Autumn on a Farm
Autumn on a Farm
Designed by Brenda Hyde
All Rights Reserved
Autumn is traditionally harvest time when the farmers would cut their crops to prepare them for storage or to sell. When I was a kid we lived on a dairy farm and this was always a busy time of year as we cut harvested our crops and prepared the farm for winter.
How do farmers get ready for winter?
Farmers use many pieces of large and small equipment to take care of their farm. Before winter they make sure everything is working like it should and they repair anything that needs it.
A lot of farmers plow their fields in the fall so it will give them a head-start for the spring. September is also the time that farmers plant winter wheat. It grows until it gets cold and then it goes dormant, which means it stops growing, until spring when it starts growing again.
Most farm animals love corn, but it has to picked at just the right time so the farmers can have a supply all winter long. Most corn today is picked with a picker-sheller or a combine, both machines shell the corn off the cob and then the farmer dumps it in a gas batch dryer which dries it to a certain hardness, otherwise it will get moldy in storage.Some farmers still just pick the whole ear with a regular corn picker and store it in a corn crib, if they are going to just pick it, they leave it in the field longer so it will dry. They test the moisture by shelling the corn off the cob and putting a handful into a moisture tester.
A lot of corn is chopped up in small pieces when it is still green, and stored in a silo, where it ferments, just like cider will. This is a treat for cows, who love silage!
What is hay and straw, and how does it get into those square and rounded shapes?
Hay is cut with a hay mower or a haybine and put into rows until it is dry enough to bale with a hay baler, usually it takes about 2 days for the hay to dry out enough to bale. Alfalfa is the best hay, because it is high in protein, it should be cut just as it is blooming because that is when contains the highest amount of protein, they also grow clover, timothy and a few other grasses for hay. Farmers feed hay to their animals all year long, and usually store it in their barn where it stays nice and dry.
Wheat and oats are another crop that farmers often grow. They use a machine called a combine that cuts the whole stalk and then shucks the grain off the stalk or plant. Then the grain goes into a hopper on the combine and the stalks and chaff comes out the back of the combine and becomes straw. This is then baled, into squares or rolls, and used for lining the animals stalls. It gives them a dry, clean place to lay. The grain is usually sold, and is used to make bread, cereal, oatmeal and other grain products.
Farming is hard work. The days start early, sometimes at 5 am, and their isn't always a lot of money earned for the farm family that works their farm all by themselves, but it's a good life and very rewarding. Be sure to wave at the farmers when you see them working hard in their fields!
About the Author
Brenda Hyde is a wife and Mom of three, a freelance writer, bookseller and editor of Seeds of Knowledge.