WITH British calving season hitting its peak around parts of the nation, a North Wales raw milk supplier explains why block calving isn’t right for their family-run farm.

Across the United Kingdom, cows are currently giving birth to and rearing their young over a ‘spring’ calving period which can sometimes stretch from January, until as late as June.

But while most farmers will be working to ensure many of their cows give birth over this period, a raw milk supplier in Deeside believes the approach doesn’t benefit their line of work.

Speaking to the Leader, Steve Oultram, Owner of H. W. Oultram Raw Milk on Newbridge Farm, said: “We calve all year round, but we’ve had a lot of calves recently and a bunch of cows are coming to calve at the moment.

“Some farms do block calving – usually in the spring or autumn. But it depends on what suits your buyer.

“Some of our milk goes to a cheesemaking company, who make cheese all year round. So, the dairy that takes our milk prefer a fairly level quantity all year round which is more convenient for them.”

Newbridge Farm, Deeside, has been in the Oultram family for nearly 90 years after Mr Steve Oultram’s parents - Herbert and Eleanor – moved there in 1932.

After beginning by rearing poultry on 16 acres of land which had no water or electricity, the farm has grown to now have about 400 heads of cattle spread just over 200 acres of land.

Mr Oultram adds: “The spring calving people are very keen to do so between about February and May, and it doesn’t matter how many cows they have.

“They can have 500 cows with most calving in those few weeks, but we, as a family, couldn’t manage our 180 cows if they all started calving at the same time.

“Other farmers don’t give them any other supplementary feed, so whatever they get paid for the milk is profit almost. So, block calving can be a profitable way of farming but it’s not for me.”