Killing frost speeds corn harvest along

Colleen Kottke

Rain, snow flurries, frost and a bit of sunshine greeted farmers last week as the labored to harvest this season's crop.

While some farm equipment in northern Wisconsin sat idle, waiting for field conditions to improve, other producers plodded along slowly to finish harvesting soybeans and corn silage and begin combining high moisture corn.

Widespread frost across the state last weekend has helped the corn crop to dry down more quickly.

Most of the state experienced the first hard frost of the season last week which observers say will aid in drying down the grain corn crop that's already two weeks behind schedule. The moisture content is averaging 23 percent, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition report for the week ending Oct. 29.

Ninety percent of Wisconsin's corn crop was reported as being mature, over a week behind average while corn harvested for grain was just 25 percent complete. The corn silage harvest was winding down as acres harvested for silage was reported as 93 percent complete, according to the report.

Soybeans were fast disappearing from fields with 80 percent of the harvest reported as being complete. Thanks to a warm fall, the reporter in Sheboygan and Ozaukee counties noted that winter wheat is off to an excellent start.  Winter wheat was rated 85 percent good to excellent with emergence reported at 77 percent complete, four days ahead of last year.

Up in central Wisconsin, the reporter from Lincoln and Marathon counties observed that farmers were going full speed "harvesting, tillage and manure pit emptying all at the same time." Fall tillage was reported at just 35 percent complete, just five days behind average, according to the report.