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Greystones Farm

Maggie C writes:

Sixteen members of the club visited Greystones Farm Nature Reserve in Bourton-on-the-Water on 17 June. This is a farmed area of wetland next to the Rivers Eye and Dickler. The old hay meadows are rich in plantlife, including the ‘star’ plant the Southern Marsh Orchid which we saw in abundance. We noticed that some were hybrids with the Common Spotted Orchid also. There is also an interesting archaeology walk devoted to an ancient hillfort. We enjoyed lunch outside the on-site cafe and a good catch-up with old friends and new members alike. Many thanks to Brenda for compiling the species list, which will be listed in full in the club’s autumn newsletter. Other highlights included mating Banded Demoiselles and Thick-legged Flower Beetle.

Robot milking machine at Greystones Farm

Julia R. adds:

On our return from the walk around Greystones, we chatted with the person in charge of the cows. The herd of about 150 graze on the meadows but come into the barn of their own accord when they need milking. This is done by robot. A laser on the cow’s collar identifies each individual and downloads data. The sensors are accurately able to attach to the teats and milk the cow while she eats. As the udder empties, so the robot starts to release the cow, reducing her food so she can return to the fields. This is an amazingly labour-saving method of dairy production. The robot can alert the person in charge to any problems remotely and the cows appear to cope happily with this arrangement. If individual cows avoid being milked robotically, they are sent to a second farm where they are milked in the traditional way. Apparently this method has been used since 2015, but it was new to us!