Free Range Dairy Network – 2017 Grazing Season
Table to show the number of days and nights cows were grazed on farms supplying free range milk, under the Pasture Promise logo, in 2017.
|Member No.||Out to grass by day only||Out to grass day & night||Housed at night only||Housed night & day||Number of days grazed||Number of nights grazed||Grazing derogation days / nights|
The above table shows that whilst the minimum number of days farmers are required to graze their cows for the production of Pasture Promise free range milk is 180, most grazed for well over 200 days in 2017. The table also shows the number of nights cows were grazed.
All animals over the age of 12 months must be grazed for a minimum of 180 days a year. Farmers are not permitted to keep any milking cows indoors during the grazing season, other than in exceptional circumstances. For example, the care and treatment of sick animals or cows close to calving.
Farmers are only permitted to bring cows indoors for up to one hour before milking starts and one hour after milking finishes each day (all herds are milked twice a day). However, farmers may apply for a derogation to temporarily house cows during the grazing season if extreme weather threatens to compromise health and welfare of the animals. You will see in the table above that five producers temporarily housed cows during the 2017 grazing season. In each case this was as a result of persistent, heavy rain making fields waterlogged.
Farms in the table are located in Sussex, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Yorkshire. Whilst the grass growing season is typically shorter in the north of England, other factors such as soil type and regional weather patterns determine how many days farmers are able to graze their cows each year.