Monday, 4 March 2013

Like little squirrels

Like every good squirrel must, we have put away the excess of summer in preparation for a long cold winter....... over the last two weeks we have been busy harvesting our silage and baleage.

I thought this may interest a few who have asked me before what silage is, with apologies to farmers/contractors or anyone who thinks I have butchered the explanation!  

WARNING - Lots of farm and machinery pics, no stitching today  lol

Firstly paddocks are 'shut up' to grow for about 2 months, then the grass is mown....by hubby in our tractor, all the other tasks are done by the contractors who go from farm to farm doing this for most of the summer...

Another tractor uses a big rake to gather about 3 mower rounds into one row......


.... ready for the forage harvester(we call it the chopper) to then drive over the row, this big machine feeds the grass in and chops it all up, then blows it into the bin of the truck driving alongside.  It is a feat of co-ordination between the chopper and truck drivers to keep going at the right speed and distance apart.  The chopper driver can shift the spout direction to where he wants it to go to in the truck bin, but they still have to work together .  



When full, the truck heads off to the silage pit, lifts the hoist and tips off their load, while the chopper starts filling the next truck back in the paddock.  The excavator works on the stack, spreading and rolling the chopped grass.

And the truck goes back to the paddock for another load..... there were two trucks working this day.


When the rolling is completed, the stack is covered with a huge polythene cover and lots and lots of old tyres (recycling at it's best!) are spread out to weigh it down and keep it airtight and to stop the cover lifting in strong winds.  The silage then begins to ferment and in about 3 months time it will be sweet-smelling and ready to feed to our sheep and cattle to keep them happy all winter!  I will try to remember to get some photos of the loading and feeding out of silage in the winter so you can see the end result.



The Vital Statistics - 65 acres of grass, 66 truck loads in the pit, approx 460 tonne of silage

I hope I haven't bored the pants off you all with this.......... till next time........ Nicky 

PS - If you didn't go to sleep during this, I have photos of baleage making to do a post about soon too..... Sorry!

29 comments:

shez said...

wow Nicky i found this all very interesting,thankyou for sharing.xx

Vickie said...

I was very interested. So neat to see how it it done. Have a good night.

Debbie said...

Great photos.....the farm looks beautiful. Lots of work for sure.

Doniene said...

Love it!!! Farming at its best!! Great dialouge!!!! Is that the normal production? I have heard that it has been pretty dry in your part of the world?

Have a great day!

Mrs. GraceWorks said...

Loved this, Nicky!! My DH has driven truck in the fields on his uncles' farm for years now when they are doing silage and I never knew exactly what he was doing. Now I know!! : ) Thank you!!!!

Terry said...

My hubby was a farmer and my son is one now, so I know all about this. It was interesting to see that you use an excavator to level out the silage though. Around here we normally use a tractor with a blade on the front.

Christine M said...

No, you didn't bore me Nicky. It was quite interesting to find out about silage.

Chookyblue...... said...

interesting to see pics.......we don't do silage here........I can't believe how much grass you have........maybe thats cause I have been looking at bare ground for too long.....

Valda Mason said...

Love your pics, we have put down vetch this year, in mallee of Vic,aus. Easy to follow explanation. Nana on the farm

Leeanne said...

I like to see your creations more, but for a non farmer gal this was interesting.

Jeanette said...

Very interesting. Thanks Nicky. Hugs,xx

Kath said...

What a great farm report Nicky. Don't you just love the smell of the freshly cut grass......

Kaye R said...

That was a very cool explanation, I have seen covered piles on farms on our treks around the countryside and always wondered what they were. Just read your post and showed your pictures to my city slicker family. Thank you.

Susan said...

Not boring at all Nicky. I've often wondered what's under those covers and now I know.

Heather said...

Love the information! Takes me back to my childhood on the farm.

Sarah said...

That wasn't boring! I grew up on a farm in South australia where we bale hay but don't do sileage. We have to feed sheep through summer and autumn, before it rains. They then have green feed through winter and spring. Does the ground cover with snow where you live in NZ?

Marilyn C said...

That is interesting to see how you do it, I am in south east queensland and we do a similar thing except we direct chop the corn or forage for sileage when it is half ripe, storage etc is the same.

StitchCat said...

Lol I wasn't bored Nicky. I love watching sileage and balege making live. The weather has been perfect for making it. 66 truckloads would have made for a huge day.

Deb R said...

I wasn't bored either is great to see how a farm runs...We have drive past many a covered pile wondering what's under it we know.

Jeanne said...

That was interesting , thank you for explaining to us non-farmers!

brandy1 said...

That was interesting. What a great looking farm. We have just had Waikato declared a drought area. So so brown. I don't live on a farm but surrounded by farms.Have a beautiful golf course just down the road, oh dear is it brown except for the "greens".Enjoy your blog Nicky.Shirley

Charlie and Wendy said...

Great post Nicky, that's a lot of silage!!

Wendy said...

you know, I wouldn't have thought I'd be interested in this post, but I really was! So sheep eat silage then? Wonder if my buns would like it.

Maria said...

Love it!

Sunshine & Fabric said...

Its been busy at your place!
Lovely projects too. Well done.

Susie said...

absolutely fascinating. Thank you! It looks very pretty.

Fairy Floss Stitches said...

I really enjoyed that Nicky..even showed my hubby...great photos....felt like I could smell the grass! Xx

Aunty Bee said...

Hi Nicky, hope you got some of the rain. We are off on a wee Tiki tour tomorrow only going as far as Oamaru. I'm torn between wanting beautiful weather for the drive (we are going the inland route) or rain for the farms and gardens.

Cheryl said...

Thanks so much Nicky for taking the time to show us this process!! Very interesting, and I also showed my husband.

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