Thursday 15th February 2018
Gabby has been working here for a good few years now, and always knew she wanted to work in farming.
“My mum works in the farming industry and I used to enjoy visiting farms with her when I was young. My first job was feeding calves when I was 15.
Now my average day starts early at 4:30am! I have a quick meeting with the team and explain the plan for the day, and then we do the first milking of the day and the paperwork. We monitor the milk levels for each cow to make sure that the herd is healthy. Then it’s time for breakfast! The rest of the day can vary, could be calving cows, foot trimming, working on the grazing plan or monitoring grass growth. We have a second round of milking in the afternoon before home time and then we take it in turns to do the night checks. The hours are really long but I actually enjoy the early mornings! I am used to being cold now, I think, but some of the winter mornings can still be really bitter!
Lunchtime is the quietest time of the day so it’s good to use that time to catch up on paperwork or to spend time observing the cows. This is such an important part of my job, you have to get to know each cow in the herd and what their normal behaviour is, so that you can tell if there’s something wrong. I love working with the cows. I also love learning new things so I’ve really enjoyed the courses that I’ve been able to go on, and learning new skills on the job.
When I first started working here, I wasn’t expecting the attention to detail to be so important in all that we do. Everything is considered at Yeo Valley – the cows, soils, grazing. I’ve adopted this attitude as my own now; I’m much more picky and like to maintain high standards by making sure even the little things are right. I hadn’t worked on an organic farm before, so it took a while to get used to the extra standards, but now I much prefer it as a farming system and can really see the benefits.
Farming is definitely a male dominated industry but things are changing, and I’d say college courses are becoming more equal in terms of male and female students now. The larger diversity is great and means we’ve got lots of talented people coming into the industry.
When I’m not at work, I do a lot with the Young Farmers Association. We go on different tours and it’s great to get together with other people with similar jobs and experiences.
My favourite moment is probably the recent visit from Michel Roux. They filmed the farm and the canteen at HQ for his programme ‘Hidden Kitchens’. He stopped and spoke to us for a long time about the cows and herd as a whole. I also enjoy the visits we get from the public, or the school children on the days that Farmlink are with us – I don’t think you get that on many other working farms.”