Most of the time when we use the word "crop" it seems we are talking about plants that we grow to feed our cattle but since the first of September, I have been increasingly busy with our fall calf crop. We will have new calves born all through the year but usually in the spring and fall, a group of heifers will give birth to their first calf. These forty two first calf heifers were also babies I raised from birth two years ago. Each heifer is identified with a number name that I assign to them at birth. As the heifer matures, we will use her number name to record her indiviual genetic,health and milk production information. Waiting for these heifers to calve requires close observation and sometimes requires very late in the night or wee morning hour assistance from the dairy farmer and family assistants(that would sometimes be me). During this past month, it has been common for us to have two or more babies born per day. As this heifer group finishes calving, we can breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate the beginning milk production of the heifer that we have raised from birth. Watching our cows grow from babies to mature cows brings a great sense of pride and accomplishment. These cows are not only part of the herd but part of our family!