brown, cuter and smaller. This is the Jersey breed, who on our farm are known as the Jersey Girls for producing the milk to make ice cream at Puxton Park.” 

When do you get a rest from work? 

“After calving for 305 days, we are milked twice a day at 5.30am and 3.30pm. In between milkings we are free to eat loathe and more importantly rest. We can lay and chew our cud for up to 18 hours a day. In the later stages of pregnancy our farmers will dry us off and we stop milking for 2 months so we can rest up to be fresh and ready for our next lactation.” 

What happens to your milk once it leaves the milking parlour? 

“As our milk is harvested it is filtered and cooled to 4 degrees celcius to keep it fresh in our dairy tank. From there it could have up to three different destinations; over 50% of our organic milk is utilised on the farm to produce Trethowan’s Dairy Caerphilly Cheese and most tasty of all, our Jersey Girl ice cream sold exclusively here at Puxton Park where you can come and have fun at our Adventure Park and see me and all of my friends. Our surplus milk is then sold off-farm to the likes of Coombe Farm Organics.” 

Dairy Weekend at Puxton Farm 

As we are an inquisitive animal by nature we like nothing more than people coming to say Hello to us. One of our favourite times for this is at our fun-filled dairy weekend taking place on 1 & 2 September. We’ll have the opening of our newest dairy barn in memory of Derek Mead where our new born calves are housed.

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West Country FOODLOVER is a print magazine and news based website offering a foodie’s guide of what’s hot across the South West. We inspire foodies with great seasonal recipes, competitions, news and events. The magazine, website and newsletter reach more than 128,000 foodies each issue.