It’s taken until now, but with another heifer born at the beginning of August, we’re finally down to waiting on just one more cow to calve in 2022.

While logic would tell us these cows should be sold and replacements bought in to calve earlier in the year instead, sometimes it’s better the devil you know, as not only are these two late-calvers quiet and easily managed, so far they’ve never had any issues during calving.

Coming from a pedigree Limousin background, they also out-cross very well with Charolais to produce the sought-after orange calf we can sell in late spring.

The issues calving at this time of year are a world away from the cold and wet of March calves, with flies causing a case of summer mastitis in the one yet to calve, though being half-Salers, she isn’t lacking in the milk department and having only three quarters shouldn’t be an issue.

It’s been years since we had a case of mastitis, so we took our eye off the ball watching for it, as we were more concerned with the new calf refusing to lie in shade and trying to bake itself on a daily basis in the middle of the field.

We eventually had to resort to bringing the cow and calf in during the hottest part of each day to avoid ending up with heat-related issues.

Flies also meant I delayed in disbudding the calf, as if you’ve to treat a case of maggots in a calf’s head once, you’ll never want to go through it again.

Thankfully, she was one of those calves with very small horn buds and I managed to get her done over a wet weekend.

A couple of the hotter days were also spent wondering if our well was starting to run dry, as the pressure started to get very low in taps.

With two houses and all the farm water being taken from it, it would certainly spell disaster.

But as the saying goes ‘when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras’ and walking the perimeter of the farm following the pipes from our pumphouse, I found where one cow had managed to stand on a half-hidden pipe and bend it, thus restricting the flow to less than half of what it should be, an issue which only took minutes to rectify after causing consternation for much longer than that.

Though in the process of walking the field margins, I came across a spot where a cow must have been reaching for ivy over a dry drain and tumbled down into it.

Fortunately she managed to lever herself up again, but if she’d landed wrong it could have been a story with a different ending.

As soon as the hedge-cutting season opens, I’ll certainly look into getting some of these areas trimmed back and perhaps fenced,, as I now know I can’t rely on the intelligence of cows to avoid mishap.

Last but not least, our oldest bovine lady has done it again. Despite having twins and being well into the normal retirement age for a cow, she was given one final chance at AI in the hope of getting a heifer calf from her.

We’re now into our fifth year of trying for another heifer calf from her. Fingers crossed we can get one this time, or she may be here for years to come.