Cedar, the matriarch of our herd, decided to dry herself off early. What does that mean? First, it means, sadly, we do not have enough milk to make yogurt. Drying-off, means that she stopped giving milk. When we considered this more closely, we realized that over the past six years, we have dried Cedar off (gradually stopped milking her) each winter about the same time she did this voluntarily this year. In the past, this was in preparation for her next calf being born in the late spring.
It is always good to give a cow a rest from milking several months before calving, so her energy can go into the growth of the fetus. Commercial dairies typically give their cows two months, dry before birth. We give ours about twice that long. Last year Cedar was due in late May, so we dried her off in late January.
This year we decided to switch our breeding schedule so that calving would happen in late summer. Our intention was to milk Cedar and Ginger (we are only milking two cows) until late April this year. But Cedar, had other ideas. With milk from only one cow, we do not have enough to serve our raw milk customers and make yogurt. So that is why you do not find Callie’s Creamery Yogurt on the shelves of our local grocers.
This situation illustrates the challenges of the small farmer. One, variable shifts and the business and the customers pay the consequences. Happily, we have three cows, calving in late August and early September 2021. By fall our yogurt will be available again. We appreciate your patience and hope you think it is worth the wait!