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Children come face to face with farm animals at open day

Milo (6) comes face to face with a friendly cowMilo (6) comes face to face with a friendly cowChildren came face to face with farm animals while adults got a bird's eye view of a state-of-the-art 'cow-rousel' and an innovative machine that turns muck into brass, during an open day at a Pewsey farm.

Stowell Farms threw open the doors of its milking parlour, at Sharcott Pennings Farm, for the Open Farms Day initiative on Sunday. 

The dairy – which opened in September 2011 – is home to 500 head of cattle, and the herd is milked 38 at a time in a rotary parlour.

Cows queue to step on to a turntable where milking cups are attached to their udders manually.

All aboard the cow-rouselAll aboard the cow-rouselMilking takes place as the turntable rotates, and when each cow reaches the exit point she is herded back to the cowshed.

A viewing gallery and classrooms have been built above the milking parlour so that groups – from school children to a recent delegation of bankers – can see the operation for themselves.

The dairy also boasts an anaerobic digestion plant, which turns cow slurry and silage into electricity and light.

Visitors were told that around 15 percent of the power generated – 12,000 kWh a day – is consumed on the site, with the remainder sold on to the National Grid.

A family enjoying Open Farms DayA family enjoying Open Farms DayIn future, the farm hopes to heat Pewsey Vale School, Pewsey Leisure Centre, Pewsey Primary School and the children's centre with the spare energy it produces.

Open Farms Sunday was held at 365 farms across the UK to help visitors discover the story behind the food they eat.

A recent survey by the British Nutrition Foundation found that almost a third of UK primary pupils think cheese is made from plants and a quarter think fish fingers come from chicken or pigs.

Other participating farms included Wexcombe Manor at East Grafton, Cobbs Farm, Kingham Farms at Aldbourne, and Rutlands Farm at Avebury.  

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