Even if your closest link to farming is the fields you see when you are driving down the road, you probably know that spring means a lot of farmers are getting their crops in the ground. But what does springtime mean for livestock farmers? This weekend, I took a few photos of our cattle farm. As you can see, springtime means lots of baby animals on our farm!
We choose to have all of our calves born in the springtime. The main reason for this is the well-being of our cows and calves. Springtime usually offers good weather for calving- not too hot, not too cold. Extreme weather conditions are a threat to newborn calves, so we try to avoid exposing them to these kinds of weather conditions.
During calving season, we need to check our cows more often to make sure that we know if one is in labor and whether or not she needs help. Ideally, cows have their calves without assistance and everyone is happy and healthy. Once in a while, though, cows need help giving birth. Problems such as a leg or head positioned wrong can make it almost impossible for a cow to have her calf. If it takes her too long, the life of the newborn calf is at risk. Once the umbilical cord is broken, the calf has no oxygen supply, so it becomes priority to get the head and chest of the calf out quickly.
Cows aren’t the only ones with new babies on the farm! These cute little guys live in our shed where we store our seed for the crops. Mice can cause huge problems and waste a lot of seed by chewing holes in the seed bags, so keeping cats around helps to keep our mice population down and ultimately saves us money on seed.
We used to have pigs on our farm before all of our pasture was used for cattle. Springtime always meant (you guessed it) baby pigs! My dad would bring my brother and I with him to care for the new pigs, so we would always sit on the roof of the hog huts and hold piglets while he worked. Sows are incredibly protective, so the roof of the hog huts was a safe place to us to be while we were out working with dad.
Spring is a critical time of year for both grain and livestock farmers… but it is something we look forward to every year!
ICGA/ICMB Membership Administrative Assistant