Hello from Stratford-upon-Avon! It’s hard to believe that we are half way through our trip, but we still have some exciting stops throughout this week. Today we stopped at Hall Farm in Brentingby and spoke with Julia Hawley, and then traveled to Melton Mowbray to speak with George Waverely from Bouverie Lodge Farm.
Hall Farm is primarily a dairy farm of about 75 cows, which is small for a dairy farm in the United Kingdom. Additionally, they have a small flock of sheep. However, it is a larger farm for the United Kingdom with 275 acres of land. Most of the buildings on the property were built sometime in the 1600’s, according to Julia.
The cows all have a collar with an ID tag. The sensor in the tag can detect when the cow is in heat, when they are eating and drinking, and when they go in for milking. The dairy cows are not as tall as your typical dairy cow in the United States, and all the milk goes to a cheese company.
Most similarly to the United States, this dairy herd is Holstein Freisian, and are milked twice a day. Additionally, all the cows are artificially inseminated by Julia’s husband. They are also one of the first farms in the United Kingdom to use sex semen since its commercial release in 2000.
As many of you may know, the United States has a levy system that takes a certain percentage off of every product from an animal. For example Pork Checkoff, Beef Checkoff and Dairy Checkoff. Likewise, the United Kingdom has a similar program that benefits farmers around the country.
Bouverie Lodge Farm is a bison and deer farm in Melton Mowbray. George raises 120 bison on 250 acres of land. The animals are grass fed, and it takes around two years before they take the animals to market. The meat is sold directly to restaurants and local buyers as the farm’s target market.
We had the chance to eat lunch at the little diner at the farm. They had everything ranging from bison burgers, venison, to delicious apple pie, and warm brownies with ice cream. During our lunch, George spoke with us about the farm. He told us about a calf that had been abandon. Usually, in this case the calf does not survive, luckily this one did due to George’s actions.
After George took us out to see the bison in the rain, we hopped back on the bus and headed back to Stratford-upon-Avon and had the rest to the night to ourselves. We are looking forward to heading to Liverpool, Preston, and Carlisle tomorrow.