Thursday, May 9, 2013

May Is Beef Month: Calving; From A Wives Perspective

Observations of Calving Season from a Farm Wife’s Perspective 
by Elaine Utesch, Correctionville, Iowa Beef Industry Council Board Director

It’s springtime here at Triple U Ranch, and the prime activity here is calving.  Calving season here consumes nearly four months, and always proves to be exciting. Over the past 39 years of being married to my husband Craig and raising my three children Matt, Jessica, and Nathan, I have developed a set of observations about this excitement.
I have learned that:
  1. Low-pressure systems mean more cows calving.  Watch the local weather reports and be ready to clear out calving pens ahead of the low-pressure system.
  2. When I am called for assistance at the calving barn, I should check the “mean cow” list on the fridge for the cows that haven’t yet calved.  If one of those on the list is calving, I keep myself between the cow and the nearest gate!
  3. If I don’t know, call Jessica, our calving specialist.
  4. Rain is a good/bad thing.  We need it to get the grass growing in the pastures, but it sure makes things a mess in the calving pens.
  5. Ten minutes before leaving for any event that requires clean clothes and clean shoes, there will be a cow that needs assistance calving.
  6. If Craig, Jessica and husband Cody, are all gone at the same time, a cow will be calving.  Most likely it will be a breech birth from the most stubborn cow on the farm.  Note to self:  make sure the vet’s number is on speed dial.
  7. When planning gatherings at our home in the spring, like a birthday party or Easter dinner, take into consideration that cleaning the house is a waste of time and energy.  More than likely, it will rain or snow, and the majority of mud on the farm will be tracked into the house whenever anyone comes in to mix up milk replacer or find ear tags.
  8. Also, regarding #7, dinner will be late.
  9. The amount of muddy laundry increases proportionally with the amount of rain in the rain gauge.
  10. The cutest baby calves in the spring are always the naughty ones that find the hole in the fence during the summer.
  11. Having the bulls get out of the pen and wander through the front yard eliminates the need for aerating the front yard in the spring.  Depending on how long they are out, it can also eliminate the need for fertilizing it.
  12. There is nothing more satisfying than watching cows and calves grazing on a lush pasture; except being married to the farmer whose cows and calves are on the pasture.
Here’s to all the farmers and their families who are getting to the end of their calving seasons and turning those cows and calves out on pastures.  You’ve made it through, and it’s time to move on to the next task—fixing fence. 

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