Winter keeps its hold on parts of the state, slowing fieldwork progress

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Winter wheat was 44 percent in good to excellent condition statewide. Rows of winter wheat have emerged on this hillside farm field east of Fond du Lac.

With a brief glimpse of summer early last week, conditions declined throughout the week leaving wet, cold soil conditions across the state and a late spring snow blanketed southern Wisconsin last weekend.

On April 27, up to 6 inches of snow was reported near the Illinois border and overnight lows fell into the 20s across much of the state, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition report. Rain and above freezing temperatures on Sunday helped melt snow off of fields but only added to already high soil moistures.

Walworth County was hit with 4 inches of snow on Saturday and by Sunday it was all melted. 

Alfalfa winterkill was becoming evident in many areas of the state, and some reporters noted severe damage. Farmers will be deciding which fields to reseed or rotate to other crops in the coming weeks.

In Pierce County, producers reported more than 500 acres of alfalfa loss as of April 29, according to the report. Alfalfa fields were spotty in Crawford and Grant counties with producers sowing additional oats/alfalfa. New seeding fields planted in 2018 are also poor and being taken out of hay rotation, the reporter noted.

The St. Croix County reported said, "Alfalfa fields are not great with some totally killed and some in good to poor condition."

The Dodge County reporter also noted lots of alfalfa and winter wheat winterkill. Farmers will be deciding which fields to reseed or rotate to other crops in the coming weeks. 

Cold temperatures and rain stopped most activity in Rusk County, except a little manure spreading. Conditions were similar in Buffalo and Pepin counties where soil samples at 12 inches deep were described as mud. 

Carol Spaeth-Bauer at 262-875-9490 or Follow her on Twitter at cspaethbauer or Facebook at