Monday, December 2, 2013:
The first significant snowfall of the year blanketed our valley the day before Thanksgiving. Temperatures around thirty-two degrees meant a layer of ice between two layers of wet, compacted snow, more difficult for the cows to feed through than a deeper layer of fluffy white stuff would be. While it was falling – it snowed for most of two days – we supplemented both the lactating cows and the dry cows with square bales, which they ate with appreciation; when the weather settled, cold, but without precipitation, we left the dry cows to their own devices and supplemented only the mama cows. This morning, finally, temperatures above freezing are rotting the ice over the stockpiled pastures, and we turned the lactating cows onto a new paddock; the enthusiasm with which they turned from baled hay to ice-crusted standing grass is a lesson in cow nutrition.
Although their production has dropped as winter approaches, the cream line in the bottle has remained a constant two-to-three inches, further testimony of the high food value of judiciously stockpiled pasture grass. Thank you, Eastern Ohio Grazing Council, for your absolutely indispensable information, example, and advice – may many such farmers-helping-farmers institutions spring up around the globe, to the benefit of everyone.