What's in your silo?

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Wed May 8 19:55:31 UTC 2002

Well, back in the day (i.e., my day, the 1940s and '50s), farmers in
Minnesota stored grain in granaries and silage in silos.  But I don't think
we used the term 'fodder' much and certainly not 'forage'.  Silage was
chopped up and semi-fermented cornstalks, with maybe other leftover stuff
mixed in?  (It was a long time ago, so someone correct or augment me.)  It
would mash down and heat up in the sun-warmed concrete silo, so that a
sweet-and-sour flavor and odor would develop (rather like sour mash, and
very pleasant to smell).  It was also very nutritious for cows in the
winter, when many were "dry" (i.e., pregnant).  Hay, straw, and alfalfa
were stored in the barn, and grain was stored dry (accidental fermentation
led to spoilage) in separate buildings called granaries.  Dry corn on cobs
was stored in corncribs, with open slats for airing and drying (like
cribs).  Ah, the memories. . . .

At 01:48 PM 5/8/02 -0400, you wrote:
>No, it's not the latest nonfiction self-help title.
>Having grown up in rural Michigan, my firsthand knowledge of basic
>agricultural terminology has led to me to rewrite and handful of
>definitions that were obviously written by city folk, and add a few items,
>such as chainfall. (Can't maintain a tractor without a good chainfall.)
>Currently, I'm looking at silo, which AHD and pretty much every other
>American dictionary restricts to "fodder", or "fodder or forage". W3 has a
>chiefly British sense which talks of grain; and the OED has a grain sense,
>leading one to think that the grain as opposed to fodder sense is British.
>That said--I haven't combined soybeans since I was about 13, but it's my
>dim recollection that my grandparents' silos held grain before schlepping
>it down to the local elevator. I distinctly remember conveying grain from
>the granary to a truck, but I don't remember putting grain in or out of a
>silo, so I could be completley wrong. Furthermore, I can't find any US
>evidence to the contrary. Hay we kept in haylofts.
>So, I ask those of you from farm areas in the US: are grains stored only
>in granaries? Are silos restricted to silage, or are grains stored there,
>-- Steve Kleinedler

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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