Grasses are fading and milk production is waning. After several years of moving this direction, we will officially make the transition to becoming a seasonal dairy this week. All of the cows are now bred to calve in the spring, so the entire herd will be on "maternity leave" for the winter. This will allow us to make better use of the forages available during the growing season. Cows need a lot more grass when they are producing milk than when they are dry, so it only makes sense for a grass fed dairy to milk cows when the most forage is available. Of course, cows and calves still need to eat whether they are milking or not, so they will continue to rotate through the farm to eat cool season grasses, such as rye, and standing hay. We will supplement with alfalfa hay, too.
So, come this weekend, for the first time in about a quarter century, there will be no cows entering the barn at Crain Dairy. But, no worries, they'll be back in the spring. And we have stocked up on lots of raw milk cheeses and ricotta and we'll still have our grass fed beef and kitchen products available year round.