Friday, May 07, 2010

Chopping Season - Oats

Even though I grew up on a dairy, there are quite a few things that were new to me as a "Valley Transplant"... one of which is Chopping Season. In the fields surrounding our home, we farm corn, oats and alfalfa... all of which are chopped and used for silage on the dairy. The hustle & bustle of chopping season is one that I'm not sure I could ever get sick of... and as long as the boys are interested, I think I've got a pretty good excuse to get excited about it! They Love to watch the equipment go past the house, and up and down the fields all around us. Cole stood at the kitchen window and yelled at the tractors and trucks going by!

The swather cuts the oats (or alfalfa) and lays it into windrows, before the chopper comes through to chop it into the trucks.

Then come the choppers, which chop the feed into small pieces and toss it into the silage trucks. I'm like a little kid when the choppers are running, I could sit and watch them All Day Long!
From the house, we have a great view of the silage pit. Here is a pit tractor at the end of Day #1, packing the oats into the pit, before they're wrapped in the bag to ferment.

Chopping season should also be called Coyote Season. If you can spot the "odd" brown spot in the photo above, you're looking at a coyote that "got away"! The first night the oats were down, we were eating dinner on the deck, only to see a coyote moseying across the field! It is common to see them, in the mornings and the evenings, and they are not at all spooked by the scent of us, or the dogs. They have no problem coming right into our yard... we've seen them on the lawn, in the daytime! They are definately an unwanted pest when we've got two little boys playing in the yard! Hopefully this guy does not get away next time... or even better yet, hopefully he learned to Stay Away!

This was the view of the same pit at the end of Day #3! It took 2 pit tractors to keep up with the trucks coming in... Note the top of the pit is Higher than the top of the freestall barn (to the left) next to it! We had an Amazing crop this year... 25+ tons per acre! An average crop is closer to 15-17 tons per acre.
The oat silage pit standing tall over the chopper and silage truck passing between us.

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