Harvest 2013 Update

Harvest is not a cohesive event at our farm. I know some farmers in some parts of the country get in their combines and run until they’re finished, and that’s the end of that. Sure they switch things out for different crops and the process can take a month or better, but their harvest is basically continuous, weather permitting. Our variety of crops, however, do not mature at the same time, and to further complicate things, we harvest them at varying levels of maturity.

Chopping corn silage in early September.

This year, like every year, we started our fall harvest with corn silage, which is chopped at about 65% moisture, long before the corn is dry enough to be harvested as grain (about 14% moisture). We chopped all of our earlier-planted corn to ensure that we filled our silos. If we had decided to chop part of the later corn, and had misjudged how much we needed to fill the silos, the earlier corn would have already dried down too much to be made into silage, and we would be short on feed next year.

As a result, though, the corn left standing at the conclusion of silage chopping was still very green and wouldn’t be ready to harvest for over a month. The next phase of harvest was chopping forage sorghum a few weeks after we finished with corn. Some of our sorghum was flattened by wind, and that part of the field was left to be combined later this fall with our milo.

Forage sorghum ready to be chopped for additional silage.

Next we harvested our soybeans, the only crop we will sell this year. We only had one field, and we hauled of the grain straight from the field to the elevator.

The last load of soybeans just before it headed to the grain elevator

After soybeans, we started on our corn harvest, but with chances of snow starting to show up in the forecast, we switched to milo before finishing with corn. A snow would weigh down the top-heavy milo and we would lose most of the crop. We finished our milo harvest this week, with no snowfall yet this fall.

We started and finished milo harvest this week. As you can seen, milo is a darker, smaller, reddish grain compared with corn (which it will supplement in our ration)

With only two corn fields left standing, the end of Harvest 2013 is in sight. We will hopefully get that work completed this week or next and head into 2014 with bins full of homegrown corn and milo – a very welcome thing after raising no grain to feed during last year’s drought.

Unloading corn from the combine into a truck. Each truck load is weighed and then unloaded into a grain bin for storage.

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