Our new girls have been causing a bit of a stir after featuring on the local news and being talked about on Radio Kent. Lots of local farmers having been dropping by to check them out and are waiting to see how they settle into life here in Kent.
It is going to be a huge change for all of us here on the farm, after 20 years as a ‘closed herd’ of Holstein Freisians. From simple things like choosing different breeding bulls to just getting used to seeing shades of brown among the black and white!
It will be a gradual change though, we just couldn't bear to see our cow families disappear, and so will bring in the Brown Swiss as our others come to a natural end.
There are a few main reasons why we choose this breed, after an awful lot of head scratching, farm visits to breeders and conversations with cheesemakers using their lovely milk. Brown Swiss cows naturally produce milk which is higher in protein, while still enjoying a grass-rich diet – there’s no need to give them lots of high protein feed. We are hopeful that the milk will produce an even better cheese, as the type of protein, the BB variant of the K Casein protein is one that is important for coagulation and curdling.
As the change will involve buying in new stock, we have had to sacrifice being a closed herd for a few years whilst we build up the new herd and bloodlines, and are eagerly waiting for them to have their first calves from September onwards - perfect timing for Christmas cheesemaking!