Wisconsin’s crops are in need of heat. Everything from small grains and
cranberries to corn and soybeans requires warmer weather to pollinate or
mature, the latest “Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition Report” said.
“Cool weather for this time of year is slowing growth and putting an
already late crop in even more danger of not maturing before first frost,”
the Rusk County reporter said in the document created with input from
reporting farmers and county ag agents across the state.
Although state farmers got a few clear days to do fieldwork, last week
brought more intermittent rainfall and high moisture levels that continued
to slow field operations and stress crops in low-lying areas.
“We are taking a lot of prevent plant crop reports and seeing a few drowned
out spots in low areas of fields,” the Ozaukee County reporter said.
According to the crop report for the week ending July 13, topsoil moisture
levels declined to an overall level of 25 percent surplus, down from 30
percent the previous week.
“We continue to get good rain fall – probably too hard, but better than not
at all,” the St. Croix reporter said. “Crops continue to look good, except
where they’ve drowned out early.”
For the week, precipitation totals ranged from 0.23 inches in Green Bay to
3.51 inches in La Crosse. Getting row crops sprayed has been a challenge
with the rains, the Sawyer County Reporter said, noting some areas in the
county were pelted with small hail, but no damage was reported.
Hail also fell on parts of Vernon County and the rain continued, making it
hard to bale dry hay and spray. But the crops look good overall, the
reporter observed, and farmers aren’t complaining much.
In Price County, almost daily rain made it extremely difficult to do any
type of field work. Some spraying got done, the reporter noted, but the
fields were muddy.
Fond du Lac County got 0.7 inches of rain timed to allow some field work
and the harvest of some very good second crop hay, winter rye for forage,
as well as fertilizer and manure applications.
Temperatures were near normal, with average high temperatures reported
between 79 and 82 degrees and average lows marked between 59 and 63
It was a good week of good weather for Juneau County. “No bad weather, some
rain and the crops are doing well. The corn and soybeans really took off,”
the reporter observed.
According to the Sawyer County reporter, crops look very good, but their
development is behind. “Like the rest of the state, our heat unit
accumulation is 300 or more units behind normal,” he pointed out.
Farmers took advantage of the 4.6 days suitable for fieldwork statewide to
apply herbicides and sidedress nitrogen. Second crop alfalfa progressed
well, although drying the hay continued to be a problem in some areas.
In Shawano County, growers who got the first cutting off in time were
enjoying a second cutting of alfalfa classified as excellent in both
quantity and quality.
As of July 13, the first cutting of alfalfa was 97 percent complete and the
second cutting was 44 percent complete, well above last year’s mark of 31
percent, but lagging the five-year average of 58 percent.
Corn was beginning to tassel, but more heat units are needed to promote
pollination. By week’s end, 5 percent of the state’s corn crop was silking,
compared to the five-year average of 12 percent. Corn condition was rated
77 percent good to excellent.
Corn was 4 feet tall in Waukesha County, although in Dane County, where it
ranged from 3 to 8 feet tall, there were no tassels to be seen.
Soybeans were 24 percent blooming with 1 percent of the crop setting pods,
compared to zero percent last year and even with the five-year average.
Soybeans were rated at 74 percent in good to excellent condition.
The report said the majority of corn and soybeans were in good condition,
but crops in late-planted and moisture-stressed fields continued their
struggle to catch up.
The majority of the state’s hay fields were also doing well with 88 percent
rated in good to excellent condition, as were 92 percent of pastures and 92
percent of potatoes.
The state’s oat crop was rated 82 percent in good to excellent condition.
Ninety percent of the crop had headed, close to the five-year average of 92
percent, and 36 percent were turning color. The harvest had begun with 3
percent harvested for grain by week’s end, compared to 2 percent last year
and the five-year average of 7 percent.
In the state’s wheat fields, 79 percent of the plants were turning color
and 2 percent had been harvested. The crop was considered 73 percent in
good to excellent condition.
Shawano County was on the other side of that statistic. With all the wet
weather, the winter wheat has starting to deteriorate. Disease is in most
stands even if a fungicide has been applied, the reporter said, and there
many fields that need to be sprayed for weed control.
The weekly “Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition Report” is a cooperative
effort of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Wisconsin Department of
Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and the National Weather