Q&A Series: Producers Open Up About Silage Harvest

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Throughout the last several weeks, the steady hum of tractors, choppers and silage wagons could be heard nationwide. Silage season came earlier for many dairy producers this year, thanks to decent planting and harvesting conditions. However, some are still waiting to hit the fields. We asked several dairy producers from across the county how silage season faired for their operations in 2020. This was their response:

(From right to left: Christian Buessing, Roy Buessing, Roger Buessing, Colton Buessing)

Christian Buessing – Kansas

Assistant Herdsman at Buessing Dairy


Dwayne Faber – Washington

Dairy Farm Owner


Madison Skubal – Iowa

Dairy Farmer – Hilltop Dairy LLC

Q. Have you chopped silage yet?

Buessing - We chopped corn silage August 13th.

Faber - We will start chopping on the 21st of September this year. 

Skubal - We finished chopping corn silage about two weeks ago. We chopped rye early this year, so were able to get corn in earlier than most years. We double crop with rye, so our corn goes in after all the grain farmers in our area. 


Q. Harvest conditions were vastly different than last season. Did you chop earlier or later this year?

Buessing – We chopped silage around the same time we normally do.

Faber - It will be a week or so ahead of last year.

Skubal - This year we chopped corn silage two weeks earlier than 2019.


Q. What has the quality/quantity looked like so far?

Buessing - The quality this year was really good with an average of 25+ tons an acre.

Faber – We have not chopped yet, but the quality and quantity looks to be on par with last year.

Skubal - We haven't tested our corn yet with our nutritionist, but with our own testing we were averaging between 65%-69% moisture. Right where we like it for the bags.


Q. What challenges did you overcome this silage season? Last season?

Buessing - We were very fortunate and didn’t have any issues this year with everything running smoothly.

Faber - Last year it got wet towards the tail of the chopping season and we had to drag a couple of trucks out and left an axle in the field. We also become true conservationists and had to leave some corn standing in the field.

Skubal - This year for us in Iowa it was a good corn silage season. We had a dry spell during the summer, but the corn still looked good and chopped well for us. We had our own issue with our chopper breaking down, so we had to pay more to get a custom chopper to come and finish for us.


Q. Will you have to purchase more silage this year?

Buessing - Considering it was a very good year for us, we won’t have to purchase any silage as we have enough piled for at least 16 months.

Faber - Our silage purchases are consistent with most years.

Skubal - Each year we chop about 120 acres of corn and we always have enough for our 180-head herd.