The farming column with Sam Walton

Contented Limousine cattle.
Contented Limousine cattle.

In our village we have a public footpath across a substantial old grass meadow, which has to stay in grass and before my time to was the village cricket green and all when we used to get frosts, a bit of a skating rink.

Nowadays it either has sheep grazing, or latterly it has been cattle for fattening.

Cows and calves out on the grass.

Cows and calves out on the grass.

They are always very inquisitive and come reasonably close as if to sniff you.

During the winter it felt strange walking through there with acres of grass and no cattle so it was a joy to see 14 cows and calves enjoying the sunshine and the new lush growth of grass.

The walkers often have dogs with them and in winter it is quite common to see dogs running free but a warning to dog owners to always have their charge on a lead when walking where there is livestock.

This applies more particularly when there are cows and calves, not just fattening cattle.

Like most animals with offspring at foot, cows can be very possessive in shielding their young and I have seen them charge at dogs and sometimes the people with dogs, so do please take care.

There are usually warning notices and also notices that dogs should be on a leash.

It is highly unlikely that a ewe would charge a person but they might stamp their feet as a warning and they will keep turning round to sniff at their offspring in a protective manner.

In the Spring and early Summer, the countryside takes on a refreshing appearance, a sort of young succulent appeal and whether there are livestock or otherwise, it is always a joy to walk at this time year.

The oil seed rape is still mostly in flower, Winter Barley is showing it’s awns as a precedent to the ears filling and Winter Wheat has shot up and will soon follow suit and I usually see the first ear of that appear about 12 June.

It might be late this year because of lack of rain.