From Field To The Feed Bunk

In case you are new to dating a farmer one of the things he may be talking about is chopping corn silage. He may have just finished chopping corn silage, or be towards the end of chopping.

I remember my first year on the farm, I thought corn silage season was fascinating...

Here is a post from my blog Stories Of A First Generation Farm Wife breaking it down for you, in case you were wondering what the hype is all about!

Corn silage season has officially ended around here. Time to clean up the chopper and get the trucks ready for combining soybeans. The pile is all tarped up and it feels good to be moving on to the next portion of harvest. 

Now, this post is a repeat from a few years ago, but I used to it last year as well because it explains corn silage and it also contains the first video I ever made using my Flip cam! Woo hoo for me! 

First, to explain a little bit about corn silage I am pulling this blog from over at South Dakota Corn's blog. They did a great job of explaining the purpose for corn silage. And plus, they are a great resource for more information about corn.

Late August and early September, or when the corn fields start turning from green to gold usually marks the start for corn silage season in South Dakota. Chopping corn for silage is a very popular practice, especially among cattle feeders as silage contains high energy nutrients and is easily digestible.
Corn silage is ideally harvested when the corn ears are well-dented and the plant begins to turn brown and dry.  Late cut silage that includes brown and dead leaves will produce a quality feed, but will yield as much as 30% less.
As the corn is chopped, the plant is still alive as it continues to breathe producing carbon dioxide and heat. When the plant cells stop breathing, the plant begins to ferment and will continue for around three weeks while the silage preserves. The less air reaching the corn silage the better, as it’s important to properly cover the pile or fill the silo with temperatures between 80-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Properly packed and heated silage will have a light-green to yellow color with a vinegar type odor.
Now that you know what corn silage is, here is a closer look at what chopping corn silage looks like...

The Harvest Rush

If you haven't found out yet, you will soon find out, what the rush of harvest can really feel like. 

It means early mornings, very late nights, running back and forth from field to field, and having a farmer that is going a mile minute. 

The one and only tractor nap I was able to get out of this girl this week!
I raked some hay, and then some more hay....

And then some more hay....

And then when I was almost done my hubby baled it. 

I got to see this cutie smile at me every time I came to get her from her Daddy!
We have been chopping a lot of corn silage. Tomorrow this bunk should be completely full and ready to be tarped down.
I drove the water trailer around the section and watered all the new fence posts my husband set a couple of days ago. She is my helper. 
And, in the midst of harvest I am getting my garden cleaned up. She wanted to run behind the wagon because she could then talk to the cattle in the feed yard. 
And I baked 4 dozen cookies to get me through my cooking week for the farm next week. Not to mention two loaves of pumpkin bread and some brownies. 
I ended today moving the bales my husband baled yesterday. I stacked them all nice in a line ready and waiting to be hauled for feed for our cattle.

Our busy season is already busy with us being in the fields non stop, but that doesn't mean the other work just gets pushed to the side. There is still hay to be baled, cattle to be fed, fence to set, meals to make.

This is where the farmer's wife comes in, or girlfriend! :)

Happy Harvest!

New To Harvest?

For some of you this may be your first go round for harvest....Well, gear up because this may be a bumpy ride that you may find a little hard to understand at times!

Whether you are just newly dating, or even newly married, experiencing your first harvest on the farm is likely something you will not forget. 
My first harvest on the farm is something I will never forget! We had been dating a few months and I had just moved to South Dakota about a week before we started chopping corn silage. I spent the next few months riding along in tractors and semis, not only with my husband, but with his brothers, my sister in laws, hired help, and my father in law. 
I spent late nights curled up in the buddy seat of the tractor my head on my hubby's lap as he pushed silage. We took funny videos and funny photos and talked for hours. 
But, it isn't all sunshine and butterflies during harvest all the time. The truth is those long nights can get really long and having a meal not in the tractor is something you dream about for a few months. 
My best advice... 
Be understanding and be a part of it. This is the time of year farmers prepare for all year long. Farming is their passion and their livelihood, try to understand that and be a part of it. My farmer loves how I have became a part of his livelihood and I take part in harvest every year. 
Take advantage of one more romantic date night before harvest gets started, we had ours this last Wednesday. Having that last special evening before the busy season starts is something you can remember when you get sick and tired of the late nights and the non-returned phone calls. 
Surprise your farmer with treats. My farmer loves it, and I mean really loves it, when I show up with a fun treat for him in the tractor. If it's my week to cook I make one of his favorite meals. If it is not my week to cook I go for some of his favorite snacks, like a chocolate malt or homemade chex mix.
Offer to help out. You may have a full time job, or you may be in school, but offer to give rides, help fuel up a vehicle, bring out a meal, or even make a run for parts. It's the perfect chance to see harvest in action and show your farmer you are willing to work. 
And last of all. If this is your first attention. And I really mean that. Pay attention to everything that is going on- how much time is invested in bringing in crops, the long hours, the late nights, equipment breaking, the weather. I stress this because harvest is an important time of year for crop farmers. It is something you have to be sure you can live with every year for 2 or 3 months for the rest of your life. 
Being married to a farmer, or dating a farmer, is also about understanding the passion and love that goes into farming. Take this first harvest to really get to know your farmer and what he is all about. And enjoy your first Fall! It's a beautiful time of year and one that is amazing and wonderful to watch as we reap the benefits of the growing season!