COLUMBUS — With the greening grass and warmer weather of spring come a growing season of a different kind.
Calving season on Brent Nyffeler’s farm near Columbus starts in February, and the majority of the calves will be born by April. “We do it then because we like to be done with the majority of calving before we start field work,” Nyffeler said.
From the end of February through March and into April, someone checks on the cows every four hours. When the time comes, most calves are delivered head-first and without complication. But if a calf is presented backward or a front leg is turned back, the delivery can be difficult.
On a recent Sunday morning, before heading to church, Nyffeler noticed one of his cows having difficulty giving birth. The hooves of the calf were very large. Nyffeler attempted to help deliver the calf, but after making little progress, called his veterinarian and hauled the cow to the clinic. “We actually performed a C-section, the first one in my life,” Nyffeler said.
Nyffeler started working on his uncle's farm when he was a high school senior, continuing to work on the farm in the summers and on weekends during planting and harvest seasons between his classes at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“I like calving season, even though you don’t get a lot of sleep,” Nyffeler said. As of Monday, close to 50 of his 64 Angus and Gelbvieh cows had calved. And over the next nine months, those calves will graze and gain weight until many are sold next January, and the cycle begins again.