Same story, different week with rain playing havoc on fieldwork

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Many producers were still struggling with the first crop of alfalfa, as cutting is delayed and drying conditions were poor last week.

Rain limited the number of days suitable for fieldwork last week — the same conditions Wisconsin farmers have been dealing with all year. Even with several weeks of drying down, storms and above normal precipitation last week hampered fieldwork. 

Some crops are showing stress from excess moisture and emerged crops remain well behind development, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition Report. 

"Normally at this time of year, conditions are such that rain is needed," said the Kewaunee County farm reporter. "Not this year. It is also amazing to drive around and see fields that are still not planted. Most fields have been tilled, but several still are sitting idle. At this point, the options to get these fields into production are starting to get limited."

In Shawano County, some farmers have started cover crop planting for prevent plant acres but many continued to plant for regular grain production, the reporter said. 

"Overall crops are looking fairly good if we were only a month earlier on the calendar," said the Shawano County reporter. "It will be a nail biter this summer as we wait to see how many acres actually will mature on time for fall harvest."  

It was the "same story, different week," according to the Sheboygan County reporter. "Rain, rain, and more rain. At this point, if it isn't planted, it most likely won't be. Cover crops going in when and where able to. However, lots of standing water is putting a hold on that as well."

Washington County farmers also experienced a rainy, stormy week last week, "with around three inches rain and winds high enough to peel some shingles, break some branches and lodge some wheat," the reporter said. 

With all the rain, cutting has been delayed and drying conditions are poor for first crop alfalfa. Farmers are worrying about forage supply, with low inventory and high levels of alfalfa winterkill. 

In Rusk County, first crop harvest continues much later than usual and quality and quantity are below normal, causing concern about forage inventories.

"Producers are beginning to cull cows in anticipation of these reduced forage inventories," the Rusk County reporter said. 

Corn planting was 96% complete, 12 days behind last year and corn emerged was at 87%, 20 days behind last year. 

Crops in Crawford and Grant counties are "very spread out as some producers were wrapping up planting corn this past weekend with other corn being above waist high," the farm reporter said.

Some corn in Portage and Wood counties will make knee-high by the Fourth of July, according to the report. 

Corn and beans in Ashland and Iron counties are based on the calendar but are healthy and growing. 

Winter wheat and oat crops are doing very good in Kewaunee County. The oats are just about to head out, while the winter wheat is all headed out and just starting to turn color, according to the report. 

Across the state winter wheat was 81 percent headed, eight days behind last year. Eighteen percent of winter wheat acres were coloring, six days behind last year.

Soybean planting was 18 days behind last year with 80% emerged, 17 days behind last year. 

Oats emerged was 94 percent complete, 11 days behind last year with 36% of oats headed, 12 days behind last year. 

The first cutting of alfalfa was 86% complete, 12 days behind last year with second cutting at 5% complete. 

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