Harvesting is a family affair. My husband and sons work the equipment, along with two employee truck drivers, while my daughter-in-law and I provide lunch and a steady flow of cold beverages for the crew.
First my husband cuts the crop and places it into rows with the swather.
The rows are held together by interlaced straws and supported above the ground by the remaining stubble.
Next, son number one chops the oats into smaller pieces and blows it out of a chute into silage trucks with the chopper/harvester.
The silage trucks dump the oats into a silage pit.
Son number two pushes up and packs the chopped oats with the dozer/tractor.
Soon the pile takes shape.
Oats Converted to Silage
Finally, the silage is covered with white polyethylene plastic and secured with tires for a tight seal. The cover serves as an oxygen barrier as well as protection from the elements.
The silage then undergoes anaerobic fermentation, which starts 48 hours after the silo is filled, and converts sugar into acid. Fermentation is complete after two weeks.
A Never Ending Cycle
Now it’s time to disk the stubble into the soil and prepare the ground for the fall corn crop.