Hello! How’s your weekend going? Ours has been busy with Hudson’s football games, visiting some good friends, cleaning, mowing, and getting ready for some ladies from China who are journalists and big in the social media world to visit our farm tomorrow morning. So like normal, life has been pretty crazy around here!
The picture above is a close up of an ear of corn out in the field. Our corn isn’t quite ready to harvest yet, but this past week it sure has been getting closer! It is still pretty wet (it needs to dry so we can store it in the bins without it spoiling). We are thinking it will still be a couple of weeks before the combine is rolling through our fields.
The day we were having our corn chopped for silage I took the twins’ out with me to check things out. They chopped right across from our house, so it was really easy to get too. We hire someone to come and do the chopping for us, since we don’t own a forage harvester. This is a special piece of equipment that cuts the corn plants off close to the ground and chops the entire plant, stalk, and ear of corn and then sprays it into a waiting cart.
This is what the chopped corn looks like up close. You can see pieces of the stalk, leaves, and ear of corn all chopped up and mixed together.
Once a cart is full, the driver takes it over to our silage pit where it is dumped out into a big pile. You can see in the picture below, the tractor is getting ready to back up and dump that load into the pit.
Then another tractor with a bucket on the front scoops up the chopped corn and packs it into a big pile. They drive up on it to really pack it together. This will help it form a crust afterwards and keep the pile from spoiling and cause it to ferment, turning it into silage.
When we get ready to feed the silage to the cattle, it likely be mixed with DDGs, ground hay and/or cornstalks in a mixer wagon. DDGs are a byproduct of the ethanol making process. It is a high value protein from the corn kernel that is separated out when ethanol is being made. About one third of a bushel of corn comes back as DDGs when ethanol is being made.