Pickled Corn?

Yep it’s that time of year again. The time we have been waiting about 110 days for, corn silage making time. Every year we plant 20 to 30 acres of corn on our farm for corn silage which will yeild between 15-20 tons of silage per acre. “What is silage” you may ask? Well it is basically pickled corn plants. To make corn silage we run the corn plants through a machine pulled by a tractor called a chopper. This machine cuts the 10 foot tall plants in 3/4 inch pieces then blows the “chopped” corn into a wagon pulled behind the chopper. The chopped corn isn’t silage yet though. Next we bring the chopped corn from the fields to a place by the barn where we have another tractor hooked up to a machine called a bagger. The bagger does exactly what it’s name implies it bags stuff. We put a 9 foot diameter by 200 foot long plastic bag on this machine and tie the end of the bag off. We then unload the chopped corn from the wagons into the bagger and it stuffs the chopped corn into the giant bag. In the bag no oxygen can get to the corn but the bacteria that are naturally on the corn can still work their magic. After the corn is put in the bag the bacteria begin fermenting the sugars in the plants and turning them into acids much the same as the bacteria in the cows stomach does. This process called ensiling essentially pickles the corn and so it will stay preserved for a long time as long as it is not exposed to oxygen. After the corn has been throughly pickled (about 2 weeks) we will start feeding it to the cows. They really love the stuff and will do just about anything to get more than their fair share of it. We mix the corn silage with hay and grain mix to make what is called TMR or cow casserole or cow hotdish but that really doesn’t sound as good does it.

Tim

Silage Bags Corn Silage

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