Despite the 2 inches of snow Monday and the brisk, howling winds on Tuesday, spring has finally sprung here in my part of Virginia. Trees are blooming, flowers are sprouting, and the grass blows in the wind like waves through the fields. Deer have become more prevalent throughout the farm as does prepare to have their fawns. Yes, spring is full of beauty, warmth, and newborns, but it also signals the time for our annual “spring fling”.
Our “spring fling” sounds like a middle school dance and could easily be compared to one. During the winter months, all of our cattle are kept inside the barns for safety reasons. But when the weather finally changes and the grass has grown back, the cattle are moved around and placed in different paddocks throughout the farm. Just like a middle school dance, the cattle are placed in groups. These groups tend to stay together, don’t mingle with other groups, and no one dares to leave their group for fear of rejection. They run and frolic together through the fields and almost “dance” when their hooves hit the grass for the first time.
The “spring fling” signifies the beginning of our busiest time of year. As soon as all of the cattle are moved, we begin the process of catching heifers in heat to get them bred and working on our corn planter and equipment for harvesting triticale. We look at soil samples, fertilizers, and everything in between. It’s a busy time of year, but it’s also an exciting time as we watch the cattle folic through the fields, heifers become moms, and the overall beauty of the land change from cold and barren to warm and full of life.
The author is a sixth-generation farmer and fifth-generation dairy producer in southwest Virginia, where she and her family own and operate a 145-head Holstein dairy. Courtney is involved in agriculture organizations throughout her community and is a graduate of Virginia Tech.