Successful calving is the bedrock of our dairy system and so February was extremely busy and stressful at times as we welcomed more than 400 calves onto the estate.
I am incredibly proud of our hard-working, dedicated team who have put in shifts around the clock to bring the next generation of dairy cows into the Sansaw family.
Hectic is an understatement but the meticulous planning which went into this year’s calving has really reaped rewards.
Our herd is a cross-breed because we want the finest cows giving the finest milk in the best environment possible. The New Zealand system means they’re outdoors all-year round and their milk is high in fat and protein, meaning we get the best price for our milk.
Of course the recent bad weather did have some negative impacts on the farm and you may have seen us on ITN talking about the inability for haulage teams to get through the snow. That meant we had to dump more than 30,000 litres of milk – a dreadful sight especially as we work so hard to create the perfect product – but thankfully Arla, our milk buyer, will compensate us for this. We also needed to have our maintenance teams on red alert so they could deal with burst pipes, broken heating systems and frozen water troughs!
Again, our robust planning system enables us to tackle even the most extreme conditions but hopefully that’s the end of the adversity for now.
One thing we weren’t particularly expecting was the arrival of Ewe-jean, our first lamb! The sheep don’t normally give birth til April but Ewe-jean was too eager to get in on the act it would seem and has been getting a lot of fuss and attention.