Sunrise Tree

Sunrise Tree

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jaguar on the Farm

A Jaguar prowled through our silage field, consuming its prey with a steady growl. It chomped and spit as it devoured with a seemingly insatiable appetite.

This Jaguar had not escaped from a zoo or been transported from its native South America to a rural Kansas farm. This Jaguar was a silage cutter which came to cut our 2015 crop.
 
For years, Randy's family and a neighbor family did the job themselves. When Randy was young, they had a one-row, pull-type silage cutter. Then they upgraded to a two-row, pull-type silage cutter. Each farm family provided a tractor, one to pull the cutter and the other to use to pack the trench silo.
Waiting on a truck to get back to the field
They each provided a truck to haul the cut silage from the field to the silo. And the wives provided a harvest meal for the four- to six-man crew. It took two days to get everything ready. It took a week to get both family's silage cut and in the silos. And then it took another two days to get everything cleaned up.
We hired John Evans and his custom crew out of Macksville to cut our silage crop. It took one afternoon to cut the two fields and fill the trench silo. Evans had four trucks hauling the cut silage from the field to the silo.
We grow silage (also known as forage sorghum) for cattle feed. This particular variety is dual purpose: It has both grain and forage (or roughage), both of which are important to the cattle's diets.
After each truck is filled, the driver takes it to the trench silo to dump.
A tractor packs the silage down, filling the silo with 500 tons of the green stuff.


It's a full pantry for the County Line cows.


After we bring the cows and calves off the summer pastures in November, the guys will start feeding the silage to the cattle. The mama cows will get the silage as is. For the feeder calves, Randy & Jake will add about 3 to 4 pounds of vitamin- and mineral-enriched grain per head, since they need the additional energy to grow to get ready for market.

We planted the 2015 silage crop in June. A hunter harvested some for his blinds in August. And we filled the silo on October 3. Click on the link for a look back at this County Line crop.

8 comments:

  1. Big equipment makes short work of harvesting. They are amazing machines and kind of scary too.

    We didn't plant corn last spring. I've heard J say to more than one person he hasn't missed cutting silage and this fall has been less stressful than the last two. At the same time, I know we will miss the awesome feed come winter.

    If you aren't done chopping, good luck finishing up!

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    1. The silage harvest was over in an afternoon. Now, the guys are swathing sudan, so baling is soon to follow. At least the new swather is working better on this crop. We had a terrible time with the old one last year. I guess it was worth the wait!

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  2. We too used to do it ourselves with a pull type three row cutter. We did this with another neighbour and got both our silage corn off this way together. Till about two years ago we had so many breakdowns. It took us a month to do what should of taken a week or so. Since then we've hired it done. It's unbelievable how fast they can chop!!

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    1. I'm glad we let the pros do this particular harvest. I have no desire to be the one in the tractor, teetering as the mountain of silage grows!

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  3. Do you use all the silage or do you sell some of it?

    Mary Mae
    Western Prep

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    1. We use it. I can ask Randy about whether or not he'd sell any, but we typically don't.

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  4. It is amazing how quick the big contractors can get through a field. Their gear is just so much bigger... and more expensive. Great photos.

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    1. Even though it seems expensive, it's worth it in the long run!

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