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Silage Kicks Off Ohio's 2023 Corn Harvest
Ohio Ag Connection - 09/26/2023

The silage harvest in Ohio for 2023 was well behind schedule due to challenging growing conditions, including dry weather and slow-growing degree days. As of the week ending September 9, only 27% of the silage was completed, compared to 51% at the same time the previous year and a 5-year average of 39%.

• Efforts at MVP Dairy: MVP Dairy, a 4,500-head dairy operation, took significant action to catch up with the silage harvest. They harvested around 2,100 acres of corn over about a week and a half in mid-September to meet their feed needs.

• Challenges with Tar Spot: Farmers in Ohio, including those at MVP Dairy, were dealing with corn leaf disease issues, particularly tar spot. This disease appeared sporadically in fields, with some being more affected than others. The cooler, foggy mornings created a conducive environment for its growth.

• Moisture Content Importance: It's crucial to harvest corn silage with the right moisture content, ideally between 65% and 70%. The moisture content is assessed based on the "milk line" in the corn kernel. Silage that is too wet can lead to nutrient loss, while overly dry silage can cause fermentation and mold problems.

• Particle Size and Fermentation: Proper particle size is essential for fermentation and feed quality. Silage should have a particle size of 0.5 to 0.75 inches. Ensuring rapid filling of silos is also important for correct fermentation.

• Quality Requirements for Dannon: MVP Dairy provides milk exclusively to Danone North America, which uses it for Dannon yogurt products. To meet Danone's standards, the milk is Non-GMO Project Verified. The dairy plays a significant role in supplying milk to the nearby Danone manufacturing plant in Minster.

• Environmental Stewardship: MVP Dairy emphasizes environmental stewardship throughout its operations, including soil health management, manure application, cover crops, and hybrid selection. They closely monitor and track every step to meet quality specifications.

• Coordination Efforts: Coordinating the silage harvest and managing crop insurance requirements requires a considerable effort. The team works to ensure that no corn is left standing in the fields.

• Supporting the Crew: MVP Dairy provides a hot meal every evening to the crew, consisting of family members and friends. This gesture is meant to show appreciation for the hard work during the harvest season.

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