One evening, I drove by the huge mountain of milo on the ground in Stafford and saw a line of birds perched on top of the grain. Others were lined up along a nearby power line.
I thought to myself, "I'll bet those birds have been eating at the all-you-can-eat milo buffet and are taking a little time to let their food digest." (Yes, I have a vivid imagination, but I'm no Doctor Doolittle: I definitely don't talk to the animals.)
Around here, we saw plenty of birds eating their fill from the unharvested fields of milo. (It's a little hard to see, but all the little black dots in the blue sky were barn swallows who were dining at the milo field.)
But some of birds went the lazy route and dined at the all-you-can-eat buffet. None of that tiresome hunting and gathering for them, no sirree.
While there are plenty of places in Kansas with rolling hills, my area of Central Kansas is fairly flat. But we have our own version of hills these days.
All across this part of the country, co-ops are having to store grain on the ground. In Stafford, besides the milo pile east of the co-op (pictured at the top of the post), they've begun another pile north of the highway.
There are two bunkers of corn. One has been covered and is protected from the elements (and hungry birds).
They are still dumping trucks at the other corn pile, though they are also trying to load out some of the grain.
Even in a rural community, the storage method is not without its detractors.
I have heard more than one person complain about the grain dust generated when harvest trucks dump outside in the brisk Kansas wind.
I certainly understand people who struggle with allergies. My husband and my son are two of them (and me, to a much lesser degree). Outside storage is nobody's first choice - the producer, the co-op or the community.
I'm sure the co-op is thankful for dry weather this fall. Last fall, there were repeated rains on the unprotected grain. And, even with no rain, there's some inevitable quality loss and deterioration during on-the-ground storage.
I, for one, am thankful for a plentiful, bountiful harvest.
In Stafford, there are probably 1.5 million bushels of corn and milo on the ground. Believe me, nobody would choose to store in the neighborhood of $7.6 million dollars of grain on the ground. There's just no other place to put it.