Wautoma, WI
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Saturday...Temperatures will range from a high of 65 to a low of 51 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 10 and 18 miles per hour from the southsouthwest. No precipitation is expected.
This Evening ...Temperatures will range from 59 to 55 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 12 and 16 miles per hour from the southwest. No precipitation is expected.
Overnight ...Temperatures will range from 55 to 51 degrees with clear skies. Winds will remain steady around 10 miles per hour from the southwest. No precipitation is expected.
Sunday...Temperatures will range from a high of 76 to a low of 51 degrees with mostly clear skies. Winds will range between 10 and 18 miles per hour from the southsouthwest. No precipitation is expected.

Despite early challenges, record corn crop still predicted

May 17, 2013 | 0 comments


The U.S. Department of Agriculture is still predicting a record corn crop, despite the early challenges posed by Mother Nature in getting the crop in the ground.

A USDA report, released May 10, forecasts a corn yield of 158 bushels per acre, which if realized would bring in a record crop of 14.14 billion bushels. That would be up 3.36 billion bushels from 2012 when much of the nation’s cropland baked in excessive heat and severe drought.

The nation’s record corn crop of 13.09 billion bushels was produced in 2009.

The forecast came despite the slowest start to the planting season in the Corn Belt in nearly three decades. Just last week parts of the region, including Wisconsin, were covered in snow.

Cool weather and heavy rains have delayed planting in many regions.

Gregory Bussler, Wisconsin’s State Agricultural Statistician, told ag board members on Tuesday that state farmers are experiencing the slowest start to spring planting since 1993.

Based on reports from May 12, farmers said they had 14 percent of the state’s corn planted, which is 32 percentage points behind the five-year average.

Spring tillage was ongoing, with 26 percent complete and manure was still being spread as many pits in the state remain close to overflowing.

Wisconsin soybeans were only 1 percent planted this week, compared to 14 percent last year and 13 percent on the five-year average.

The warm dry weather of last week helped farmers’ tillage and planting totals jump and melted the last of the snow cover in northern Wisconsin. But muddy conditions in many parts of the state prevented farmers from getting in their fields.

Ag board members quipped about how "good" their soils were, with those having "poorer" soils noting they had already been able to do some tillage and planting.

Bussler said there is still concern over alfalfa winterkill, which his reporters said is severe in some areas. Damage appears to be especially severe on older stands and heavier soils. Farmers are still deciding what fields must be replanted even in the face of extremely tight feed supplies.

Winter wheat damage from winterkill was reportedly less severe than alfalfa, he said, although in certain areas it is significant.

Bussler said Wisconsin farmers intend to plant 4.35 million acres of corn this year. If realized it would tie with 2012 as the third largest planted corn acreage on record. The record high was planted in 1981 with 4.52 million acres and farmers planted 4.4 million acres in 1982.



Nationally, the USDA crop report projected that if farmers are able to plant the large crop they intend to plant, and all goes well, corn stocks could increase to slightly more than 2 billion bushels.

That would reduce the forecast farm-level price to under $5 per bushel. This is down from $6.90 per bushel for the 2012-13 marketing year.

Analysts said export predictions are down from earlier this year and USDA projections on the use of corn might be too generous – both of which would drive the price downward.

The report also forecasts a record year for the soybean crop, projecting 3.39 billion bushels, which is up 375 million bushels from 2012. Soybean stocks are expected to increase to 265 million bushels, up 140 million from the 2012-13 marketing year.

The predicted farm-gate price for the crop is also down from the year before, from $14.30 per bushel in 2012-13 to $10.50 per bushel.

Both the corn and soybean crops produced by U.S. farmers will have to compete with South American crops. There, growers will put in two crops of corn and their soybeans will be harvested six months into the marketing year.

In Wisconsin, Bussler said state farmers are planning to put in 1.7 million acres of soybeans, down slightly from the 1.71 million acres planted last year.

As of March 1, Wisconsin farmers plan to grow 1.38 million acres of hay this year. If realized, it would be 70,000 acres below the record low acreage harvested in 2012.

State Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel told his board that many dairy farmers are still in the position of working with their nutritionists and consultants to find ways to feed their dairy cows as most are still several weeks away from being able to harvest new hay crops.

"This is a pretty critical time," he said. While some farmers have enough feed inventory on hand, many don’t after last year’s drought and some dairy herd consolidation is going on.

The state lost 614 dairy farm operations last year, he said, and much of that was due to the drought and related high feed costs.

Reports on heat units from March 1-May 11 show that total is pretty low compared to earlier years, he said.

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