Bremer Farms has been busy stocking the cow's pantry this week. We began chopping hay that we will feed to our dairy cows. Haylage is green, freshly cut alfalfa that is cut a few days earlier, then chopped to be served to our cows later. This is a good alternative to baling hay which requires that the alfalfa be drier.
This was my first time running the chopper. I had a beautiful view of a beautiful day, but it took me awhile to get the hang of the chopper biz. After broken parts, and a broken chain, which I thought was something I did, Farmer John came to my rescue, and assured me that "it was their time to go, and I had nothing to do with it." Was he being honest, or just kind? Either way he let me keep my job, so off I went again.
I spent much of my time looking over my shoulder to make sure everything was running smoothly. All was well until I hit a rather large gopher mound which was hidden beneath the freshly cut row of hay. Everything jammed up. For you experienced chopper drivers, I know now what I should have done to avoid this problem, but give me a break, I'm a rookie. Anyway... it was now 8:30 PM, so in I went from the field, where Farmer John, Sara and I unplugged the chopper, so we are ready to go again...after supper, showers, and a good night's sleep.
This video, from my You Tube page, shows the chopping process in a previous year.
Once the haylage leaves the field it is stored in a concrete bunker until it is fed to our cows. The haylage is tightly packed, using a tractor, or, in this video, a payloader. This reduces the air from causing the haylage to rot. The end of this video shows unloading the wagon that just came from the field. After it is unloaded, the payloader adds the haylage to the pile which is being packed.
The final step is to cover the fresh haylage with a plastic sheet, weighed down with discarded tires. This is again to keep the haylage from rotting. We only serve healthy food for our cows!
Framer John has "invited" me to run the chopper again today. Wish me luck!
Speaking of luck...do you feel lucky?
Enter to win The Dairy Good Cookbook from My Barnyard View. Time is almost up so do it today. Thanks, and Happy June Dairy Month!