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Saturday, February 12, 2011


I have had this idea to explain a bit about silos for my non-farm readers.  I have 3 vintages of silos shown below.   Silos are used to store chopped corn for cattle feed.  Mostly they are used on dairy farms.  These photos are on dairy farms no longer in operation.  The first one below is a silo constructed of ceramic blocks.  These are sometime called widow-maker silos because if mortar is not done properly they can come apart when climbing them.  There are not a lot of these left.   

Silage is a fermented product.  The chopped corn is packed in tightly and the fermentation process helps to preserve it.  It is sort of like making sauerkraut, but does not smell as strong.  Silage is an excellent feed because it is high in roughage and high in calories too.  The fact that the grain is included in the mix makes it very good feed. These kinds of silos are still very common.  They are called concrete stave silos because they are constructed much like old wooden barrels; they are slabs of concrete held together by steel hoops.  They are very sturdy.    

These blue silos are technically not silos because no fermentation takes place.  They can be used to store chopped hay, or high moisture grain as well as chopped corn.  The blue silos are actually a patented building called a harvestore.  They were first built by A. O. Smith.  When they are filled, air is evacuated and they are tightly sealed so that stored crops do not spoil.  It is sort of like a canning process. 

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