Harvest season; silos vs. bins & bunkers - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Harvest season; silos vs. bins & bunkers

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SIMPSON, Minn. (KTTC) -- Farmers are hard to miss when traveling by the fields as they are harvesting their crops for winter storage.  But what is the most poplar storage option?

Just south of Rochester at SheeKnoll Farms winter plans were underway.  The crew was in the process of rolling the corn into bags for storage.  However, what about the silos just across the road?

"We built the silos back in the seventies and eighties and we still use them," said dairy farmer Jerome Sheehan.  "They work well. But we expanded the number of cows we milk so we needed more storage."

The bags are an option which work fine.  However Sheehan explains their downside is they take up a lot of plastic and space.  So instead of building a new silo, or filling another bag, Sheehan also works with another option, a bunker. The feed is packed down under tarps and tires making it easily accessible.  It saves time and money. "You get to feed them (cows) a lot quicker out of the bunkers or out of the bag," said Sheehan.

Sheehan's farming operation now has 300 mouths to feed.  A number which has grown over the years.  And years ago, a silo may have been a smart choice.  "You got to be young when you build a silo, you got to climb them all the time," said Sheehan. 

However these days the trend is ground storage, and Sheehan uses every inch of space available in all three options.  Bags, silos, and bunkers.

Each get the job done, but it all comes down to one big question explained Sheehan.  "How much time do you want to spend feeding cows. The quicker you get that done the quicker you have other stuff to do."

Sheehan said that even with 750 acres at two locations he still needs to buy baled hay to make it until next season.

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