Work To &Thru College

Silage corn and sorghum

    As fall neared and the third crop of alfalfa was in the stack yard it was time to harvest corn to make ensilage or just silage as we called it.  To make silage the plant material is harvested and chopped green and sealed in an air tight silo to ferment.  We used in ground silos or silage pits which were essentially cuts dug out with a bulldozer.  Some would have a concrete slab for the base. 

    The green material was a combination of sorghum and corn that had been co-planted in the spring.  The sorghum plants were not noticeable until just before harvest when they became about a foot taller than the corn plants.  We had a single row harvester that cut the corn-sorghum rows and chopped them and loaded them into a trucks with side boards. We had two trucks that were used to collect chopped materials and haul them to the main feed lot for offloading into the silage pit.  One truck had a dump lift and to get the chopped materials out but the second had no lift. The dump truck would simply start raising the bed and drive leaving corn in a pile. The truck with out a dump had to have the corn-sorghum removed.  In order to do this we would place a series of 6”x6”x5’  boards that were held to gather with chains that we would take a tractor and pull the boards out along with most of the corn-sorghum.  Then with a scoop-shovel the remaining silage would be removed from the truck by hand.  We would replace the boards and chains for another load.  Then we would stop things while the hired hand would tell a joke. He would tell the same joke to both drivers which helped me learn many jokes. He had an old hexagon barreled twenty-two that we use for target practice when we had time. Fortunately, I remember none of the jokes now but for the next couple of years I knew more jokes than anyone in town.

    We had two tractors to arrange the silage.  We had an old tricycle International and small Ford with hydraulic lift.  We used the International to pull corn-sorghum from the older truck and to compress the plant matter. The little Ford had a blade attached so that we could spread the silage around.  The job I liked best was to get the Ford going pretty fast drive over a pile of corn and drop the blade and grab some of the corn and spread it out.  I would repeat until we had the load dispersed and packed down.  When we got the pit filled Uncle Wayne came and green-chopped alfalfa for a cover to the silage pit.