Skip to main content

It’s harvest season in Wisconsin

Julia Nunes  |  Wisconsin State Farmer

For many Wisconsin farmers, this change in the seasons means harvest is upon us. You may have seen large tractors and machinery on the roads making their way to their next harvest destination. Please be sure to drive carefully when near them.

This year, September 20-26, 2020 is farm safety week. The theme for the week is “Every Farmer Counts”. According to the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, the goal of the theme is to acknowledge, celebrate, and uplift America’s farmers and ranchers who have encountered many challenges over the past couple of years, yet continue to work hard to provide the food, fiber, and fuel that we need. Safety is very important during harvest season, which sees many farmers out working hard for much of the day.

Many Wisconsin farmers are busy harvesting corn silage. Wisconsin is the number one state for corn silage in the United States producing more than 13.4 million tons of it in 2018. It makes sense that Wisconsin produces the most corn silage because it can be used to feed over one million of Wisconsin’s dairy cows.  Wisconsin produces 11 percent of the corn silage in the nation and more than 670,000 acres of corn are used for corn silage.  

Corn silage is made by harvesting the still green stalk, leaves and ears of corn which is then chopped, fermented and fed to ruminants, like cows. Once the corn is harvested, many farmers store their silage in bunkers, silos, and silage bags where the fermentation takes place. Corn silage serves as a high-energy forage for dairy cows. One of the most important factors influencing corn silage quality is moisture content at time of harvest.

Some other things that are being harvested this fall are Wisconsin apples, squash, and honey. As you bite into these fruits and vegetables, take a second to salute the honeybee which pollinates one-third of our foods – from fresh produce to alfalfa for cows that produce our milk. These hard-working bees also keep us in constant supply of sweet-tasting Wisconsin honey.

September is National Honey Month. It’s time to celebrate the many benefits that honey produced by our state’s beekeepers brings to Wisconsin’s $104.8 billion agriculture industry. Honey is a sweet and viscous fluid produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers and is used as a baking ingredient, beauty ingredient and natural throat soother.

In 2018, Wisconsin ranked 16th in nation for honey, producing more than 2.2 million pounds. Not only is honey good for Wisconsin’s economy but it is good for us as a natural sweetener in foods.

Honey works well as a substitute for granulated sugar in recipes not only because of its unique flavor but also because it is a liquid and blends easily and quickly with other ingredients. Honey helps foods stay fresher longer because it absorbs and retains moisture. Honey is great tasting, healthy and affordable. Everyone should always keep a jar of honey at home as eating for health has never been sweeter.  For ways to sweeten your foods and or for recipe ideas visit today.

Nunes is the Wisconsin's 73rd Alice in Dairyland