Rain slows fieldwork, boosts emergence of young plants

Colleen Kottke
Despite cooler weather and widespread rain showers across the state, the corn silage harvest continued to race towards completion.

Despite cooler weather and widespread rain showers across the state, the corn silage harvest continued to race towards completion.

As corn and soybeans were harvested from the fields, farmers worked to plant winter wheat and spread manure.

According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition report, wheat continued to emerge, boosted by a needed shot of rain.

The long stretch of dry weather has helped to push grain moistures down.

“There really hasn't been a hard, killing frost to dry down the corn and the soybeans,” said the Kewaunee County reporter. “It's been Mother Nature who has managed to remove the moisture from these two crops very effectively, making for a drier harvest. Ultimately, this will mean lower drying costs for the corn and beans here in 2017.”

According to the report, 94 percent of Wisconsin’s corn has reached the dented stage or beyond, with over half being reported as being mature.

In Kenosha County, farmers have started to harvest corn. “So far, the yields are running 160-173 bushels per acre on early season corn,” said the reporter. “Bean yields are 18-30 bushels per acre so far.”

Corn harvested for grain was just 5 percent complete with corn moistures reported at 29 percent. Corn acres harvested for silage was reported at 72 percent complete.

“This was the week to make corn silage as choppers were going in every direction,” said the Shawano County reporter. “Good quality of silage but yields are lower than the past few years.”

The news was also good in Kewaunee County where reports noted that the yield and quality of the corn harvest appeared to be very good, with many producers have more than enough to last well into next year.

“And, since the later part of the summer was so dry, there really wasn't much of any kind of mold or fungus that grew on the stalks. This will make for a more stable feed, with much better quality,” the Kewaunee County reporter observed.

Leaves were turning color on 96 percent of the state’s soybean acreage with 86 percent of those fields dropping leaves. The report noted that the soybean harvest was 32 percent complete.

In Shawano County, cool, damp weather from mid- to late-week stopped the combines from harvesting soybeans.

“Early beans are only yielding 45-50 bushels per acre overall. Later soybeans, however, look to be better,” said the Shawano County reporter.

Due to very dry conditions in Rock County, recent rains did little to slow farmers down.

“Soybean moisture levels at local elevator range from 8.5 percent to 13 percent with green beans mixed in,” the Rock County reporter said.

In Central Wisconsin, farmers weren’t so lucky. According to the Waupaca reporter, storms dumped over 3 inches of rain in Waupaca, putting all harvest and fall tillage on hold.

Pasture condition was rated at 54 percent good to excellent. However, up in Clark County, drier weather has slowed the growth of pastures.

“If farmers don't have stockpiled forage, stored feed may be required,” said the Clark County reporter.