LEAF Open Farm Sunday Search

LEAF Speak Out: Difficult Questions - Dairy

Where do cows go in winter?

Cows are out­door ani­mals and the main part of what they eat is grass, so they need to be in fields for this. Dur­ing the late autumn, win­ter and ear­ly spring, they are housed in big build­ings to keep them warmer and fed whilst there is no grass grow­ing. Dairy cows also don’t need to walk so far to the milk­ing parlour.

Why don’t baby calves stay with their mummies?

We keep dairy cows to pro­duce milk, so we sep­a­rate the cows from their calves so that we can sup­ply milk for you to drink and to add to your break­fast cere­als. The calves are very well looked after with oth­er calves, fed milk for­mu­la, like human babies some­times are. We keep some of the calves to become our milk­ing cows and to have their own calves when they are older.

What hap­pens to your bull calves?

The male calves are reared for the beef mar­ket, which is done on farms called beef farms’.

Cows pro­duce a lot of methane and are bad for the envi­ron­ment, shouldn’t we move to a diet with less reliance on dairy to help farming’s car­bon footprint?

Some peo­ple choose to eat, and real­ly enjoy dairy prod­ucts. Some peo­ple eat it for health rea­sons, for exam­ple grow­ing chil­dren drink milk to boost their cal­ci­um intake.

There are also parts of the UK where we can­not suc­cess­ful­ly grow veg­etable-based diets because soils are poor, and the cli­mate is more wet, such as in parts of Scot­land, Wales and south-west Eng­land. In these regions, farms can eas­i­ly grow grass. Humans don’t eat grass, but cows do. If we didn’t have cows and sheep in these areas, there would be lim­it­ed, or no food pro­duced from the land.

Sup­port­ed by the Crop Pro­tec­tion Association

Dif­fi­cult ques­tion topics:

Gen­er­al Q&A

Arable

Beef

Dairy

Envi­ron­ment

Pigs

Poul­try

Sheep

Sporting/​hunting

What do you do with your dairy calves?

Why does your bull have a ring it its nose, did that not hurt?

Sup­port­ed by:

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