Farmers get a good week for making dry hay

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
A farmer in Jefferson County cuts hay on June 7. The weather finally cooperated for making dry hay last week.

Farmers across the state were busy making dry hay with the summer heat providing a good week for making dry hay with the first cutting wrapping up and the second cutting well underway. The heat and sunshine also helped wet fields dry and gave late planted crops a boost, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition Report for last week.

"A week when a lot of hay came off the field. Some early harvested fields are now having second crop removed, but the majority are still getting first cutting stored," the Clark County reporter said. "With wet spring some farmers are finally getting into fields and while hay is being harvested many are also planting crops to provide feed for livestock."

Some parts of the state got scattered showers and thunderstorms, providing a shot of moisture without interrupting fieldwork for long. Other parts received no measurable precipitation last week and some fields are dry enough to need a drink now.  

"We received 1.75 inches of rain," said the Marinette County reporter. "I can’t believe I am saying this but we needed it."

The Fond du Lac County reporter said, "The soggy conditions have abated with the onset of the heat and a week without rain. The beans and corn on the low ground should be making a recovery in the coming week."

In Sheboygan County the reporter said, "A nice dry week allowed crops to catch up a little. Wheat and oats are coloring nicely. Corn and soybeans are still showing stress from excessive moisture. Second crop alfalfa harvest has begun. After a week of relatively no rain, a nice little shower would be welcome at this point."

While the humid warm weather is helping crops catch up, yield is spotty on hay fields and now insects are a problem.

"Very challenging year as now the insects in hay fields are the worst they have ever been, causing severe yellowing of stands and very light yields on an already low hay crop," the Crawford and Grant county reporter said. "Producers [are] concerned over the ability to put up enough feed to carry through winter months."

The first cutting of alfalfa was 13 days behind the average at 96% complete last week. Second cutting was 45% complete, 10 days later than last year. The all hay condition report rose 5 percentage points at 47% good to excellent condition.

Corn emerged was reported at 97% complete nearly two weeks behind the five-year average. One percent of the corn across the state has reached silking stage and corn condition improved slightly from last week. 

For soybeans, 98% were planted by the end of last week and 94% had emerged, 21 days behind last year. Seven percent of soybeans were reported blooming, 16 days behind last year. Soybean condition was unchanged from last week. 

Winter wheat was 93% headed, 12 days behind last year and 66% of winter wheat acres were coloring, 10 days behind the average. Winter wheat condition improved slightly from last week. 

Oats was at 74% headed, 10 days behind last year and 20% colored, 12 days behind the average. Oat condition also improved slightly over last week. 

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