While you and I have been ogling the gorgeous carrots and the bodacious cabbages, the dairy cows have been eyeballing the oat/pea cover crop that is growing in Monument and Pine fields. It is so lush and tall now that Jane and her friend Arden played hide-and-seek in it this week. It was definitely a hider’s game: the girls only had to lie down flat to disappear completely. Lucky for the cows, this is the week they get to dig into that luscious stuff. We’ll move them through it very quickly, in 6 hour rotations, so they won’t damage the soil. This year has been a lesson in the benefits of annual forage crops like these for grass-fed dairy. We got a substantial boost in production from the rye/vetch during the early season, another boost from clover during the mid-season slump, and we expect the same from the late oat/pea.
We’ve decided to make the leap from multiple small freezers to one big walk-in, thanks to the advice and expertise of our member Mark Bimonte. This should be better both for direct energy usage and overall energy efficiency. With more freezer room, we can slaughter more animals in the fall, and winter fewer of them, which will give us a big savings in feed and labor, and simplify many of our systems… (Continue reading Kristin Kimball’s Essex Farm Note)