Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Some Days You Win, Others Not So Much.

Our Dairy Herd is regularly tested for TB, this involves the vet injecting each animal with a tiny amount of both Avian and Bovine TB, then checking 72 hours later to see if there has been any reaction and if so to what. Its OK if you get a lump at each site, or if you just get an avian lump, but bad news if you just get a lump at the bovine site. The animal is then a "reactor" and taken away to be destroyed, the whole herd is put under restrictions, which means you cant sell any animals, and you start a retesting programme that lasts for 2 years.
Yesterday we finished our testing programme, with the 12 month interval test, We passed, or at least the cows did and we can now go back on the regular testing schedule which for our area is 24 monthly.
I couldnt tell anyone we were being tested just in case it jinxed it.

These are the bottles of the stuff they inject the cows with, 50 x 1ml dose, mind you the fuss some of the cows make you would think we were cutting their heads off. The Vet clips some hair off at the 2 sites on the neck and jabs them, we have to put every cow on the place through the crush, from the oldest to the youngest, new calved to those on maternity leave, even though its a bit of a squeeze for some of them.
For our milking herd of 65 cows plus followers it takes 3 to 4 hours, checking them doesnt take as long though its more stressful for us.
I dont understand why they cant develop a vaccine against TB in cattle, surely it would be more cost effective than testing and destroying thousands of cows each year, the scientists keep talking about a vaccine for Badgers, which we would have to trap and are not exactly easy to handle, apart from the whole issue of them being protected. We already vaccinate the cows for several diseases so one more wouldnt be a problem.

After the good news about the TB testing yesterday, this morning I got a phone call from our Milk Buyer, telling us we are going to be fined for over production!!!!!!
Apparently we produced 50% more than we had predicted in January, and we are only allowed an error margin of 20%, so we are fined 5ppl on the extra 30%.
I think its more that we under estimated than over produced, but now we are in the crazy position of slowing the cows down by cutting their cake ration, only slightly as otherwise we could have fertility problems. We cant adjust our prediction for February so must try to minimise the damage, we have redone the prediction for march.

The 3 sheep are getting used to being in the garden, I'm a bit fed up with sweeping sheep pooh off the path, and they will have to go before the daffodils come up.


  1. Being fined for producing too much food sounds ludricous. but I don't know the politics therein.
    Sheep poop makes yellower daffodils, yes?

  2. Had I known that you had extra milk, I would have flown over there with my Oreo Cookies in hand.
    Question, can you only sell to one Milk Buyer?
    Congrats on the negative testing. When we are updating our adoption profiles, Fred and I are both put through various medical exams and TB testing is one of them. Thank God we always pass and that no one has yet to drag us off to be destroyed. That would be sad.
    Take care!
    Your Friend, m.

  3. Hi Nick,
    Thanks for your comment about Simplicity 3835. I did eventually find it on Etsy - yay! Now I just need to try to work out what fabric to use for it - I bought a dark blue linen but I'm just not sure... could be frumpy or could be great. Have you made yours yet? I'd love to hear.

  4. Hi Jo no I havnt got it yet and its hard to feel inspired about summer tops when its 5c and raining!

    Mark we can only sell to one buyer at a time, we have a contract and as part of it we have to give a reasonably accurate prediction of what we are going to produce each month, we have 20% leaway above or below. I dont think they would let our milk into the USA as it is unpastuerised til the dairies get their hands on it.