Harvest, the most wonderful time of the year
There are a lot of holiday songs claiming Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but farmers think about things a little bit differently. Don’t get me wrong, we love Christmas too! But on the farm, harvest season is one of the most wonderful times of the year.
I recently heard that more people make resolutions in the fall than they do at the New Year in just a few weeks. They see the fall as a time to refresh and refocus, or maybe they see the year winding down and want to make some new habits.
During the fall, Michigan dairy farmers and their families reflect on the spring and summer weather, specifically how it affected the growth of the crops they grew to feed their animals. Starting in late August, they spend long days and weeks harvesting these crops that will become the food for their cows for the next year. As we’ve talked here and here, harvest is an important time of the year.
Now that we’re nearing the end of the year and we’ve had snow in Michigan, it’s fun to think about the last few months – the farmer’s most wonderful time of year.
Even though we chopped corn a few months ago, I decided to go to the experts at my family’s farm to help me tell you about harvest on our farm. The experts were: Lilly, age 12; Landon, age 8; Levi, age 6; Lexie, age 4; and Lyssa, age 2. These answers were too cute to keep to myself!
We “chop” the entire corn plant, including the stalk, the corn cob and leaves to create silage, which contains all sizes of particles and a lot of nutrients. This is chopped in the field and taken by large truck to our farm.
It actually took about 270 truckloads to bring about seven million pounds of corn silage from our fields to our farm. We will have feed for our cows for the next year. How would you like to gather and store for food for an entire year?! It’s pretty efficient!
The trucks I mentioned earlier will bring the silage to the farm, where it’s pushed into a big pile and a tractor drives back and forth over it remove all of the air pockets. This keeps the feed fresh for the next year. We then cover the pile with a large plastic tarp to preserve the silage, protect it from the elements, and deter wild animals from eating it.
I can’t wait to see how they help with the harvest next year! Visit here to see more about what happens on our farm.