The Bisterne herd of about 500 cross-bred cows stays outside on pasture for most of the year, coming in to calve in February.
The 2.8 million litres of high-quality milk are sold to Arla Foods, who process the milk into Anchor butter, Skyr Yoghurt, Cravendale milk and other products.
Meet our cows
Our cows are cross-bred to reduce their size (to reduce the amount of energy used just for body maintenance) and increase their health and hardiness. They give large amounts of butterfat and protein.
Gazing calmly into the camera, there she is … with her tufty ears, dark nose and variegated black and white coat. To us, she’s not 604838, but a friend for life.
Her hybrid parentage can be traced by these features: ears and nose show Jersey blood. The spotted coat means New Zealand Friesian maybe mixed with some Norwegian Red.
She was born on the 25th February 2014, out of mother 3074 and a Norwegian Red father. She gives us about 5,000 litres a year, and at her peak, 26 litres a day.
Her milk is nice and rich: 4.5% butterfat and 3.9% protein.
11th February 2017: a lovely Jersey-Friesian hybrid daughter was born to this cow and her father Franco, a Friesian. We have numbered her 5666 and wish her health and a long productive life. She is already outside on grass and enjoying herself with the other calves.
A year later….Calving February 13th 2018
And here we are again. A calf born today, 13th February 2018 from our friendly cow 4969 and only ten minutes old. Mum is licking her clean and already she is thinking of standing up. The red spot on the calf in the background shows she has been fed with colostrum, full of the healthy “first-milk”. In France, this first milk is the ingredient for Vacherin cheese.
All our male calves leave the farm alive for market, as we are bound to do under the terms of our supermarket contract.