Dairy workers have it easy?

Tesco has a website to promote the nutritional benefits of milk.

It includes a page introducing farmer Jo who it turns out isn’t a fulltime farmer:

Unlike Harry, who was herding cows before he could walk, I never thought I would end up back here. I studied History in Birmingham and lived there and then in London. But the chance came to develop different areas of the farm which are not strictly cow/crop related and I jumped at it. I now run the mountain boarding centre (like snow boarding with pneumatic wheels – loads of fun!) but I still work around the farm.

One of her duties is milking when a herdsman is off and she says:

Their job is a real lifestyle choice. They start at 4am to prepare for 5am milking, then go home and sleep before milking is done again at 5pm.

I’d be surprised if that’s how it is for most dairy farm workers in Britain, it’s certainly not here.

They get up early to do the morning milking. Whoever is rostered to get the herd in will start about 4.30am, the others at 5:00. After milking and washing the shed they go home for breakfast then back to work feeding out, shifting breaks, attending to animal health, doing repairs and maintenance . . .  They go home for lunch and sometimes have time for a short nap and then it’s back for afternoon milking which usually starts with getting the cows in at about 2.30. When milking’s finished they clean the shed before going home for dinner.

Extra staff are usually employed to feed calves but there are other duties around calving then it’s not long before mating which also requires more work. They might also be required to irrigate. Managers and share milkers  have administration to do too.

Dairy workers here are well paid, but the good ones earn every cent. It’s usually only on their days off that they’d have the luxury of sleeping between milkings unless they are employed only for milking and not full time.

Hat Tip: Business Blog

Apropos of websites promoting milk, DairyNZ has appointed Rosie as Cowbassador, the face of New Zealand’s 4.4 million dairy cows  face of New Zealand’s 4.4 million dairy cows. Followers have the chance to win an iPad.

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