Diary of a Dairy Farmer

March is Agriculture month and we need to thank the 1500 Indiana dairy farmers that work hard every single day to keep milk and dairy products in our fridges. When The Indiana Family of Farmers asked consumers what was the one thing they would always find in their grocery cart, most listed a dairy products! Below is a glimpse at a diary of a dairy farmer…

Written by Cynthia Adam, Dairy Farmer and Registered Dietitian

I’m looking for the Green.  March in Northern Indiana is well known for being the month of MUD.   The snow has finally melted off just a week ago, and the spring rains have arrived.  Along with the rain, our spring calving season started off with a bang, two weeks early. For a small dairy of 60 cows, we have been blessed with lots of babies and are experiencing some growing pains. This is the first year that we were successful with developing a spring calving season, and we weren’t quite prepared. Twelve calves in a week made me hustle.  I did the mental math and let the kids know we were right on track to be compared to a 600 head herd with year round calving.  They weren’t impressed. My youngest son’s only comment was “How many more bottle babies are there?   Where do I put the next baby- the hutches are full.”  But growth is a good problem.  So we got creative with our hutch housing, made up a few more group pens and John quickly built a few more hutches, and we survived.   Now we have quite a chorus when the babies are hungry.  It’s fun to listen and observe the difference in the calves pre and post feeding, just in noise level and friskiness.  The babies already identify my youngest son and me as the food source, and if I dare wander out close to the hutches, the decibel level rises fast.

Monday we had a surprise as John and I were finishing milking the last group of cows. The milk house and the windows vibrated, a mini earthquake, and the whole milking herd went dancing by, up the hill, across the  newly seeded yard, around the house and out to the road. Tails swishing, udders flopping and heels flying, with the biggest grins on their faces imaginable.  Elvira, one of our pets, had been rubbing on itch on the chained gate, worked the chain off, leaned on the gate and proceeded to lead the rest of her partners to freedom.  Nothing gets the blood pumping as seeing the herd running by.  We exited the parlor rapidly, and attempted to head them off at the pass. Of course the herd split- half was heading toward the neighbors to the east and the other half heading toward the western neighbors.  This is where MUD impacts our life greatly.  Attempt to outrun cows, through a slimy, muddy field, wearing barn boots and Carharts.  Cows are FAST!  Thankfully the morning rush to work was over, and we didn’t have a single car on the road while corralling the girls.  We don’t need to rent a plug/aerator for the yard; the girls accomplished the job quite efficiently.  However the holes are a “bit” larger than the recommended size.

Take time to talk to a farmer and ask questions of what their day is like; after all farmers are the ones that put the food on your table.  Thank you Farmers!

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