Corn Silage Kicks Off Custom Operator’s Season

The corn silage harvest has begun in earnest in Wisconsin. This means farmers and custom operators have started their season of long hours in the field.

The latest crop progress and condition report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says in Wisconsin, 18 percent of the corn silage harvest is done. This is six days ahead of last year and a day ahead of the 5-year average.

Bill Smith is the president of Wisconsin Custom Operators. He also owns Smith Custom Farming Inc. out of Darlington. So far, he’s noticed yields are short. He notes the starch content is favorable.

“We have a good feed sample because the plant is shorter but there’s still an ear there, but just from the yield checks that have been done, we are going to be short on grain yield,” Smith says.

For his membership, input costs are problematic again this year.

“Our input costs go from the cost of equipment alone and repairs and labor and fuel, and you know as well as everybody, it’s all gone up,” Smith says, adding his customers have been understanding of rising prices despite their own challenges with low milk prices over the summer.

When it comes to equipment, he says new machinery has been hard to come by. This has meant late model, used equipment prices continue to go up because of the high demand.

“The harvest window for silage seems like it gets shorter and shorter every year, so the equipment has got to get bigger so we can get those tons of silage off the field before the moisture goes down,” he explains.

He asks motorists to be patient and drive safely as they share the roadways with farm equipment.