Regional reports: Harvest 2022

Posted on November 18, 2022 in Forage Foundations
A long fall allowed for great harvest conditions across most of the upper Midwest.  Vita Plus consultants across the region recap the 2022 harvest.

Tom Berning, central Minnesota (11.10.22)
The theme for the past couple months has been dry with many sunny days for harvesting. Corn silage harvest began the beginning of September for early-planted/short-day corn with the bulk of harvest occurring in mid-September and wrapping up in early October for long-day corn and upright silos. Yields were average to a little above for most farms, but not record, leading to adequate forage inventories heading into 2023. The sunny days and dryness made monitoring corn moisture critical to hitting ideal moistures on snaplage and high moisture corn. We had a hard freeze (as low as 10 degrees F in some areas) in mid-October, which helped dry corn stalks and a massive amount of corn stalks bales for bedding were put up in our area.

Alan Kruse, northeast Iowa (11.7.22)
Our area was fortunate in how bountiful our harvest was considering how dry it has been. It seems we managed to get rain at the right times. Hopefully, next year we’ll get more rain to replenish the subsoil. The 3 inches we received this past weekend soaked in nicely.

Corn silage yields varied throughout northeast Iowa, but were average to just above average. It seems the drier season relieved some fungal pressures on crops. With a nice, long fall, corn silage harvest went very smoothly. Similarly, the alfalfa crop varied across the area, but was good on average. Our inventories are good – in terms of both quantity and quality – as we move into the winter months. Farms are now busy hauling manure and doing some fall chiseling.

Todd Herrig, western Iowa (11.2.22)
Harvest in northwest Iowa is pretty much done. A lot of manure and commercial fertilizer is going on the fields right now. We haven’t had a measurable rain in almost 60 days. Corn grain yields averaged around 200 bushels per acre. Soybean yields averaged around 56 bushels per acre.

Kyle McLain, northwest Wisconsin (11.9.22)
On average, we were about two weeks behind on corn silage harvest compared to last year due to this year’s late planting. Corn silage harvest also stretched longer. I was checking corn moisture for about a month and a half this year; last year, everyone was just about done in three or four weeks. We saw variation in the corn silage depending on who received the timely rains. We were dry in July and early August. South of the Eau Claire area, we saw a lot of variation in ear size and many ears were not completely filled out. However, north on Highway 53, the corn silage yield was great with nicely filled ears. Dry corn harvest is in full swing right now. I’ve heard reports of corn coming to the elevator at 18% to 20% moisture and kernels are having difficulty drying. So far, yields are ranging from 150 to 230 bushels per acre in this area.

Frankie Rathbun, southeast Wisconsin (11.7.22)
Corn silage harvest went well for most farms. A short rain window interrupted some farms, but field conditions were OK to start shortly after that rain and the silage did not dry down too much. So far, most silage is much higher in starch than last year and digestibility looks great. We’ve had beautiful weather for all things harvest: corn, soybeans, corn stalks, etc. Even after the rain this weekend, combines are going today. Everyone we talk to says harvest is going really well.

Kelly Flack, northwest Illinois (11.18.22)
Northwest Illinois, southwest Wisconsin, and eastern Iowa have cranked out the corn and soybean harvest acres with some fall tillage work and fall applications of lime and anhydrous. The value of manure has risen substantially as we look at manufactured fertilizer prices and many are trying to capture its full nutrient potential.

Corn silage harvest was two weeks later than it was the last couple of years, but we saw some really great harvest numbers. Moisture levels were great, starch values are coming in above the 35% level, and overall tonnage was up. Many producers said they put up 15% to 20% more than expected based on previous years.

Interesting to note, our region not only saw great yields for corn and soybeans, but also higher moistures pulling out of the field compared with the last couple of years. Corn grain moisture at 26% to 28% encouraged many producers to find some busy work to do on the farm. Is this the result of planting two weeks later than normal? Cooler summer weather in August? Mass aerial fungicide application in the summer? We saw a full stop on some fields to avoid harvest kernel damage and also save some contract gas. If you didn’t book your gas for drying your crop, you were going to pay a pretty penny.

Two weeks ago was hard stop on harvest for livestock producers to get some dry, high-quality stalks made. We have had a cold snap and, even with some of the rain and snow we have had on some of these harvested acres, we will see some producers continue to make some more bedding (at a bit higher moisture) that they will use right away this winter.

Charlie Kunisch, northern Michigan (11.11.22)
Harvest has come along nicely in northern Michigan. We have been fortunate to hang onto warm temperatures well into November, which has allowed some producers to take advantage of in-field drying on row crops. Forage harvest went well in most areas with long stretches of decent weather. One bright spot was that we did not see nearly as much tar spot pressure as we had the last few years. Yields were variable. This depended largely on which areas got rains during the summer and which areas were too dry for too long.

Overall, producer sentiment is that harvest went fairly well and the extended stretch of nice weather has allowed them to catch up on a few other projects. After this week, the weather looks to turn with highs right around freezing and rain and snow in the forecast.

Patrick Neff – northern Indiana (11.8.22)
Harvest in Indiana and lower Michigan has been very delayed and slow as plants are taking a long time to dry. The corn plant was healthy this year, matured properly and slowly dried down. Everyone started chopping corn silage a week or two later than usual. Many farms started chopping and had to take a break in the middle because they couldn’t find any dry corn to chop. Lab samples are showing positive results for corn silage this year. It looks to be some of the highest-starch corn silage I have witnessed and it’s above average on fiber digestibility. Dry corn in the field has been much of the same story with above-average yields and more moisture in the kernels. I have several producers looking to do high moisture corn or earlage this year because they don’t know if the corn will dry down enough. The soybean crop looks to be at average for most of the area. We also saw many fifth cuttings of alfalfa taken as well.

Andy Kniesly – northern Ohio (11.2.22)
Corn silage harvest was later this year due to a delayed spring. Rain delayed harvest in some spots, but not significantly. Because some farms had to split their planting, harvest was also split for them. A cold snap a couple of weeks ago made some producers worry that fields would dry quickly, so they harvested the corn silage a little wetter than ideal. The early numbers show good yields, quality and starch digestibility.

Farms’ inventories look decent. In the early summer months, we had some concerns about planting delays and a weak first crop, but we caught up throughout the summer. Now farms are hard at it getting manure on fields and planting cover crops while we still have warm weather in the first week of November.

Category: Feed quality and nutrition
Forage Foundations
Forage harvesting