Corn Silage

We finished corn harvest.  The drought and high temperatures resulted in yields a third to a half of normal.  That was on the best acres.  We custom-hired a neighbor to chop the whole corn plant on the worst acres and make silage to feed to the cattle.  Above you can see the machine which blows and packs the silage into a bag.

Silage is any forage which is harvested wet and stored in an anaerobic condition.  After ensiling, the crop goes through a fermentation process resulting in the sugars being converted to lactic and acetic acid.  This results in good feed for cattle.

Most of the time there is enough natural bacteria present to ensure good fermentation.  This year, because of concerns from the drought, we put an inoculate of bacteria on the silage.

One bad aspect of harvesting corn silage, because you remove the whole plant, the soil is left exposed.  Exposed soil is prone to erosion.

The next day I planted oats and rape with my grain drill.  With a little rain, these vigorous crops germinated.  Below you can see the oats on October 1st, next to standing corn waiting to be harvested for grain.

Oats continue growing well in cool weather.  Below is a photo taken November 1st.  When the temperature falls to 20 F, the oats will die.  They will not be a problem when it’s time to plant another crop next spring.

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