A day in the life of a farmer in Dorset
Who am I?
I’m James Wild – owner and farmer at Puncknowle Manor Estate .
Type of farm and who lives and works there
This is a 2,000 acre mixed arable and dairy farm producing 3.5 million litres of milk per annum. I’ve managed the estate for about ten years and have built it up from 900 acres to 2,000.
We have quite a large staff some of whom live on the farm and others who live with their families close by.
There are two tractor drivers for the arable side, three dairy herdsmen, maintenance team and a couple who run the holiday lettings side of the farm.
What we do
Everyday we have a different set of issues to deal with as nothing runs like clockwork on a farm. For example I could be up at 2.00am in the morning fixing a hole in the fence because my cows are in my neighbours maize field. Ramblers often leave gates open not realising there are cattle in some other part of the field – this causes untold problems of wandering cattle who then inadvertently do damage in places where they’re not supposed to be.
But we also have our daily routines according to the seasons. The tractor drivers will be out tending the field on most days – either fertilising, drilling, sowing seed, managing infestation and of course harvesting in the summer months.
At 4 o’clock - 4.30 in the morning two dairymen get up to do the first milking. We have 320 cows and it takes about 3.5 hours to do. Afterwards they clean, feed and put the cows back out into the fields or barns in the winter months. This time of year they go into the spring pastures which they love the best.
Then again at 2.30 – 3.00pm the dairymen do the second milking of the day until about 6 o’clock. Then they bed the cows down for the night.
We’ve also got young stock, little calves that need two feedings a day, normally between 8-9am and then again between 4-5pm.
Of course we have all the paperwork which is seriously tedious but necessary in today’s modern way of farming and I sit at a computer screen like everybody else although I’m probably no where near as competent as an eight year old.
What I like and what keeps me going
What I like is the diversity of work on a farm and it’s the sheer beauty of the countryside that keeps me going. I love being in the fresh air and appreciate the naturalness of what surrounds. I’m very lucky in that respect.