“We are almost halfway through the 100 day sprint now, in the annual race to capture as much sunlight as we can, and keep it. I see surprised exhaustion on the faces of some of our new farmers these days, but those of us who have been at it a while are accustomed to the intense power of June and the work that comes with it. Yesterday, Ben said that when he was in his twenties and dairying he worked such long hours in June he would fall asleep on the tractor and wake up when his head hit the steering wheel.
I know that feeling from having fallen asleep while cultivating in June, stopped at the end of a row to let the horses blow. With the strong June sun hammering down on us, those few profound seconds were sweeter than dark hours between cool sheets.
The brand new AI tank is in the barn now, full of liquid nitrogen and, as of yesterday, forty straws of deep-frozen Jersey bull semen. We’re sending thanks to Skip Maynard of Milk and Honey Genetics, who drove all the way over from Orwell, Vermont to get it to us in time to service the three cows who are scheduled to come into heat this weekend.
It was wonderful to select semen from prime bulls to compliment each cow, rather than using a single live, dangerous, and genetically fair-to-middling bull. Among other traits, like good feet, strong udders, and the ability to thrive on grass, we chose bulls with genes for A2/A2 milk. Some background: The A1 and A2 alleles determine the kind of protein a cow will produce in her milk….” Continue Reading this Essex Farm Note.