- A new Scottish dairy and cheesemaker has launched with an ethos of keeping cows and their calves together – a rarity in dairy farming today, say the owners.
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Launching with four cheeses, The Ethical Dairy’s Rainton Farm base – which is also the home of Cream O’Galloway ice cream – is the UK’s first commercial cow with calf dairy.
Cow with calf – or ‘calf-at-foot’ as it is otherwise known – entails that calves are not removed from their mothers at birth, but are allowed to suckle, with the cows milked only once a day.
According to the dairy, this approach means that compared to a conventional dairy The Ethical Dairy has cut greenhouse gas emissions by half, reduced energy use by more than half, cut antibiotic use by 90 per cent, cut agro-chemical use by 90 per cent and doubled the productive life of cows among a host of other benefits.
Wilma Finlay, co-owner of The Ethical Dairy said, “We have been thrilled by the response from members of the public to the launch of The Ethical Dairy and pleasantly surprised at the volume of orders that have been coming in as a result of the recent publicity.”
David Finlay, co-owner of The Ethical Dairy said, “There’s been awareness within the farming community for some time that we were introducing a new method of dairy production, and it’s been fair to say that while the industry hasn’t been openly hostile to what we were doing, there has been an expectation that it was unlikely to work.
“Cow with calf farming is not unique to our farm but we are the largest farm currently using this system, and it has been challenging in every way. A few of our neighbours are watching what we’re doing with considerable interest and within the next year I’d like to think we will be able to share our experience in more detail with farmers who are interested in this way of working.”