In Your Field: James Robinson - 'Strickley, an unsung star'

Five years ago this week, the Beast from the East held its icy grip on farms across the country, sheep were buried alive under many feet of snow, the thawing of frozen pipes became a daily task and isolated communities were cut off for days on end.

clock • 2 min read
In Your Field: James Robinson - 'Strickley, an unsung star'

Five years ago this week, the Beast from the East held its icy grip on farms across the country, sheep were buried alive under many feet of snow, the thawing of frozen pipes became a daily task and isolated communities were cut off for days on end.

Although we’ve had cold spells this winter, so far none have caused the chaos and misery of 2018.

 

In fact, the unseasonably dry weather has helped us get on with some field work, hedging sticks have been tidied up and a bit of fencing done too.

 

We also used the decent ground conditions to turn the cows out for a week or so, just on a few meadows around the buildings, but it was awesome to see the cows out grazing grass in February, something which is unheard of in our parish.

 

It also caused a few inevitable comments down at the auction mart!

 

It wasn’t a real spring turnout, we knew that they would have to come back in for a few weeks until the grass properly grew, but they loved it all the same.

 

One of our more senior ladies, 14-year-old Strickley Oak Barrington 22nd, has seen many spring turnouts, but she still gadded out to grass with all the excitement and vigour of a six-month-old calf.

 

She is one of those ghost cows, the sort who quietly gets on with life without any fuss or need for attention.

 

By the homebred bull Strickley Goldfinger, she calved her first on August 14, 2011, and is due to calve her thirteenth on August 30, 2023.

That’s right, she has only lost 16 days in 13 calvings. And, looking back, I have never lifted a foot on her, not for lameness nor a routine trim.

 

She’s never had mastitis or needed any fertility treatment, or veterinary care, apart from an absolute emergency in 2019 when another cow stood on her milk vein and caused a rupture. There was blood everywhere, but quick work from our vet saved her and she has never looked back since.

 

Her udder is still at hock level and her cell count for the last lactation was only 180. What an amazing cow she is.

Last month she also tipped over the golden target of 100t. So far she has given us 101,908 litres of organic milk, from a body weight of only 570kg. That is Dairy Shorthorn amazingness.

 

I make no apologies for dedicating my column to Oak Barrington 22nd, she has given us more than we could ever give her. Cows like her rarely come along and I intend to enjoy the grass and sunshine with her once the real springtime arrives.

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