Farmers keeping a close eye on Jose's track - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Farmers keeping a close eye on Jose's track

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Farmers are even preparing for what Jose is expected to bring (WFSB) Farmers are even preparing for what Jose is expected to bring (WFSB)
ELLINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

Farmers are among many paying close attention to the path of Jose.

Anytime there is a chance for a storm or heavy winds this time of year a farmer will be a bit concerned. 

Oak Ridge Farm in Ellington is the biggest dairy farm in Connecticut, milking nearly 2,000 cows. 

But to produce milk, you have to feed cows some good eats.

“The word hurricane in September to a dairy farmer trying to cut corn is the last thing he wants to hear,” said John Hoffman, of Oak Ridge Farm.

They planted 1,900 and 45 acres of corn in April and it costs over $1 million to do it.

Being able to chop corn early into the trucks and pack it down comes with its benefits along with avoiding bad weather during hurricane season.

“We are basically putting up the entire years feed right now. It would be like filling your canning cellar once a year,” Hoffman said.

The corn is chopped up into what is called ‘sileage’ and put into the back of a dump truck.

Those trucks dump it off into a big pile.

Tractors then pack the pile down to squeeze air out so they can get a good fermentation process.

“As corn develops later in the season, the moisture comes out of it and it gets replaced actually with starch grain,” said Christian Welti, of Oak Ridge Farm.

You don’t want to chop too early, but you also don’t want to lose a years’ worth of work.

“If it does come, they are saying that we are going to get three to five inches of rain which is going to make a mess of our fields and we won’t be able to chop. And if we don’t chop it at the right time it stops the cows from producing as much milk which is our paycheck. So, it is a big concern,” Welti said.

Oak Ridge grows conventional cow corn and brown mid rib, which is a bit flimsier but it is more nutritious to the cows.

“So, it’s very important to get this corn harvested before a hurricane so as you can see if this corn were to go down the strength of it does not have to pull it back up. It would lay sideways just like that,” Hoffman said.

The hope is that about 1,200 acres will be done by the end of the week and the rest will be done by the end of the month, and no heavy rains or winds will knock any down.

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