We are very proud to still be a working organic dairy farm, and we hope you enjoy seeing our dairy herd and learning a bit about what we do 365 days a year. From April to October you will be able to see our cows out at pasture enjoying grazing and hopefully some nice weather. You might also spot them coming in and out for milking time in the morning and afternoon. Then there’s the calves in the calf shed, our future dairy herd and a very important part of what we do, and a must for anyone visiting our farm.
Our milk is used by the Tootsies team in their ice cream which is available in the farm shop – a great way to learn and enjoy the field to fork journey.
Have a look at this video made by the NFU to say Thank you for backing British Farming, we’re in the video, see if you can spot us.
Day to Day….
The farm day starts at the crack of dawn with the 5am milking, long before the Farm Shop, Cafe and Playbarn are open. The cows come into the parlour 24 at a time (12 each side) we currently milk around 110 cows every morning and then again at 4.30pm. The calves are then fed milk at about 7am, whilst the parlour is cleaned down ready for the night time milking, and once all the cows have been fed, watered and checked then its breakfast time.
After a well-earned breakfast, we can then start the rest of the jobs on the farm including caring for the animals, looking after the herd, crops, working with machinery, building and maintenance work around the farm yard or farm paperwork. Take a look at the latest BLOG from the farm with this months update. The Farm operates 365 days a year, with a 5am start on Christmas Day, New Years Day, on their Birthdays etc. We even check on the cows at night time to check everything is well.
At 4.30pm every day the cows are milked for a second time. Everyone visiting is welcome to visit the dairy viewing gallery where you can see the milking parlour in action.
From here you have an excellent view of the parlour, this also gives children the opportunity to see where their daily milk comes from.
Organic Farming – what’s it all about?
Organic farmers aim to farm with the least ecological damage, to conserve and enhance wildlife and land. Many non-organic farmers also have a similar approach, but organic farming is enforced by strict rules making sure that every part of the farm is organically run.
These rules are called Organic Standards, and are laid down in the law. Anything you buy labelled as “Organic” must legally meet the required standard, and all organic farms must be registered with a certifying body. Old Holly Farm is registered with the Soil Association.
A Soil Association inspector will visit the farm at least once per year to check the standards are being followed, and only then will the organic symbol be awarded. Look out for the Soil Association symbol on organic food, it is your guarantee that food has been produced to the highest organic standard.
How do organic farmers make sure they farm organically?
Firstly we have to look after the soil, by restricting the artificial chemicals (they suppress soil life) and adding nutrients through composted farm manure and green waste. The farm also rotates the crops it grows on different fields, as different crops put in or take out different nutrients, and there has to be a balance between crop growth and building soil fertility. We also look after our hedgerows to reduce wind erosion, and protect the local wildlife that may be living in them.
Secondly we have to look after our animals, and in particular our dairy cows and chickens. Organic farm animals must have access to fields, weather permitting of course. They must also be truly free range, and our chickens are certainly that with a run of the farm. Our animals also have plenty of space in their houses, which helps reduce stress and disease. Sometimes it’s important that the animals are put to bed at night time as this protects them from predators i.e. the fox.
Our animals also live on a great diet of Organic food, which is GMO free (genetically modified organisms), and are visited by the farm vet regularly, and are only given medicine when the situation demands and not routinely.