THE SIMPLE COW WAY
The “Simple Cow Way” determines how we treat our cows and how we treat the land our cows graze on.
The Simple Cow animal welfare policy starts with the five freedoms which are widely adopted around the world.
Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to freshwater and a diet to maintain full health and vigour
Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind
Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering
Cow and Calf policy
We believe all calves should stay with their mothers and suckle naturally no matter if they are male or female. This relates to Freedom 4 & 5 above.
We believe calves should be weaned when they reach the appropriate size and no longer need milk. This is usually at 8-10 weeks of age.
At weaning, a plastic nose flap clips onto the calves nose. (This is not painful) This makes it more difficult for the calf to suckle and it concentrates on eating grass instead.
In the following months, the calf gradually becomes independent from its mother as it no longer requires milk. At this point, the calf is put into the neighbouring field and the cow and calf are able to meet at the fence and touch noses etc. As the week goes by, the cow and calf eventually stop visiting each other and they go about their separate lives as they would in nature.
Antibiotics are used as an absolute last resort & only under veterinary supervision. We believe antibiotic use should be used as outlined in U.K. Organic Standards.
Every spring we witness the joy our cows feel when they are turned out to pasture for the first time. This joy is why we know grazing is so integral to cows natural behaviour and why we try to keep them in the fields as long as possible.
Our cows enjoy free-range grazing on our lush pastures for most of the year. Only during the coldest, wettest months do they shelter in a modern, purpose-built and open-sided barn eating silage made from our grass and relaxing on deep straw bed.
Grazing also plays a role in maintaining valuable ecosystems, keeping grass and vegetation under control to promote biodiversity, whilst retuning nutrients to the soil from their manure.
A dairy cow can eat as much as 100kg of fresh grass a day and it is packed with energy and protein. Our milk really is the original plant-based drink.
During the winter months where the cows eat conserved grass, it is necessary to feed them a small amount of concentrate feeds during milking. This is to substitute some of the vitamins, minerals and protein that is found in fresh green grass. Only high quality ingredients are included, such as wheat, EU distillers grains, sugar beet pulp and molasses buy absolutely no soya.
When it comes to the environment, we work with a simple rule. Cows put nutrients into the ground and plants take nutrients out of the ground. Our farming practices allow cows, plants and crops to work together.
The key to our environmental approach is making it possible for us to have fewer cows by cutting out the middle men of processors and supermarkets.
We don’t believe in monocultures. Diversity is at the core of our farming system. That means diverse pastures which include herbs, legumes, and perennial grasses which promote diverse microorganisms, insects, bugs and birds.
This mixed system means we don’t require high fertiliser inputs associated with monoculture agriculture.
Nitrates & Methane emissions
Both the problems of nitrate leaching and methane emissions is caused by Nitrate leaching from dairy cows is mostly a result of cow’s urine patches. These patches have a high level of nitrogen in them which seeps through the soil profile and into our waterways.
Of course, stock intensity is a major driver of nitrate leaching. Due to our lower stocking rate of 2 cows per hectare these problems are eliminated.
With both solar panels on all our bar roofs and a 30m wind turbine we are proud to say all our electricity needs are produced on the farm.