Thursday, November 9, 2017

Top Secret Mission

"I'm sorry, Ma'am! But you can't take pictures."

"Excuse me?"

"I'm sorry, but this is a prototype, and you can't take pictures."

"At all?"

"No, ma'am. I'm sorry."

OK. I'm up for a challenge. I can take pictures and not reveal your super secret MacDon draper header, Mr. MacDon Salesguy. (For the record, I asked our local harvester, and he said it was OK if I didn't show details of the header itself.)

It personally think it was more of a challenge to get the silage in the truck. The wind was blowing 90 mph from the north. (Well, maybe it wasn't that bad, but it sure seemed like it!) Naturally, that's the day the silage-cutting crew showed up to cut of 25 acres of silage.
The silage wasn't standing tall either. While we waited for our turn from the custom-cutting crew, the tall stalks succumbed to gravity. It was definitely a different scene than last year, when the stalks towered over Randy's 6-foot, 1-inch frame.
By the time the harvesters reached the second field, the sun was on its way down. Even though the lighting wasn't ideal on the photo below, I still liked the image of the four silage trucks waiting in their own mini version of a silage traffic jam.
Opening the field was challenging, since the silage was down and the wind was howling.
But, eventually, they were rolling, though the pace was slower than is sometimes the case.
Silage cutting is another one of those choreographed farm "dances." The silage feeds into the cutter and is chopped. An auger carries the chopped silage into the truck.
All this happens "on the go," with the truck and the cutter continuing in sync through the field until they get to the end of the rows. They then move into position for the next swath down the field.

As they cut, another truck follows behind, ready to move into position when the first truck is full.
By design, Randy plants the silage in fields fairly close to the silo so that it doesn't have to be trucked so far.
Once it's full, the trucker takes it to the silo.
I give the truckers an A+ for their backing skills.
The silage trucker backs into the trench silo, dumps his load and takes off for another load-on-the-go.
Between trucks, the tractor driver packs the silage into our own "Green Mountain."
Once in the silo, the silage goes through an "ensiling" process. The silage goes through chemical changes and heat builds up. It raises the pH of the silage so that it doesn't spoil or ferment any more. About the top 6 inches of it will rot, but then it forms an airtight seal, protecting the silage underneath.

After we brought the cows and calves off the summer pastures, the guys started feeding the silage to the feeder calves. For them Randy adds 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. After the mama cows are done dining on milo stubble and volunteer wheat, they, too, will get the silage.

It's good to see the cattle's "pantry" full and ready for Old Man Winter.


  1. Well I was totally unprepared for this version of a silo. Quite amazing.
    The wind sounds awful. Another busy time on your farm.
    By the way do you call your property a farm?

    1. Yes, we call it a farm. (I was exaggerating the wind speed, but it was very windy to attempt to cut silage that day.)

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