What is With All The Freakin’ Tires?

We have been preeeetty busy around here. We harvested our 4th crop of haylage the first week of September and soon after that we began corn silage harvest. Which is probably why you haven’t heard from me in awhile.

Well, that and my addiction to reality TV…I just cannot get enough of those housewives and the crazy things the say!

WIFE

If you cruise by our farm or just about any other dairy farm, you might notice big piles with white plastic and A LOT of tires. You are like, “What is with all the freakin’ tires?!”. Well, it is your lucky day because I’m going to tell you all about those dang tires!

On our farm, we grow and harvest hay and corn to feed our cattle. But it is not dry hay or shelled corn we are feeding the cattle, what we do is a little different.

I know….this isn’t a real exciting topic. Hay! Stay with me, I will try to add some corny jokes.

  • Haylage is produced by chopping hay at a high moisture level and sealing it air tight to allow fermentation to occur.
  • Corn silage is produced by chopping the entire stalk of corn and sealing it air tight to allow fermentation to occur.

The harvest process is pretty similar for both haylage and corn silage. Both plants are chopped and blown into dump-like trucks or wagons and then transported to the farm’s feed storage area. It takes quite a few trucks to keep up with the chopper, so there is usually a bit more traffic around our farm during harvest.

chop

During corn silage harvest, it is important to watch out for “stalkers”.

corny

I promised you corny jokes, didn’t I?

When the feedstuff gets to the farm, the truck driver dumps the load in a pile and then returns to the field for the next load. We use three, large tractors to sculpt and pack the feed into a pretty, little pile.

blade

Actually, it’s not little at all. It ends up being a pretty BIG pile.

pile2

It is important to pack the silage to prevent mold and spoilage.

pile6

It is long, tedious work, but we want the best for Bessie, so we keep on packin’!

pile5

Once we are all done and the pile is nicely packed, the plastic and tires come into play. We cover the finished pile with a sheet of white plastic with an oxygen barrier and then tires, side-by-side, on the entire surface. In the absence of oxygen, the feed ferments and mold growth is kept to a minimum. A tight seal is key to quality feed!

pile4

Years past, dairy farmers stored their haylage and corn silage in upright silos (vertical storage). Now, a majority of dairy feed is stored in drive-over feed piles, bunker silos or plastic bags (horizontal storage). The learning curve of experience has taught us that in order to maintain feed quality during storage, we need weight (tires) on the entire plastic-covered surface of a feed pile.

pile3

If you are ever looking for a good workout, come hang out with me when it is time to cover the pile. I’m basically a tire-throwin’ machine.

pile

A concern is that tires that hold water are a perfect breeding habitat for some species of mosquitoes. We manage our tires to eliminate water collection in the tires, thereby interrupting mosquito egg and larva development into adult mosquitoes.

All of our tires have a sidewall removed, so when we position them on a feed pile, they don’t hold water for mosquitoes to breed in. When the tires pulled off the piles at feeding, they are stacked open side wall down, to prevent them from holding water.

We finished covering the corn silage pile Tuesday evening and I am pretty jazzed that my tire throwin’ days are over for the year. It is always a good feeling when the job is complete and you can relax!

Drinks taste best when you are sweaty, dirty and attracting flies.

pile

Oh, wait.

What’s that? We are going to start making 5th crop haylage tomorrow?

Sigh.

Alright, let me go get my work gloves……

Advertisements

Liebster Award

Feeling pretty awesome; I was lucky enough to be nominated TWICE for this award. A big thank you to Colby D. Miller and Katie Bernabei for the nomination!  Colby is a fellow blogger and agvocate. He has some great posts about agriculture and his farm experience. You can check his blog out by clicking here,  My Ag Life . Katie, also a fellow blogger, has some amazing recipes that she shares on her blog.  Check her out by clicking here,  Finally Getting Together.

The Liebster Award is an award for new bloggers that have less than 200 followers.  Nominations are made by fellow bloggers and it is a great way to discover new blogs and network.

If you are fortunate enough to be nominated , you must:

  1.  Answer the ten questions that submitted to you.
  2.  Nominate ten other up and coming bloggers.
  3.  Prepare and submit ten questions to your nominees.
  4.  Blog about it! (Nothin’ like being able to toot your own horn).

Below are the questions Colby asked me along with my responses:

Why do you blog?

These days, consumers are buying their dairy products from the grocery store and are wondering where in the heck the product originated from.  Not everyone lives in rural America and has the opportunity to meet a local farmer or visit a dairy farm. My hope is to help bridge the gap with my blog.

How did you first become connected to agriculture?

I was born into it!  I grew up on my family’s dairy farm where we milked 1500 Holsteins and was active within local 4-H.

If you could visit any period in history, when would it be and why?

Take me back to the 80’s.  I’m all about big hair.

What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas.  I love decorating, drinking/eating and getting together with friends/family.

If you had to be an animal, what would it be and why?

I would have to go with a dog.  Dogs know how to live life; not a worry in the world.

If you could fix one thing about the agriculture industry, what would it be?

Communication.  The industry needs to do a better job of communicating with the consumer and marketing our product.  We need to explain our methods, share our story and rid the consumer of any fear related to their food.

What does the world need a little more of?

The outdoors!  Put down the video game, get off the couch and go outside.  A little fresh air and hard work never killed anyone.

If you could pick your own alias or nickname, what would it be?

Hmmmm, I am not really sure. I’m pretty satisfied with what I got going on.

The wonderful thing about Tiggers is….?

They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!?????

What is one piece of advice that you try and live by?

“If you don’t like country music, you’re wrong” – Earl Dibbles Jr.

 

Here are the bloggers I am nominating.  Check them out!

My 10 questions for the nominees are :

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. If you had to eat one thing for a year, what would it be?
  3. If you won a million dollars, what would you do?
  4. Where do you hope to travel to?
  5. What is one word that best describes you?
  6. What does this world need more of?
  7. Who is your hero and why?
  8. What is your all time favorite TV show?
  9. What is your favorite part of the day?
  10. How are you involved in agriculture and how did you get there?