Spring is almost in the air here at Godminster Farm in Somerset, and we’re excited about the changes about to occur across the working farm. Producing our high quality organic cheese year round is a challenging task, as we have to look after our cows who calve twice a year. Additionally, we’re always growing crops, and harvesting fruit, berries and herbs for use in our flavoured vodka spirits.
As the days get longer and hopefully warmer, we can do a lot more outdoor work tending to the plants and animals. Here’s what we’ll be up to for the rest of the season…
In February, there are two very important jobs – weaning and weighing the autumn calves, while we start the second round of calving in spring. Calves that were born in autumn are weighed and weaned off their mother’s milk – we aim for them to weigh around 120kg. The spring calving commences around this time, so it’s always busy in the cattle house! We’ll be aiming to wean the spring born calves off milk by May.
Away from the cows there’s lots of work to be done out on the fields. Slurry is spread on the fields to promote grass growth, and the cereal ground is ploughed to make sure it’s suitable for the spring crops to be sown. Grass, cereal and pea vetches are sown in April.
We also make sure all the fields are fenced properly before the cows come out to graze on the new season’s pasture. If it is an early spring we let the cows out as early as the beginning of March – but at the moment we’re experiencing an unusual cold patch!
The spring calving season is usually finished by the end of April. It’s at this point where we make the most of the large supply of milk we have to make our delicious organic cheese. Over the summer, we give expectant cows a six week break from milking, before calving in the autumn.
Elsewhere on the farm there are lots of beautiful sights and noises to behold – from blossoming apple trees, happy roaming chickens and the rare sounds of the cuckoo bird. Want to find out more about the changing seasons at Godminster? Take a look at the about us section of the website.