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A day in the life of a farmer part 1

Tags: farming

This is a glimpse of a days work on a farm

The farm where I am currently working has a milking herd of around 50 milking cows, consisting of British Friesians and Dairy Shorthorns. We also have a few beef animals on the farm, which will eventually get sold at the market when they reach around 20 months old. The beef breeds that we have on the farm are British Blues (or Belgian blues) and Aberdeen Angus. Also the male calves from the dairy breeds will generally go for beef. The farm is around 160 acres, of which is mostly permanent pasture.

Here’s my account of my working day on the farm.

6:00 am:- Alarm rings time to get up, I struggle to get up this morning. Being as it’s cold outside this morning, I ain’t quite so keen on getting out of my warm bed. Forcing myself out of bed, looking out of the window I notice that there has been quite a sharp frost during the night. After getting up, I quickly pop in the shower to freshen up for the day ahead. Before I go to work, I quickly go on the internet, so that I can check to see what any news there is. 

6:50 am:- Checking to see what the temperature fell to during the night, noticing that it fell to -3*C during night. I adventure of out into the cold to walk quarter of a mile into work. 

7:00 am:- I get into work to help with the milking. My primary job at this time is to feed the calves their milk; I currently have 17 calves to feed milk to at the moment. The calves range in ages from 7 days old up to 3 months in age. Once they get to 3 months in age, we start process of weaning them off milk, for the next two weeks they will get milk only once per day. Having finished feeding the calves, I go back into the milking parlour to help finish milking. 

8:00 am:- Noticing that one of the cows happened to be missing, knowing that this particular cow was close to calving. Knowing that she must still be out in field, I decided to go investigate where she must be. Being as it was slightly foggy this morning, I knew it could take awhile to find her. After a few minutes of looking, I find her up under a hedge with a newborn calf at her feet. I check the calf over, to make sure what the sex was and making sure it was healthy. Discovering that the calf was female and was in perfect health. In the process I check the cow also, making sure that she doesn’t have milk fever. The cow was perfectly fine. Also, I decided it was too cold for the calf to be outside. Picking the calf up, I carry the calf to one of calving pens with the cow following close behind.

You can normally tell if a cow has milk fever, by when she is still down by feeling her ear as they will be cold to the touch. Milk fever is something that cows can get just after giving birth. Milk fever is also known as calcium deficiency, so if the cow does get milk fever, the farmer will give the cow a bottle of calcium either under the skin or directly into a vein. It best put directly into the cow's vein in her neck, as it will work faster when put into a vein. Occasionally, you may need to give her second bottle  if she still hasn’t gotten up. In worse cases, you may require the vet, or even help her get up by lifting her with the tractor.

9:00 am:- First break of the day. I stop for an hour, so I’m able to get something for breakfast. I cook myself a nice fry up, consisting of eggs, bacon, sausages, potato waffles and fried bread. I also put on the kettle to make myself a cup of tea. As I eat my breakfast, I read the days newspaper, to read the news. Afterwards, I put the tv on so that I can check what the weather is going to be for the day ahead.

10:00 am:- Back to work after my break for breakfast. I go around giving the calves their feed for the morning. I give them some concentrates and top up the hay that is required. Once the feeding is done, I then go around giving the calves some bedding. Once the feeding and bedding of the calves are done, we will twice a week muck the calf housing out. 

10:30 am:- I get on the loader tractor, picking up a grab full of straw so that I can bed down the older calves that have been weaned off milk. I spread the straw, making sure there is even covering of bedding straw. I give them some hay; I run out of hay, so I get another bale out of the barn. Afterwards using the loader tractor, I give the cows four grabs of silage. Being as it November now despite the cows still being out in fields, we have to supplement the cows feed intake with some silage and hay. Also, it's getting the cows used to the silage before they come in for the winter, of which could be any day now.

11:30 am:- I go off out into the fields to carry on with the chain harrowing, which I started on Saturday. I have got the radio on so that I can listen to the music as I work.

12:30 pm:- stopping for lunch. I normally just have sandwiches for lunch, turning the tele on to watch the news while I eat.

1:30 pm:- back to work. Carrying on with the chain harrowing that I had started before lunch, chain harrowing is where you spread out the dung in field. I had spread muck on the fields in the month prior. Also, chain harrowing is also used to break up dead material (thatch) in the sward. If you were to drive past a field, you would notice all pretty patterns in the fields, due to the lines left after driving up and down the fields multiple times.

The numerous amounts of wildlife you get to see during working day is totally unbelievable. I really enjoy seeing all birds and animals I get to see each. Animals I get to see are foxes, hares, deer. Birds include robins, crows, rooks, magpies, seagulls, pigeons and pheasants. 

3:30 pm:- Break, stopping for half an hour to have a cup of tea before we go out and start milking the cows.

4:00 pm:- I go out and call the cows so that they will come in for the second milking of the day. I hurry up the stragglers that have been left behind. Pushing the cows into the collecting yard so that they can be milked. Leaving the cows that are not currently lactating, eating silage. I then check on a cow that is near to calving, to make sure that she ain’t going to calve. To do this I feel her udder, checking to see if she could be letting down milk. Then I feel her pelvis, to make sure she ain’t starting to loosen up. By doing this, you can determine whether how close she to calving, normally when the pelvis starts to loosen up the cow is within 24 hours of calving. I determine that she won’t calve, for at least the next day or so.

4:30 pm:- I get the milk to feed the calves, this time I only got 14 calves to feed. As the other three calves only get milk during the mornings, as they are currently being weaned off. Once I have finished feeding the calves, I return to milking parlour to help with the milking. Once we have finished milking, I brush the milking parlour out. Letting the last of the milk, through to the bulk. I wash the milking machines down, using hot water. Afterwards, I turn the water on so that all of the jars and pipes are washed, right the way through using boiling hot water and acid. Whilst this is going I wash the milking parlour down.

This is only one day in the life of a farmer, as other days on the farm can be totally different. When I get up tomorrow, I just don’t know what that day will have in store for me. The weather could be completely different, working on a farm you have to work in all weather. Being it rain, snow, windy, foggy, cold or sunny, you have got work and live with what you have been given.
This is the reason why I like working on a farm, as each working day is different from the last. I enjoy working outside in the past fresh air, feeding the calves their milk. And getting to drive a tractor every day.



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