Temperament of our cows has changed with time

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AS all the family will be home this next weekend, plans are afoot to bring the herd home. For them still to be out in December is unheard of for us, but apparently it has been one of the warmest Novembers on record.

Yesterday injected all of the cows in calf with rotovirus. A couple of years ago, we lost several calves, and even one is too many, to this overwhelming viral infection. The vet could give us no reason as to why it suddenly appeared in our herd, a closed one, but it had.

With devastating results. Now, all the cows in calf are injected about a month prior to pass immunity to their calves..

It is noticeable how the temperament of our cows has changed over the years since we were an entirely dairy herd. At first when we converted to a suckler herd John used Aberdeen Angus bulls on the cows. Then the last two bulls have been Limousin. As a result, although the calvings have been relatively easy, the heifers coming through into the herd, are all much wilder. Injecting the cows was therefore quite a fun filled morning. None of that quiet amble into the crush.

Took quite a bit of logistic planning, pushing several cows at a time into the corral run, giving them little room to manoeuvre, i.e. have a go, before entering the crush.

So is all this farming job worth it? Well. We’re in the money. An early retirement beckons. Riches are ours. Scrap the overdraft. The annual cheque for the wayleave payment for electric poles on the farm has arrived.

£1.62p

John even struggled to pay it into the bank. We nearly couldn’t benefit from this payment set up more than 30 years ago when the family bought the farm. As a consequence the payment details have his father and brother’s name on the cheque as well as his own.

As his father died some twenty five years ago and we have now bought his brother out, the lady behind the bank counter was unimpressed when he tried to pay the cheque into our account.

Normally John posts this cheque directly to our bank and it gets paid in without fuss. This time he wanted to pick up the medication for the cows from the vets, and decided to call at the bank from which, occasionally, he draws some petty cash.

“I went to the wrong lady” he said. “The other bank clerk knew me and said it was OK, but this new lady was determined to do the job properly and it took half an hour to sort it out. Just imagine, it must cost nearly 50p to send the cheque, 50p for us to post it back to our bank, and I’ve no idea what it costs in man hours to write it at the electricity board end and then for our bank to pay into our account.

Bet it’s more than £1.62.

Mrs Downs Diary