Spring on the dairy farm means a lot more than losing an hour of sleep with the start of Daylight Savings Time. In the spring, many dairy farmers breathe a big sigh of relief. This time of year brings big changes for the earth, the cows, and the farmers. We (usually) see the snow melt, the temperatures increase, and the grass getting greener. The changes with the Earth have a large effect on the happiness and health of the cows, and in turn, the farmers.
Changes for the Cows
Cows enjoy this change of climate for a few reasons. The beautiful spring temperatures are among the top reasons cows enjoy this change of seasons. While there is some debate about the specific range of temperatures that cows are comfortable in, most agree that the range falls in line with the typical spring weather. Secondly, the cows are getting more sunlight with an increase in daylight hours. While it shouldn’t be a secret cows enjoy their sunlight, it’s neat to know that the extra sunlight can help increase milk production. While all of these are great, the culmination of these lead to an even better benefit: happy cows!
Another interesting change that the spring has on cows has to do with the quality of milk produced. There could be some slight changes to the taste and color of milk and milk products as a result of the changes in the climate. Since the earth is warming up, the grass is beginning to grow again, and cows are eating that grass again. What cows consume has an effect on the physical properties of milk. The most interesting thing we see is sweeter taste and a more yellow colored cream in late March when the grass is really green.
Changes for Farmers
Cows and farmers alike welcome the warmer weather. The first positive to this change is a happy cow! A happy cow usually means a happy farmer. The second benefit to these spring days is the warmer weather and extra daylight hours. Not only are these things a boost to the cows’ attitudes, but they are also a mood lifter for humans. Finally, when the earth begins to thaw out, farmers breathe one of the biggest sighs of relief as their days of purchasing hay are coming to an end (for now). Hay is one of the largest expenses that a farmer has, and it is only needed in the winter. When the green spring grass comes around, the cows can gain their needed nutrients from the grass instead of the hay.
With spring comes brighter days and brighter moods all around. While the beginning of Daylight Savings Time might not be the easiest transition for people and cows, farmers look forward to the days when the work is warmer and the cows are happier.