Regional fall harvest reports – John Brantsen, Jerry Ruetten, Jon Rasmussen and Mark Case, Vita Plus
With the 2016 fall harvest behind us, hear from our Vita Plus dairy and forage consultants as they reflect on the hay, corn silage and grain harvests at several points in the Vita Plus market area.
At first glance, the overall quality of the corn silage appears to be pretty good in most cases. Alfalfa yields were tremendous in 2016, as long as farms were able to dodge the rain during first and second cuttings. Some farms were even able to take a late fifth cutting this year.
This year’s corn growing season mirrored national corn production. The abundant rainfall and heat we received enabled us to produce record corn grain bushels per acre and above average corn silage tons per acre with high levels of starch. Some of the challenges we experienced this year were excessive rainfall and controlling late-season weeds. The extended rainfall allowed weeds to continue to germinate and push nitrogen below the root zone, but tissue sampling helped determine nitrogen needs. Some grain producers also used fungicide application with airplanes to help produce higher stalk and ear quality.
This year’s silage and corn crops rank among the highest yields we have seen. Silage harvest did have similar challenges to hay when several inches of rain fell near the start of harvest. This left many producers waiting to drag dump carts through the fields instead of using their trucks. If you had to wait long for dump carts, the result was drier-than-desired silage. As far as grain goes, many farms had corn yields greater than 200 bushels per acre and soybean yields greater than 60 bushels per acre. Some acres still need to be harvested, but these numbers are definitely above average for the eastern Wisconsin region.
Soybeans have been coming off fast with above-average yields as harvest comes to a close. Quite a few farmers were harvesting corn in the first week of November. I talked to a customer harvesting corn for dry storage at 18-percent moisture and another harvesting snaplage at 30-percent moisture. If I had to estimate, I would say most crops should be off the fields by the end of November. This Thanksgiving, we were able to look back and be truly thankful for a good harvest this year while looking forward to the 2017 season.