Tuesday, February 14, 2012

More Beans...

Well...it's feeling a lot better out there the past few days!  After the cold snap we had over the weekend, we've been enjoying temps in the forties...and we're not complaining! 

We had a frustrating morning on Sunday, due in part to the cold, but things have thawed out again, and we're up and running.  Before we know it, spring will really be here, and we'll literally be running.  I'm kind of looking forward to it!

While we've had a bit of a break here over winter from field work, gardening, mowing, etc, some things never stop.  Just imagine if we'd tell the cows that we were taking off and they wouldn't be milked or fed.  Actually, it's not worth imagining...it would get pretty ugly...fast!  When the cows don't get fed in as timely of a manner as they think they should, we hear about it.  They complain, loudly, and we get swatted with tails and sometimes hooves in protest.  For them, it's all about food!

Some time ago, I did a post about cow capacity...how much a cow eats in a day. I showed hay, corn silage, corn, pellets and soybeans.  

Today it was time to refill our bin of soybeans.  This is the bin, upstairs in the barn, where we store the beans...

This bin holds three tons of toasted soybeans, which lasts us about three months.  Downstairs in the cow stable, the bottom of the bin...the chute...comes through the floor, and is easily accessible for refilling the feed cart...

When our soybeans are harvested in late summer/fall, we send them to be toasted and stored in a grain bank.  We fill our bin, and Jim calls to have more delivered as needed.  We go through about one ton per month.  

Not all of the cows get beans...they're used as a top dress...additional protein...for the heavy milkers.  The cows that are farther along in their lactation and aren't milking as heavy, don't get any.  They love the taste of them though, and do everything they can to steal from their neighbors!

Today we had a delivery...

The driver backs up the barn hill and gets as close as he can to our pipe, which runs from the top of the bin, down along side of the barn to near the door.  He hooks up one end of a flexible metal pipe to the permanent one...

...hooks the other end up to his truck, and starts the blower...

I didn't time him, but I'm guessing it might take about ten minutes to transfer all of the beans from his truck into our bin.  It has got to be one of the best smelling jobs a guy could have!  When the beans are freshly toasted, and even still warm, they smell wonderful!  And yes, we've tasted them...they taste just like the ones you buy to snack on, without the salt!  (I recently met the owner of the business that toasts and stores the grain at a meeting.  He told me that some people have told him that they drive out of their way to go past his place of business, just to enjoy the smell!)

Here they are, ready to be fed to a hungry cow...

Another day is done here...we're finished with milking, finished with supper, are doing homework, playing working on the computer and winding down.  

...and hopefully the cows are out there making some milk.  Especially the ones who had beans for dessert!


  1. I'll bet lunch like that makes for some truly contented cows. You know the feed is good when it even smells yummy to people. I'll bet toasted soy beans even makes the milk taste great.

    I'd never even seen soy beans until a road trip through Missouri. I made my hubby pull over (you can take the girl out of the farm but...) so I could see what kind of weird looking crop was growing everywhere there.

  2. I just love your posts chronicling what to you must be very mundane but to a lot of us is very, very interesting! Thanks for letting us realize all the hard work that goes into a dairy!

  3. My hat's off to you and all dairy farmers. Our cows keep us home only during calving which runs from late Feb thru April. Kudos to you for being around for your cows 24/7.

  4. I've never heard of the toasted beans for cows before coming here. I bet they do smell and taste yummy.

  5. I would imagine a straight diet of soybeans would not be a good thing. Too much protein. But I could go for a toasted soybean about now. Great post!

  6. I didn't realize cows would eat soybeans. Really interesting! The fill up from the truck happens really fast, I thought 3 tons of beans would take longer than that. Wow. Cheers, Jenni


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