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September 20, 2020

Harvest Season is Off & Running (Hard)

Corn silage season has begun for Milk Source farms.

As a total organization, our 2020 goal is to harvest more than 560,000 tons of silage (or, put another way, about 1.1 billion — with a B — pounds.)

Our southern locations, in Missouri and Kansas, typically begin harvest in mid- to late-August. After a modest weather delay, both are about 80 percent completed with just over 100,000 tons harvested so far, reports Eric Onan, director of feed procurement.

Six locations in Wisconsin began harvesting on Sept. 4, with a goal of bringing in approximately 340,000 tons. To achieve this, we will harvest more than 16,500 acres of corn in the state.

In Wisconsin, a trio of dairies all fell in the same harvest window, spurring a divide-and-conquer strategy that required spreading out the available crews of choppers, tractors and trucks.

The bulk of our Michigan harvest began the week of Sept. 13, as a result of rainy spring that delayed planting (… and then hot & dry conditions throughout the summer, which further delayed plant maturity).

“In typical years, corn silage harvest is a sprint, deploying harvest resources at full capacity and going as fast as we can to the finish line,” Onan explained. “The 2020 harvest is starting off as a marathon, strategically deploying resources where the corn is ready, and trying to keep a good pace to continue to pick away at it.

“With the extended forecast calling for warmer temperatures and hopefully subsiding rain, this marathon will turn into a sprint as we approach the finish line. Hopefully everyone has a safe and successful harvest season!”

Everyone is encouraged to use a little extra caution and patience while driving on rural roads for the next few weeks as large machinery will be commonplace across much of the nation’s farmland.