Storms cause crop damage in parts of Wisconsin

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Some wheat fields in Dane and Jefferson county have been harvested. Pictured is wheat being harvested during a field demonstration at Farm Technology Days on July 23, 2019 in Johnson Creek.

Heat and humidity may have given crops a giant boost last week, but strong storms moving through the state on July 19 and 20 soaked the ground and damaged crops and buildings. 

Severe straight line winds and a few tornadoes damaged crops, farm buildings, trees and powerlines in many areas. Some areas of the state received torrential rains, with some flooding, erosion damage and ponding were reported in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition Report for the week ending July 19.

Cooler, more stable air moved into the state by Sunday but farm reporters noted that many fields were once again too wet to support machinery. Some reporters were concerned that lodged small grains may not stand back up before harvest time, while others noted that flattened crops were recovering already.

Polk County was among the areas hit hard by storms on July 18. Tornado and straight line winds caused countywide storm damage on Friday night, the reporter said, causing extensive, massive damage to buildings and crops. Two days later, many were still without power and lots of damage was still unknown. 

Corn, soybeans, oats and hay crops were flattened in Rush and Sawyer counties. Storms on July 19 in Clark, Price and Taylor counties damaged fields, trees, and residences. With many places receiving over 5 inches of rain last week, everything is saturated, the reporter noted. 

Ninety mile per hour winds hit Oconto County damaging crops.

Strong winds hit some of the taller corn fields in Shawano County causing them to lodge badly. While there was some hail, it did not appear to cause much damage. Many trees were down from the storms. "Once again it is now very wet in the fields with standing water in many spots," said the Shawano County reporter. 

"Crop damage due to excessive winds and tornadoes on Friday and Saturday. Excessive rain created standing water in some fields," said the Waupaca County reporter. 

In Kewaunee County, between 1.5 to 4 inches of rain soaked the ground and strong winds bent corn and caused wheat and oats to lodge. 

"It remains to be seen if the crops will straighten up before the harvest," the reporter said. "The warmth and high humidity over the past few weeks have really helped to push the crops on to maturity. There is still a ways to go, but the crops are noticeably different than they were just a week ago. Quite a bit of the corn will be tasseling soon and the soybeans should start blossoming soon as well."

Green County has some of the best looking corn in the southern part of the state, but none of it will produce the excellent yields seen the past couple years," the reporter said.

Some corn fields in Dane County were shooting tassels and a couple of fields were showing silks, according to the report. Additionally, some wheat fields were combined in Dane County and getting close to harvest in Walworth County. 

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