The Day the Silo "Busted"

Growing up on Muddy Creek


| October 2001



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Filling the silo.

Dad was building a new barn after the old barn and silos were destroyed in a disastrous fire caused by lightning.

The year was 1920 there on the banks of Muddy Creek.

Dad had decided to make the new barn as fireproof as possible. He contracted with George and John Moore, well-known carpenters in Lukin Township, to erect forms and build the barn of poured concrete.

They had just completed erecting the 50-foot-tall, all-concrete silo, the tallest manmade structure in the area, when silo-filling time arrived.

The neighbors were betting the old Titan tractor would not have enough “umph” to spin the cutter fast enough to blow the chopped silage high enough to get it over the top of that silo.

Dad figured this might well be a problem too. So, since the feed room was not yet built, he decided to set the blower right under the chute and run the discharge pipe up through it to the 42-foot level. The Trimble boys north of Robinson had proven that their silo could be filled at that height using the same power source, so Dad figured this was a good first goal.

Filling silos in those long ago days was a far cry from filling them today. Field choppers were unknown, and in fact, corn binders with their mechanical cutting and bundling of the stalks, were still in the experimental stage. As a result, most of the corn for silage was cut by hand using brute strength and awkwardness.

The editor of Hoard’s Dairyman, an early advocate of corn silage, was recommending that corn be cut for silage just as it passed the roasting-ear stage. The leaves were still green and the stalks full of sap and heavy.