Harvest drags on with damp conditions

Colleen Kottke
Editor/Wisconsin State Farmer

Mother Nature is doing her level best to hamper this year's harvest. While some farmers have stored the combine and grain carts for the season, others in Shawano, Sheboygan, Vernon, LaCrosse and Kenosha counties have corn and soybeans still standing out in the field.

Truck traffic was slow at some elevators as farmers struggled to get into fields due to wet, damp conditions.

"Not that the farmers aren't trying to get the crops in, but the sporadic rain showers have actually increased the moisture in soybeans as time goes by," said the reporter in LaCrosse County. "While other counties have gotten work done, this county — with the rain showers and heavy fog — has had trouble getting crops off the fields."

There were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending November 19, 2017, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Although temperatures were close to normal this week, light rains and heavy fog dimmed the prospects of many farmers.

The reporter from Vernon County noted farmers got little fieldwork or harvesting done due to the damp, foggy weather.

"It was too wet to combine soybeans and the moisture level is still high so there was minimal harvesting of corn and beans," the reporter said.

The corn for grain harvest progressed slowly statewide as grain moistures were still unfavorably high. Several reporters noted that grain moistures have actually risen with the damp conditions of the past few weeks. Fields were reportedly slippery in some areas, further complicating harvest activities.

"Much of the corn came off this week at 20-26 percent. It actually picked up moisture with the damp days," the Shawano County reporter said. "There are still a few soybeans in the field yet but many farmers took them off even though they were quite high in moisture."

Reports from along Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, Ozaukee and Washington counties echoed their displeasure with the weather.

"Just a cold, wet and dreary week with little movement out in the fields," the reporter said.

The corn harvest is still 12 days behind the average with just 69 percent of the corn grain harvest complete. The moisture content of this corn is averaging around 21 percent, according to the report.

While the soybean harvest remains 11 days behind last year, the harvest is nearly complete at 94 percent. Winter wheat is faring well with the wet conditions, with 96 percent of the crop emerged, two days ahead of last yera.

Fall tillage was reported at 58 percent complete, just a week behind the average.