This summer, many of us will take advantage of the sun by going to the beach. A farmer takes advantage of the sun by heading to the field.
Summer is Crop Season
By the time June comes around, many farmers are working to get a second cut of hay. This hay crop needs to be tedded (fluffed), dried, raked, and baled. Once the farmer has gathered the bales, the field gets a dose of nutrients through manure spreading.
Most farmers in B.C. choose to grow specific crops based on where they live. The more heat during summer, the more growth from a corn crop. To make sure their crops are receiving adequate water, dairy farmers will often set up irrigation systems along their fields, which will help control the amount of water given to crops during June, July, and August.
A farmer in the Cowichan Valley said that even though corn grows easily on Vancouver Island, it requires a lot of irrigation, “We also have an irrigation system for our crops which we use about once a week, if needed, that operates by just a push of a button.”
Taking Care of Animals
While tending to their crops dairy farmers also have their regular duties of feeding, milking and cleaning after their cows. Farmers also like to make sure that their calves have an extra water during the hot summer days to prevent heat stress, and that barns are often outfitted with large fans or water misters to keep cows cool.
Since a full-grown cow can drink up to 80L of water per day, it is crucial that cows have water throughout the hot summer days. Many dairy barns are fitted with free-access water fountains throughout, so that cows can get as much water as they need. Because cows drink more in the summer, farmers take time to make sure the water is cool (between 10°C-20°C) and free from feed build-up.
Farming is a year round job and summer time is extra busy for farmers. On these hot summer days, whether you’re enjoying ice-cream or a refreshing iced coffee (with milk!), a dairy farmer is working hard to make sure it’s of the best quality.