Cows graze in field May 13 -- first graze

Cows enjoy their first graze May 13. Before the cows had access to the new paddock they were fed dry hay to mitigate grazing stress brought on by the early-spring slow growth.

It feels like spring is here now. The first half of May many farmers were focused on spreading manure, applying a granular fertilizer mixture, and working land with the plow and rototiller. A few farmers began planting about May 15. The beginning of May brought many showers with some colder days.

Mid-May brought warmer weather with slightly less rain. Farmers are planting between rain falls. Weather radars are being watched closely. Other farmers have said their fields are still a little too wet to begin planting. The hay fields look terrible, with a lot of winter kill. I’m curious to see what decisions my family makes in regards to the poorer hay fields. I’m sure the older hay fields will be worked and re-seeded in corn.

The warm days we’ve been receiving made the grazing pastures green up fast. Dandelions are yellow. Some paddocks have a three-leaf or greater count while other pastures are still too immature to graze.

Rotational grazing began May 13 for our cows. Every cow ran into the pastures with joy, jumping and kicking, and bucking heads as if they were children. Once their noses hit the grass, heads stayed down. They grazed as if they were children in a candy store. Every year I look forward to the day I can open the gate and allow the cows to have access to the first fresh grasses after a long winter.

There’s satisfaction in having the privilege to stand back while overlooking the herd as they graze a new paddock. Grazing season came just in time because corn silage is low. We’re reaching the lesser-quality silage. It’s nice not needing to feed the cows as much in the barn. The barn also stays cleaner when the cows aren’t in it.

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Kimberly Weyland of Neenah, Wisconsin, a loving mother with a passion for cows, believing grazing cows and fresh-cut alfalfa is paradise. Currently she works on her parents’ organic dairy farm as well for Climate FieldView as an activation specialist. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.