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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How Long Does it Take to Plant and Harvest Your Crops?

This is definitely a question that I've heard before.  Growing up on a farm, I guess I never gave it much thought.  How long does it take to plant and harvest your crops?

There really isn't a definite answer to this question.  While I can say how long it typically lasts on our farm, it depends on location and how many acres one farms.  Planting usually starts the end of April/beginning of May here in southeastern Indiana.  Several things are taken in to factor when deciding when is the right time to begin planting.  I devoted a whole post to this topic actually, so if you are really interested in learning be sure to check it out here:).

Planting for us typically lasts 2-3 weeks depending on good ole Mother Nature.  Sometimes it takes longer.  Of course there is a lot of "prep" work that goes into planting too, like spraying the ground to help control weeds early.  We call this spraying burndown.  Also, we apply Anhydrous Ammonia to our fields that will be planted to corn.  We do this before the field is planted.  Some farmers do it after the corn is planted.  This is called side dressing.

Below, Brad is applying Anhydrous Ammonia to a field that will later be planted to corn.  This picture was taken mid-April of this year.

Harvest for us typically lasts A LOT longer.  Notice how I capitalized the A LOT part?  At least we hope it lasts long because that means yields are good....hopefully.  2012 didn't last very long, but it seemed like it lasted way too long.  That was the year of the drought and yields hit an all time low, but we don't like to talk about that!

How long does planting and harvest last on a farm?

Harvest for us will last about 5-7 weeks, again, depending on Mother Nature and everything working like it is supposed to.  All the grain that comes off the farm has to be hauled either to our farm for storage, or to a grain elevator to be sold.  All of this takes time that's why it is important to be efficient on the farm.

How long does planting and harvest last on a farm?
The grain cart, or auger cart as some people call it, in the picture above will be pulled along side the combine for the combine to unload the corn on to, so the combine only has to make minimal stops.  If the combine had to stop at the end of each round to dump on a wagon or semi, a lot of time is lost.

How long does planting and harvest last on a farm?
We started harvesting on September 20th.  Our goal...or my goal rather:)...is to be done by Halloween, so we will see.  In past years it has started much later and we don't finish until around Thanksgiving.

How long does planting and harvest last on a farm?
Planting seems to go by fairly quick, but sometimes harvest seems to drag on forever...I'm saying this from a farmwives perspective.:)

Farmers work in acres, not hours www.titanoutletstore.com:

Our meals around the kitchen table are usually replaced by meals in the fields.  I am becoming a pro at tackling kids' activities and busy schedules by myself.  It definitely takes a village to raise kids, and I'm thankful for my village of family and friends who are willing to help out.  I've gotten used to asking for help.  Something I thought I'd never be able to do!  While this time of year can be a struggle, I'm thankful that the rest of the year allows my husband to attend a lot of their activities.  

While sometimes it's hard, I couldn't imagine living or raising my kids anywhere else!

"It isn't the farm that makes the farmer, it's the love, hard work, and character." ~ Unknown #farmquotes #agriquotes:

And when Harvest is over,....
Pretty relatable today!! #ILCorn:

:) Wishing you all a safe harvest season!!!

How long does planting and harvest last on a farm?


Thursday, September 1, 2016

What is Chopping Silage and Why Do You Leave Corn Standing in the Field...

These are two questions that I often hear.  People also want to know why we just let our crops die in the field.  I wrote a whole post on that topic and you can check it out here.  When we chop silage, we chop it when it is still green because we want there to be some moisture left in the plant.

When we let the corn dry in the field for harvest, we only want the corn kernels.  The combine separates everything else and spreads it back on the ground like in the picture below.  This will break down over the winter and add nutrients back into the soil.

But, around Labor Day we begin chopping silage.  It may be earlier or later depending on the weather.  We chopped this past week and are finishing up custom chopping today.

Basically everything gets used from the corn plant when we chop silage.  It creates on big salad for the cattle and they love it.  The chopper chops the corn and it is blown onto a wagon being pulled by a tractor beside it.

I grew up on a dairy farm where we chopped a lot of silage each year.  It seemed to go on for weeks, but really it was only a few days.  The whole process amazes me.  I don't know why exactly.  Maybe I just like seeing so much action on the farm at one time?  I don't know, but this might be my favorite time on the farm.  And the smell of silage is amazing;).

Hitching a ride with Dad..

We put the silage into a bag to keep it nice and fresh all year long.  I like to think of chopping silage like canning veggies from your garden.  You want to make sure you have enough to last all year and make sure it stays fresh.  The tractor pulls up beside the bagger...

Then the silage is pulled from the wagons by conveyor...

and sent over to the bagger by way of another conveyor.
This is what the system looks like from the front...

And this is from the back.  As the silage fills the bag, the tractor attatched to the blue and green bagger automatically pulls up a few inches and the process continues until the bag is full.  We fill two bags each year.

So, why don't we chop all of our corn?  Why do we leave some in the fields?  

Don't worry, we won't forget about it and leave it in the field!  We only chop enough to feed our cattle for the year.  The rest will be left in the field to continue drying down and will be harvested by the combine later this fall.  We will store some of that in the grain bins and use for feed as well, but he rest will go the grain elevator to be sold.

what is chopping silage?


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