No load of silage is worth that

As the sun sets of 2018 corn silage season for us, I am incredibly thankful for the safety of everyone on our crew and well, anybody on the roads.

Corn silage should be all done by midnight tonight. We have some earlage to make yet, but it is a little more low-key. Photography by my son, Vince.

My husband always reminds his crew every year:

Don’t EVER roll through a stop sign…no load of silage is worth that.

Don’t EVER drive 60 miles per hour on a gravel road…no load of silage is worth that.

My husband bears the burden of Ava’s accident every day. He tries very hard to have one extra semi on a crew all the time so that people don’t have to feel rushed. Whenever something breaks on his chopper (forage harvester), a tractor or a semi, he always says, “At least nobody got hurt.”

I urge you to be extremely cautious as a person on the road this harvest season. Farmers will bring out their combines very soon.

Put your phone down.

Never pass if there is any possibility a farm vehicle may be making a left turn.

Forget about the time clock you want to punch.

We were terrified when we had heifers out all over the highway last month. There were so many cars that blew by cops with their lights on, heifers running across the road….none of us could believe the incredible hurry that cars were in. I honestly think some people were so engrossed with their phones that they didn’t even see that they were incredibly close to an accident. Or in such a hurry to get to work on time that they weren’t willing to slow down or stop for a minute.

Please be patient this fall harvest season. Your safety is worth so much more than a text message or a time clock.


4 tons of salt, no pepper

On Tuesday, we were in the middle of making our corn silage pile which we feed to our cows for the entire next year. That day, we received two inches of rain. There is no way a silage semi can drive in fields that were already wet beforehand, for at least 3 days. That left us with a few options:

1. Leave it sit, knowing that all the exposed silage starts to lose a lot of value while in the presence of oxygen.

2. Cover it with a plastic tarp and old tires, wait for fields to dry, uncover it, finish adding more silage to it, and then splice plastic pieces together when covering again. Expensive (lots of man hours) and not fun.


3. Salt it. Well, maybe it’s not a brand new idea because it makes me think of Laura Ingalls Wilder times and how they use to salt stuff to preserve it. This idea came as a brainstorm when Joe called our nutritionist. I’m not sure if it was Joe’s idea or the nutritionist or some other dairy farmer’s, but my father-in-law thought it to be smart, so a LOT of salt was ordered.

I love how creative people can be at coming up with ideas to spread 4 tons of salt, at a rate of 2 pounds per square foot. My father-in-law used a fertilizer spreader. He even took a picture for me and came up with a title for this post. Lots of creative juices flowing! Typically, corn silage is a yellowish green and very bright. It really does look differently with all the salt.

Our nutritionist is always pulling feed samples throughout the year to send to the lab, so he will just have to adjust the mineral package our cows receive to account for this extra salt. I always feed my family lots of real salt (and pepper!) and encouraging adding as much as they want to what they eat. I know most people think salt is terrible for you, but a lot of the latest research shows how good it is for you to use as much as you crave. I certainly am on board with this, and some of it is probably from watching how much our animals appreciate a good salt block lick.

Anyhow, food is on my mind because well, I’m pregnant. And also, because the big item on my to-do list this time of year is to provide food for our crews making corn silage. I use a lot of salt in everything to encourage them to stay hydrated, and they even get some pepper to go with it.