Monday, September 15, 2014

Silo Filling 2014...

Last year at this time, our silos were all full, and fall was heading our way in a hurry.

This year we had a cool spring, so the corn was planted later than usual. So...we're about two weeks behind in harvesting, as compared to other years.  Usually it's the last week of August when the chopper pulls in. (here and here are some of last years' pics) We remember many times...waiting out front with the kids for the school bus, hearing the unmistakable whine of the chopper coming up the road.  We would hear him long before we saw him...

Last week we ran out of silage here at home.  We were expecting it, but it meant lining up the chopper to cut at least a couple of loads of corn so that the cows had some silage to eat.  Jim had been taking moisture samples, and the corn was borderline as far as being ready to chop.  (The ideal moisture for in our small silos is about 67%)  It's not always easy to get silage chopped at just the right time.  When using a custom harvester, you not only have to get the corn at the right time, but you also have to juggle around the schedules of several farmers, all who have the same goal in mind.

The plan was, since the moisture was fill one silo and then pull out, planning to come back this week to fill the other silo here and also the one at the other farm.


The chopper is a fascinating machine, at least to me.  It's quite intimidating, especially when you're this close in front of it!  You want to be sure that the guy in the cab knows you're there before getting close!

The sides are folded up here, for travel on the roads.

Jeff took some time to write out some bills while he sharpened the chopper blades...

In the center of the picture, you can see the knife sharpeners.  This was something new to me, and I can't explain how they work, but it was interesting to watch.  I climbed up in the cab and took this picture looking down from the top...

Once everyone was set up, they cut a couple of loads, taking off the outer rows of corn from this field.  I can finally see the neighbors again!  (This is something I look forward to every fall.  I don't like to feel isolated behind corn fields!)  Hmm...who left that mess of silage on the road?  Don't worry...we cleaned it up...

Still trying to decide if the corn was a little too green, Jim squeezed a handful of silage to see how much juice was there.  His hand came away pretty wet...

After much discussion, they decided to pull out and come back in a few days to finish up.  Too much moisture makes a lower quality silage, not to mention a lot of smelly, messy silo juice!  Gotta keep those ladies happy...good silage translates to more milk!  By waiting a few days, hopefully it will be just right going into the silo.

Those "few days" are almost past, and we're expecting to chop the rest of the corn tomorrow.


  1. I've seen numerous "trial passes" around here in the last few days, too!

  2. I always love reading about your jobs. I have never seen a cutter like that it. It is really scary looking at it. You know watching the silage has always been so interesting to me, as it grows so fast and then watching them harvest it. They cut it here and make mountains of it. They cover it with tarps weighed down with tires.
    I guess because we don't get snow.
    Have a wonderful day.

  3. hoping you're able to get it at the right time. that machine is very intimidating! :)

  4. What a process!
    It's nice that you can schedule the silage chopping and get it done when it's the optimal time and moisture content.

    Good luck with the farm chores this week :)

  5. I didn't realize that silage is kind of an art. We have very few silos in this part of Alberta, and very farmers grow corn. The season is just too short!

  6. That's quite a machine for chopping corn. We haven't grown corn in years because too many black birds and raccoon damage to our crops. You guys are lucky that you can grow corn easily. Good luck with your harvest.

  7. Oh I do hope it gets just right for you and your girls. It is a bit intimidating but very cool machine. Good luck with the drying. You are such a great teacher for us who have no idea. Thank you. Hug B

  8. It's always enjoyable to read your blog and hear about the chores. Brings back lots of memories of days past. Farming is hard work, but it has to be very rewarding because you are building a business. Does that makes since?


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