Blogs

What does grass fed milk mean?

A man in California is suing Ornua: the organisation that markets and sells Irish dairy products abroad over claims that Kerrygold butter is “grass-fed”. The man is claiming false advertising because Irish cows do not subsist on grass alone but their diet is supplemented by grain and meal which may... Read more ...
Posted on: Thursday, 13 December, 2018

A short history of the idea that producing more food is a good thing

I got into an argument about food production once while working on my PhD in a café in Nottingham. The guy sitting beside me asked what I was working on an I told him I was doing a PhD on the social and ethical issues of growing energy crops on agricultural land. He was a neuro-marketing consultant... Read more ...
Posted on: Friday, 28 September, 2018

‘Cows eat grass, don’t they?’ at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018

The ‘Cows eat grass, don’t they?’ project took to the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe for a second year as part of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, a public engagement initiative to connect academic research with the public. This provides an excellent opportunity to engage with people who wouldn’t... Read more ...
Posted on: Wednesday, 22 August, 2018

Cows are happy inside: fact

This week I learned that spraying cold water into a new born calf’s ear will shock it into life if it’s not breathing but has a heartbeat. Apparently inside of the ear is quite close to the brain, so this jolts the calf alive when other techniques won’t work. It must be a huge relief for the farm... Read more ...
Posted on: Friday, 6 July, 2018

What does it mean to be a 'good' dairy farmer?

Farming is both an art and a science. Dairy farming in the UK is poised between being a traditional backbone of the rural economy and a high-tech industry. We need to understand what farmers and other stakeholders value within this sector in order to understand how they make decisions. The idea of... Read more ...
Posted on: Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

A farm by any other name....

I’ve often been caught out by language and terminology during interviews with farmers; not least in the North East of Scotland (e.g. not realising ‘backend’ means autumn and farmers were saying they vaccinated their cattle in the autumn. I was thinking "I'm pretty sure you're supposed to vaccinate... Read more ...
Posted on: Tuesday, 1 May, 2018

Why compare dairy farming in the UK and Ireland?

Satellite image of the UK
Indoor dairy farming is about more than just the housing of the cows. It's about the farming system, the ethos and the history that underpins this modern farming practice. Indoor dairy farming is increasingly common in the UK, but to my knowledge rare in the Republic of Ireland. The UK and Ireland... Read more ...
Posted on: Sunday, 1 April, 2018

'Cows eat grass, don't they?' at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017

'Cows eat grass, don't they?' at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017
As a society we may be losing touch with how our food is produced, but one thing we all know is that milk comes from cows and cows eat grass. But is this the case anymore? And does it matter if this is changing? These are questions I wanted to explore in an event with the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas... Read more ...
Posted on: Monday, 12 March, 2018