Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Corn Silage is Ready!

Today we check our corn to determine if it is ready to be chopped for silage....and it's ready!!!!  How do we know that it's ready?  Well, I drove out into the field this afternoon and collected samples of corn stalks.  In each field I chose 10 stalks of corn and chopped them with the chopper.  We collected a sample of the chopped corn, measured it, and dried it with a Koster tester (which removes water from a sample with the use of heated air).   After re-measuring the sample we can determine the moisture of the total corn plant.  It is ideal to chop corn silage at about 65-69% moisture to be packed into the silage bags.  Today's samples told us that the corn is about 64-70% moisture, so it is time to start chopping!!!  BUT....we are not ready to chop. 

Last September, we basically destroyed the processor on our chopper.  The processor is part of the chopper which crushes corn grain and corn cobs into smaller pieces which are more digestible for cows.  By processing our corn we are also able to cut the leaves and stalks into larger pieces which encourages improved rumen health for our cows.  This processor is a critical part of our corn silage chopper...and we haven't fixed it since it broke.  Today we hit the ground running, making sure that we get the chopper fixed!  Jon and his brother Marcus worked long into the evening tonight, putting on the new processor.  They are not done yet, but it did rain tonight which buys us about 1 day of additional time to get it ready to rock.  We have 9 bags of silage to make this year (each about 250 feet long and 10 feet around).  It will be a long task, but with some help from neighbors and family we will get it done as quickly as possible...so the marathon begins!!!  Corn silage season is here!!!!

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