Harvest Time!!!

Our school year started with an awesome opportunity to ride along on some major farm equipment while they gathered feed corn.  It was awesome!!  The kids had a great time, and our friends tractor hands were super great with the kids.  While many kids have seen the combines at work in the fields, not many get to ride inside, and see the whole process from start to finish!

Malena on board a tractor

Audrey rode in the combine and took these pictures.  The forks go between the rows of corn, pull off the cobs, strip them, and spit out the kernels at the other end.  The stalks are chopped off chewed up, and spit out the bottom of the machine.  It is hard to imagine that such a large piece of equipment can get out little tiny kernels of corn off of acres and acres of corn stalks. 

When the storage tank in the combine gets full, an alarm goes off.  Then they call the second tractor that has a pull behind caddy.  It holds about 2-3x’s the amount of corn the combine does.  In order to save time, they drive side by side, so the combine can keep gathering corn, and the hopper can fill up.  It was pretty cool to watch!

Once the hopper is full, on the other side of the fence are tractor trailers waiting which hold a ton of the corn.  Once those are filled they are driven back to the farm for processing.

Meanwhile, other trucks and tractors around the fields were planting replenish crops and fertilizing the fields.

Once back at VA Beef, the truck unloads the corn (and the grasshoppers—there were thousands!).  The corn is dumped into this giant ‘funnel’ like suction thing in the ground.  There it is moved up to one of the silos.  From there, it is pushed through a drying silo that is heated by propane.  This instantly dries the corn kernels.  They are then sold to other farmers for feed.

Below you see the various silos.  The one in front loads the corn onto incoming trucks for other farmers that buy it for feed.  The skinny one on the right is the drying chamber silo. 

We also got a lesson in how they measure the moisture in the corn.  It was good for the kids to see some basic math skills and formulas at work in the real world!

Afterwards, we got to spend some time with the kids and their 4H projects.

Kendall even showed us how they tag the ears of the goats.  It was an awesome experience!  Thanks for the great day!