Rain, rain go away - heavy rains leave standing water across Wisconsin

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Corn at varying heights grows around wet spots in a field in Waukesha County. Rain last week left water standing across the state in fields with low spots.

Rain, rain and more rain were the story last week as showers and thunderstorms across the state gave farmers only three and a half days suitable for fieldwork.

Northern Wisconsin saw widespread flood damage to rural roads and infrastructure in the aftermath of heavy rains received from June 16 through 18. This was followed by sunny weather for the rest of the week, allowing fieldwork to resume by the weekend, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition report.

Southern Wisconsin saw daily showers and thunderstorms, limiting access to fields.  Reporters noted standing water and crops showing moisture stress in low spots. Haying and spraying were the main tasks for the week, though conditions continued to be poor for baling dry hay. 

"Although we needed rain, we didn't necessarily need the 3 to 5 inches that came early in the week, creating a lot of standing water," the Calumet County reporter said. 

The Green County reporter said, "Wet, wet and more wet weather. Between 4 and 7 inches of rain over the entire county this past week. It has been very tough to get first crop finished and started with second crop hay."

Some locations in Walworth County received 5 to 6 inches of rain last week, causing flooding in low spots. Five to 9 inches of rain in Portage County "slowed everything to a crawl," the report stated.

Rain and drizzle made it hard for framer to get corn and soybeans sprayed in Vernon County. While the soybeans needed the rain, it also encouraged more weed growth. Only St. Croix County reported "just the right amounts of rain to not cause any problems."

Winter wheat, starting to turn, shows evidence of storms that moved through Waukesha County last week.

With the first cutting of alfalfa 92 percent complete, two days behind last year, but six days ahead of the average, second cutting is underway in most counties. All hay condition was reported 82 percent in good to excellent condition. 

Corn and soybeans look good in most counties — "remarkable" in Green County — with corn in Burnett and Washburn counties over knee high. Some yellow areas are starting to appear in corn fields in Shawano County and other counties indicate areas where water is standing in fields. 

Soybeans are ahead of last year and the average, according to the report. Winter wheat was 84 percent headed, four days behind last year, and coloring was reported at 16 percent, five days behind last year. 

Oats and spring wheat are heading out in Burnett and Washburn counties, but is short due to lack of rain in early May. Oats headed out was reported at 48 percent, one day ahead of last year.