Partly by accident, partly by lack of experience, Patrick and his communal friends decided to opt for Ayrshire cows when the herd was established. The thinking was that this hardy breed, with distinctive brown and white patterning, would be well suited to the farm’s climate and high rainfall. The down side is that Ayrshire cows give considerably less milk than they’re more common Friesian Holstein counterparts.
However, what Ayrshires lack in quantity, they more than make up for in quality. Ayrshire milk has both high butterfat and protein levels – but whereas other breeds with high butterfat levels have a large fat globule size, Ayrshire’s are small making it perfect for cheesemaking.
Our herd currently stands at approximately 65 milking cattle, with 40 followers. By modern standards this is small but we feel this is the maximum a farm of Bwlchwernen’s size can support without relying heavily on bought-in feed.