Tag Archives: livestock

The National Trust’s MyFarm Experiment Extends to Include Conventional Farm Methods

The National Trust has announced that a 250 acre conventional farm is set to become part of the MyFarm* experiment which aims to reconnect people with where their food comes from.

The farmland will form a key part of MyFarm project which enables members to make decisions on what happens on the farm.

The arable land at Cambridge Road Farm is next to the 1,200 acre Wimpole Home Farm which is at the centre of the MyFarm project in Cambridgeshire.

Owned by the Trust, Cambridge Road Farm has always been farmed conventionally by a tenant, who has now retired.

Its inclusion in the project means that participants will be able to get closer to both conventional and organic farming methods.

Richard Morris, Farm Manager at Wimpole, said: “This is an exciting development for the project as we can now explore the differences between organic and conventional farming methods rather than simply talking about them.

“With only four per cent** of farmland in the UK farmed organically we felt it was important to demonstrate the different benefits and challenges presented by each method.

“We’ll be asking the MyFarm members to make decisions on the conventionally farmed land in addition to the 1,200 acres of organic farmland at Wimpole.

“We hope to make the differences and reasoning for both farming methods clearer and easier to digest. Whatever scenario the MyFarmers are presented with, we will be relying on them to make sure their decisions lead to both farms being profitable businesses.”

Paul Hammett, Senior Policy Advisor at the National Farmers Union, said: “The MyFarm community will now have a fantastic opportunity to run the farms in parallel and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of both farming methods. It will be really interesting to see how their views and attitudes change, if at all, over the coming months.”

For more information and to sign up to join the MyFarm experiment visit www.my-farm.org.uk.

Via EPR Network
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The National Trust Reports Disaster For MyFarm’s Shire Horse Foaling

The National Trust’s MyFarm team at Wimpole Home Farm in Cambridgeshire have been eagerly awaiting the foaling of Queenie, the only Shire Horse mare at Wimpole for weeks now.

As over 800 people or groups of people saw, Queenie went into her much anticipated labour. At 11.45pm she gave birth to a beautiful filly foal. Although she had a perceptible heartbeat when she was born she was not breathing. Emma, horse manager at Wimpole Farm, tried hard and long to get her to breathe with the help of farmer manager Richard Morris. A vet was on the phone throughout, talking the team through the procedures.

None of our efforts could save her and she peacefully slipped away a few minutes after her birth.

Richard said: “As you can imagine, we are all devastated by this awful and unexpected outcome. Although watchers of the foaling on the webcam saw the true, grim realities of animal husbandry this in no way belittles the personal sense of tragedy and loss we are all feeling. This bitter disappointment is tempered only with the fact that the filly foal did not suffer at all.”

As part of the National Trust’s MyFarm experiment, the birth was broadcast live over the internet. The project, which started in May, aims to reconnect people with the realities of life on a working, commercial farm allowing them to effectively become a farmer. The MyFarm Farmers can discuss and make decisions on every aspect of the farm: the crops grown, livestock, the new facilities to be invested in and the machinery to be used, much like a real life version of Farmville, the popular Facebook game.

As one MyFarm farmer commenting on the website just after the birth said: “I’m so sorry everyone. That was awful to watch, but I guess this is the reality of farm life sometimes. I felt so helpless watching the efforts to save her.”

Richard continued: “It was a huge decision for us to do a live broadcast of the birth. There was never a guarantee that the foaling would be straight forward and unfortunately, this proved to be the case. But we didn’t want to hide people from the risks involved – it’s fundamental to the purpose of this project – to reconnect people with the realities of farming to allow the possibility of lows as well as highs.”

In the morning, Queenie was doing well. She was turned out into her paddock to get some fresh air and Emma is speaking to the vet to find out the best way of stopping the milk production.

As Queenie is a fit and healthy mare, and due to it being prime horse breeding season, the team is keen that she gets back to the stallion again in approximately three weeks to see if she can become pregnant once more. There is no reason to believe that Queenie won’t foal successfully in the future.

Via EPR Network
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