Posted: 28/09/2012 at 15:46
Hi Muvs - there are just a few of us oldies round here who can remember quite a bit about how things used to be "once upon a time". What the programme makers clearly haven't taken into account - for this series, as well as the previous ones - is that there are some practices which would have been much the same over several generations, as regards farming methods and livestock handling in general. So, they could have checked -- e.g. by asking for some input via today's farming press - whose readers are likely to know about these things or would know someone who does.
My own Pa eventually had three farms each with a dairy herd - and had a retail milk business which began with twice-daily deliveries using a pony & float (milk ladled from a churn into the customers' own milk jugs), and went on to have a bottling plant on the middle farm which supplied milk to most of the local town. The cattle were fed with our own home-grown cereals, hay, kale, mangolds, beet etc and we ground the cereals into meal ourselves. Before the l950s sileage was a relatively new-fangled concept in the part of the country where we lived - and the stuff they fed to the cattle in last night's programme didn't look as if it was the product of what they'd sileaged in an earlier programme! more like modern-day "haylage" to me.............. and as for that "cattle trough" they put it in.......well................ I was surprised that although they had the usual Alfa Laval milking machine, they didn't have that same company's little cup gadget which we used for checking for mastitis - looked like a half-pint mug which had a flat inset black "lid" with a hole on one edge. Any mastitis-affected milk showed up clearly on the black surface & you tilted the cup slightly to let the milk drain down into the cup itself before testing the next teat.
Although some of our land was rather clayey, we did use horses for lots of the general farm work - including some ploughing, especially on the land where we grew new potatoes, as this was where the soil was much lighter. The three farms meant that at one time Pa had over twenty men working for him - some of the older ones were those who looked after the horses, and others took care of the cattle. A few years ago I was sad to say goodbye to the table which used to be in what we called "the bottom kitchen" - a big room which wasn't used much except for things like harvest suppers. The table - when it had its extra pairs of legs & extra leaves put in - would seat 28. One of my earliest memories is of being just about tall enough to see what was actually on the table for one of those occasions!