Pre-Harvest Season

September 25, 2023

Holtz Farms Bins

During our pre-harvest season, August and September, the farm guys completed the installation of our new grain dryer. This is a crucial piece of equipment that functions like a giant furnace by removing excess moisture from our corn crop. The whole grain bin operation will hold approximately 180,00 bushels of corn and 14,000 bushels of soybeans. Our aim with this machine is to reduce the corn’s moisture content down to a storage-friendly 15%. This process was essential because in the past, many farmers, like us, would delay harvesting the corn until the moisture levels reached 20% to avoid the cost of drying the corn. We’re very grateful for this new addition to the farm.

Next up on our pre-harvest season’s to-do list was laying out a concrete foundation for our new fertilizer bulk bin which was set to arrive at the end of September. This bin will store a mixture of potash (aka potassium) which is a vital nutrient for crop health and growth. We’ll spread this blend across our fields to enhance our topsoil.

Just a few weeks back, we finished harvesting our winter wheat crop and planted a multi-species cover crop. This diverse mixture of plants will help us maintain soil health and improve conditions for next year’s corn crop. After we take off our corn crop, we will use our winter rye seed that we grow ourselves and a vertical tillage excelerator to help incorporate the seed and break down corn stalks. This will create a natural mulch layer that benefits our soybeans. For cover crops grown after soybean harvest, we use our no-till drill to plant our rye seed. Since erosion is always a concern for us from there being not enough soybean root remains, the no-till drill will have very minimal soil disturbance and also allow the cover crop to take to the ground quicker.

Throughout this pre-season harvest, our team took some well-deserved time off to spend with their families before the busy season. Yet everyone was still hard at work with essential tasks, such as preparing equipment and the third and final application of fungicide to our soybean and corn fields. With growing season coming to an end, we’ll make one last trip to all our farm fields, scouting for signs of diseases and insects in order to evaluate the effectiveness of our chemical program. Fortunately, our fields across Sauk, Colombia, Juneau, and Adams counties this year have shown consistent moisture levels despite early-season stress. However, we did encounter a late-season heatwave that further impacted our expected yields, and we’re anticipating a 20% reduction in corn yields compared to a good year.

Looking forward into Octber, we’ll construct a roof over our fertilizer blender to protect it from Wisconsin’s various weather elements. The new grain dryer we added to our facilities will also require some final electrical connections. Which our dealer made sure to address prior to harvest. And in these last couple of weeks leading up to the harvest season’s start, we’ll complete our preventative maintenance checklist and ensure our grain facilities are well-prepared for harvest. We’ll also set aside time for mowing field edges and waterways to facilitate the endless hours to come. By next blog post, we’ll be in the thick of it! So send us a prayer and a case of Busch Light to jump-start harvest season 2023!

***Lastly, we have some very exciting news! Holtz Farms is now a proud branch of Holtz Companies. Sharing values and visions, we invite you to explore the synergy between Holtz Companies and its employees here.

[Written by Aysha]

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