Monday 8th November 2021
Autumn is a glorius time of year for brightly coloured leaves and crisp walks (when it’s not raining!) so we love getting out into the valley to find out the latest news from the farm…
We made a fourth cut of grass for silage at the beginning of October, and now the silage camps (the cows winter larders) are full. The grass growth slows down with the temperature dropping so all our work over the summer bringing in winter feeds will now start to pay off. Being organic, we don’t use chemical fertilisers or artificial pesticides anywhere on the farm, so instead we compost the manure the cows produce and separate the liquid called slurry. Once the cut was finished, we emptied the slurry stores on to the silage fields to give the grass and clover plants a boost! They will use the slurry to rejuvenate before the temperature drops and growth stops for the winter.
The cows stayed in their sheds at the end of October, not because they were scared of trick or treaters but because the heavy and persistent rain had made the grazing fields too wet. They aren’t great fans of the rain and were queuing up to come back into the warm and dry shed! To keep them comfortable and avoid damaging the sward, and the soil structure beneath, we will keep them in now until the grass starts to grow and ground conditions improve in the spring.
We’ve planted a range of crops for the winter including rye and vetch and winter oats. These crops will be harvested next summer and will be used as feed for the following winter. It’s just like making a giant flapjack, but for cows! We spend a lot of time working out the perfect diet for the herd and believe in giving them a diverse diet. Most of their food is grown right here on the farm.
While everyone knows Yeo Valley Organic for their cows, our other animals and a variety of crops provide fertilisers, food, pest control and other benefits which ensure the farm, its produce and the environment are as healthy as possible. It’s this mixed farming, working alongside nature which makes us as self-sufficient and resilient as possible. Every animal or crop plays a vital role in looking after the farm and each other. It just shows how nature always has the answer!
You can find our more about how we make silage – click here to read our blog about it.