Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Tower Silo Monuments to the Past

  Since I live in a county where dairy production is the major agricultural enterprise, I am tuned into the trends in these businesses.  As a geezer, I have lived long enough to watch the number dairy farms decline at a precipitous rate.   In New York State in year 2000 there were 7615 dairy farms.  In 2016 the number was  4624 and continuing to decline.   For Cortland County New York where I now live in 2006 there were 143 dairies and by 2016 the number is 96.
    How do these changes impact what I see when I drive the countryside?   Today large dairies typically store huge quantities of forage in bunker silos.  In the past, however, smaller dairies stored forage in tower silos.  As these smaller dairies perish, the tower silos become monuments to the past.  Razing the silos seems to be a rare event.   Today I took a little tour within a few miles of our home, simply to photograph a few of these monuments.   Within ten minutes I passed over a dozen silos of varying designs and sizes.  All of them probably had not been filled in at least 10 or even 20 years. 
    In many respects these silos remain as forlorn objects of the past.  Having grown up on a farm I can imagine the angst of the farmers and their families as the next generation moves on from agriculture to other employment in society.  A whole way of life disappears.   Meanwhile,  I find there is a certain beauty to these monuments.  Perhaps we could consider them to be our Stone Henge equivalent for the 21st Century?   For the geezer me, I find it entertaining to look for the different numbers and types of unused tower silos.     And also to muse about the families and businesses that once thrived on those farms. 

     Here are a few examples of silo monuments.  Note the different designs and sizes! 
Concrete Stave Silos

Concrete Stave and Coated Steel
Galvanized Steel Panels - Likely from the 1960s.

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