Rain halts fieldwork, frustrates farmers

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
This Manitowoc County producers takes advantage of a break in the weather to combine high moisture corn.

Wet. That sums up field conditions last week across the state. Frequent rains stalled fieldwork, leaving farmers frustrated with the weather and with ongoing high grain moistures. In some counties, all the moisture resulted in kernels on corn ears beginning to sprout and drops in crop condition, with soybeans deteriorating the most, according to the USDA Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition report. 

Shawano County got more than 5 inches of rain in the beginning of the week and light rain with snow late in the week, leaving very little field work done during the week. Fields were very wet with many sitting with ponds of water. Strong winds at the end of the week "raised heck" with some varieties of corn, the reporter noted and "a lot of wheat was supposed to go in yet that will probably not get done anymore."

In Calumet County, producers are still hoping to get wheat planted.

A few people battled mud to "get silage off before it's too far gone," the reporter in Door and Kewaunee counties reported. "A few people are switching back over to harvesting fourth crop that got put off to get corn silage off when it was still dry enough to get in the fields. Manure lagoons are getting full, too. There's a lot of waiting and not much happening in the fields."

In Ashland and Iron counties, there were some reports of soybeans harvested, but it's still too wet for any fall tillage work. 

Monroe County reported corn grain moisture ranging from the low 20s to the low-mid 30s where farmers were able to combine. Dane County reported corn moisture ranges from 15 to 18 percent.

Corn and bean dry down was at a standstill in Fond du Lac and Washington counties. Producers the reporter spoke with didn't report any mold issues and were measuring 22 to 24 percent moisture in corn and 17 to 19 percent in beans. 

"Two hard frosts have closed out the growing season that accumulated 2,790 Degree Days beginning March 1 and closing October 14 (using base 50/85)," the Fond du Lac and Washington County reporter noted. 

Farmers in Chippewa County voiced concerns that manure applications won't happen this fall if crops can't be harvested and soil conditions freeze up around Thanksgiving, the reporter stated. 

Corn harvested for grain was 19 percent complete and corn for silage 92 percent harvested, both more than a week ahead of the average. Corn condition was 69 percent good to excellent. 

Soybeans dropping leaves was reported 95 percent complete and soybean harvest was 21 percent complete, 11 days behind last year.

Fourth cutting of alfalfa was 90 percent complete, more than two weeks behind last year. Fall tillage was only 16 percent complete.