March 10-12 - Ashburton
I was lucky - once again - to meet more of Jacqui's family. Her brother and her sister in law took me in for a couple of days which was very nice. I got to just hang around, read a bit, write a bit and watch some TV. Chris gave me a tour of their dairy farm and I was pretty impressed. Okay, I have no clue about dairy farms so I can't judge it really. But just seeing the amount of fields they have was impressive. I also learned that kale isn't always grown to harvest it and sell on the produce market. In this case kale is grown for the cattle. The cows are simply sent in the kale field which is fenced off into smaller parts. So the cows eat the kale right from the field. The same is done with the oats field. And I always thought cows only get grass and then some other food like hay or corn or whatever.
What also impressed me was the milking installation. The cows are milked at a special timetable. One day they are milked twice and then the next day only once. The cows are herded to the milking carousel where they know the drill and patiently slip into an empty slot. There the suction thingy is put onto the udder and then the milking starts. Once the computer notices a stop in the amount of milked milk, the suction thingies fall off and the cow is free to go as soon as her slot reaches the exit. Maybe we have the same carousel in Germany nowadays. The last time I was at a dairy farm is at least 35 years ago and back then the cows were all standing in a row and the farmer went from cow to cow and put the suction thingy on. (P.S. We do have those machines too)
The other interesting fact was that the kind of milk Chris's and Jody's farm produces is a type that can be drunk by lactose intolerant people. Also, everything is computerized and digital now. There are programmes that tell you everything you need to know about your farm and cows and milk and stuff. It's a science in itself I guess. If there is one thing I took away from my visit there, it's that I don't want to become a dairy farmer. I'll stick to my languages 😉