Harvesting Corn Silage for our Cow

It might seem a little late for a blog post about harvesting corn. On our farm, the corn harvest isn’t yet complete. We still have some corn in the field.

To see the beginning of this story, check out my blog It’s Corn Planting Time  posted in May which illustrates the corn planting process last spring. When the corn seeds went into the ground it looked like the beginning of a good year for the U.S. corn crop. But Mother Nature didn’t cooperate.

Corn silage is an important staple in our cow's diet. This forage harvested in the fall is stored and fed to our cows all year. 

We hope for dry field conditions ideal for receiving manure nutrients and prepping for planting. After the corn is planted, we start hoping for rain to water the crop. This year we waited and waited for the rain - it was July when it finally came. We were fortunate to have had the rain. Many parts of the Midwest were not so lucky as they experienced drought conditions.

The corn plants popping out of the soil in mid-May
The corn plants in mid-June
Applying herbicide to eliminate weeds in the corn field
The corn in mid-August
Jack and Garrett check the ears of corn
Corn harvest began in September . . . .
The chopper shoots corn silage into the wagon

Corn silage going into the truck to be transported to the dairy
A partially harvested field
The boys explore the field during harvest
Transporting the corn silage from the field to the dairy
The wagon unloads the silage while the tractor pushes it up onto the pile
Tractors push the silage into a large pile and pack it down
Recently harvested corn silage
Jack with a handful of silage
Lad talks with his Dad who is helping pack the silage
Fall rain and wet field conditions caused a delay in harvesting some of our fields for several weeks. In October, the harvest resumed. But some of the fields were too wet for the trucks to get into, so we used dump carts.
The silage is harvested into the dump cart
The cart transfers the silage into the truck
The truck takes the silage to the dairy then comes back for another load
The pile of silage is covered with tarp and tires
 Two of our fields were too wet to get into with the chopper and tractors. This corn still in the field will be harvested as grain within the next few weeks. This grain will be fed to the cows as ground corn. . . .
This corn is still in the field in December, we'll need some dry days to get it harvested
Our harvest wouldn’t have been possible without the help of family, friends and fellow farmers. Thank you to John Douglass, dairyman from Wayne County, for letting us borrow his dump cart. Thanks to the Thompson Brothers, farmers in Ashtabula County, and Ted Winters, Winters & Lewis Excavating, Inc., for allowing us to use their tractors.

We appreciate everyone who helped with the harvest; Lane Hastings, Duane Hastings, Kenny
Hastings, Mike Cavanaugh, Bob Emmons, Dave Marks, Jim Rider and John Linerode. And Taylor Emmons, who works with us at our farm and continually goes above and beyond to get the job done.