High Grove Farm Journal – May 2023
Jun 06, 2023 (Westby, WI)
By Jessica Rogers
Hi, I am Jessica! My husband Drew and I, along with our three kids, Carter, Caleb and Laney, enjoy sharing each month about all that happens on our small family farm in Southwestern Wisconsin.
We have a grazing focused dairy farm where we milk around 50 registered Holsteins out on our ridge-top pastures above the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wis. The driftless region is truly a beautiful place to live and work.
The cows and us have eased into a happy pace each day with our spring chores. We wake early every morning at about 4 a.m. to start bringing the cows in from pasture and to get the barn ready for them to be milked. They eat some while they’re getting milked and then, after milking, we quickly move a fence or two to give them their fresh portion of pasture that they will be on until the heat of the day starts to set in. Then after eating as much fresh forage as they like, we bring them back to stay cool in the barn or out in the side pasture, which has a long row of tall maple trees for them to sleep in the shade until evening milking. After that, it’s out to another fresh portion of pasture for the whole night!
Planting has been done and now all that’s left is no-tilling a new pasture mix into some fields we grazed Italian Rye off of already. No-tilling is a technique also known as zero-tillage or direct drilling for planting crops without disturbing the soil, which helps reduce soil erosion and protects the living biodiversity in the soil.
We have a nice group of heifers this year that we’ve raised since birth and are getting old enough to milk soon. We are watching a few calve in each week, and it’s been fun seeing what each one is like as she graduates from the heifer and dry cow pasture to the milking cow group!
Each cow has its own individual personality. They can be docile or spunky, shy or overly friendly or somewhere in-between. So far, the heifers that have calved in this spring have all been such sweet girls and are true pleasures to milk each day.
Drew and I often drive out to check our group of dry cows (cows who aren’t milking) and older heifers who will calve in soon. They are on a summer pasture we rent at a friend’s farm where he keeps an eye on them for us. They have lovely tall shade trees and woods to hang out in, and we bring them a little grain each time to train them to come to us each time we’re there.
The kids are home from school now and are busy with sports and playing outside. (And begging about a million times a day for me to take them down to the local trout stream swimming hole, which is just down the road.) The farmer who owns the land next to this one mows a path for people to use. I think that’s just so sweet.
Stay cool friends. I hope by the time you read this, our area and those who need it, will have had some nice amounts of rainfall. It is starting to get pretty dry out!
Thanks for visiting!
-Jessica Rogers is a Westby Creamery farmer-owner who is sharing glimpses of farm life with us.
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