Worst year for rain some farmers can remember

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Water, Water in many farm fields. A challenge for many.

A 92-year-old Rock County farmer claims this is the worst year for rain he could ever remember. The scene in Rock County — harvest equipment getting stuck on hills, water running out of places it never has before — is the scene farmers across the state are facing. 

With mild temperatures and clear skies at the beginning of the week last week giving producers a window of opportunity for fieldwork, corn silage chopping and soybean harvest took off as field conditions improved, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition report. 

Even though the ground was drier than the previous week, it was still unfavorably wet and heavy rutting, like the 92-year-old farmer said, was reported in many areas.

Rutting was still occurring in Calumet and Manitowoc counties,"but at least equipment wasn't getting buried," the farm reporter said. "Some wheat went in the ground, although most are giving up on any more planting due to the weather."

In Shawano County, a lot of corn silage was chopped, but every field had ruts, some running the length of the field, the USDA farm reporter said. While much of the corn is not mature, it is drying down from blight, according to the report. 

Some soybeans were taken off the field in Shawano County with water standing in the rows. 

"So far the soybean yield has been very disappointing," the reporter Shawano reporter added. "As you might expect, it is almost impossible to get much winter wheat planted. Frustration is very high for everyone." 

In Ashland and Iron counties, most corn and soybeans reached maturity, despite late planting, however, the moisture is too high to combine. The area received its first killing frost on Oct. 14. 

Producers in Burnett and Washburn counties were also having trouble chopping corn silage because of wet soils. Even cows were sinking in pasture while walking to graze.

Perhaps the most telling scene of the week was painted by the farm reporter for Trempeauleau County, "The week started out wonderful with sun and warm temperatures and the machines started rolling. There was silage chopping, hay cutting and harvesting soybeans began. The break in rain was much needed, unfortunately the rainy, cloudy days returned by mid-week and now cold weather is moving in along with threatening snow flurries. Farmers coming in to sign up for MFP in the midst of harvest tells us how bad the farm economy is."

As a Facebook comment from one farmer said, "It's grim out there. This year ending and a new one starting can't come fast enough."

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