The whole operation of producing cheese is very much a team effort. Phil has been at the farm a long time now and knows each of the cows as individuals. His job, as herdsman, is to produce clean wholesome, good quality milk with low cell counts. The cows produce about 1.3 million liters of milk a year, of which we turn about 50% into cheese.
James, will then use his skills as a cheesemaker, to turn the milk into curds. Then, eventually cheese, over a period of 10 weeks to 18 months. Andy, Steve and Amy then look after the maturation of the cheese, the packing and distribution. Jono our eldest son will look after the farm and do the muddy boots bit, Judy will look after the farm office.
Our cows are all pedigree, that means that we breed from them, keep the best and record their births and their family lines can be traced back probably in some cases 60 years. They all have 2 ear tags, and these numbers relate to their passport number, a number they keep for life. We breed our own heifers, or replacements as we call them, as it then reduces the risk of having to buy in cattle that might have health problems, such as TB and BVD. We try to get the cows to calve once a year, they will then milk for 10 months and have a two month rest.