Every year it is a big event when the cows return to pasture after months spent lounging in the dairy barn munching hay and wandering around their relatively small yard for a portion of the day. This year their winter facilities were improved with the addition of a beautiful new loafing shed that allows for much more steam-lined feeding out of the hay and silage bails as well as room for loafing between mealtimes.
But, come spring and warm weather and the cows truly just want to be chomping on the fresh green grass. This year we had to postpone the first pasture date by a week because the beautiful sunny weather came long before the spring rains and the grass was growing very slowly. Nonetheless, today was their day. At 11am the farm crew opened the gate to the lane and the cows nearly stampeded to the lower portion of steep hill. The long awaited rains finally came over the weekend and the ground is a bit soft but the cows don’t mind. This morning mist and fog hung in the the valleys and a grey quality in the sky made all the colors pop providing for an immensely picturesque and pastoral scene for the community to witness.
Since I milked over the weekend and have had the day off I spent a little extra time with the cows just observing their focused grazing. What amazed me the most is the sound of each bite. And I also enjoyed how visibly the grass goes from new growth to freshly mown as they move along.
I wish this video’s quality was better, but I hope you can get a sense of the moment and particularly the sound of the grazing.