We started silaging on Thursday and so far have 55 loads in the pit, that is equivalent to 330 tonne.
Here is a picture of the first load of 2016 being dumped into the pit.
Here is our very first load of silage for 2016 being dumped in the pit.
All went very smooth our first day we got the first field cut and off the field and packed in the pit in one day and could have had the water back on that field in the same day, BUT that would mean things were going way too smoothly, so there had to be a wrinkle in there somewhere and there was. Our pump for our irrigation stopped working, so in theory we could have had water back on the field, but now we have to fix the pump first.
To get done in one day like this is HUGE. It means that the field will not dry out and will start regrowing much sooner. We switched to silaging last year. It was a very expensive year, but we think it is totally worth it. We are able to get more tonnage of feed, it is better feed for our cows, the fields don’t dry out as long and it gets done way faster!
Everyday since Thursday that is what we have been doing. Some body swathes (cuts) the field and we let it dry for a few hours.
These are the windrows, what it looks like after it has been swathed.
Next, we pull into the field with the chopper and high dump. The chopping runs over the already swathed windrow picks up the windrow and chops into into fine pieces, this makes it easier to digest for the cows and then shoots it into the high dump which is pulled behind the chopper.
The chopper chops up the grass into smaller pieces and blows it into the high dump.
Macy helping dad run the chopper and high dump
When the high dump is full it gets dumped into the wagon, which goes to the pit, there the load of silage is dumped into the pit and the person on the packing tractor spreads the load around the pit and drives over it as many times as they can to pack it down and get all the air out to prevent rot.
Packing in the pit. In my opinion the worst job because it’s boring, but the most important. The packer has to just drive over the silage, back and forth all day long to make sure all the air is out to prevent rot. If this job is not done properly the silage can rot and then it looses its nutritional value and if it is really bad can be harmful to the pregnant cows.
On Friday we moved to the next field. Once again things were going great and we were nearing the end of the day when disaster struck! I was driving the silage wagon to the field from the pit. This is a really old wagon and in pretty rough shape, but it worked for what we needed it to do. I was just bringing the load into the pit and turning around when I noticed the reach for the hitch looked a bit funny…. The combination of an old wagon, heavy load of silaging and turning in the pit bent the reach for the hitch. The old wagon with loose tie rod ends was hard enough to back up, it kinda had a mind of its own and now this did not make things better.
The transfer! All jacked up and waiting for it’s new undercarriage.
The “new” wagon all ready to go to work!
We decided to take the box off the old undercarriage and transfer it onto another wagon under carriage we had that was in better shape. My husband, dad and brother did the mechanicing and we have a “new wagon” that is way easier to back into the pit. However, that afternoon of mechanizing put us behind schedule. There really is never a dull moment as a rancher.
Silaging is tough work for a 1 year old!