St. John Valley

Newborn calves present their own brand of ‘March madness’ on northern Maine farm

These days, Erin Parisien is never sure what to expect when she arrives at her beef cattle barns off Route 161 just south of Fort Kent.

All she knows for sure is there will likely be several new additions to the herd.

That’s because it’s smack in the middle of calving season now at Aroostook Beef Co. in New Canada. “We’re seeing two or three new calves a day.”

Though not the numbers that are seen in the big beef states like Texas, Montanna or Nebraska, Maine’s own beef numbers are respectable, according to the state’s livestock expert.

“We have a lot of beef in Maine,” Cindy Kilgore, livestock specialist with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said. “In one northern Maine feedlot they are handling between 2,500 and 3,500 cows. There are a couple of other lots that size in Maine.”

And while people tend to equate calving with spring, Kilgore, who raises beef cattle, said the due dates are really up to the farmers. She, for example, plans her breedings so the calves are due in the fall.

“We calve in October,” she said. “It’s really whatever works for the farmer — it’s a nine-month gestation, so just plan accordingly.”

So far, Parisien and her husband Richard Nielsen have welcomed 40 black Angus calves over the last couple of weeks from cows or heifers bred to one of their six bulls last May and June. By the time calving winds up next month, there should be 100 more.

The Fiddlehead Focus/St. John Valley Times is pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “Newborn calves present their own brand of ‘March madness’ on northern Maine farm,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Julia Bayly, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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