Farmers face below average temperatures, snow

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Snow hampered soybean harvest in many parts of the state last week.

While temperatures averaging 10 degrees below normal in northern Wisconsin helped freeze the ground improving access to wet fields, farmers in southern and eastern Wisconsin dealt with snow and above average temperatures resulting in poor field conditions last week. 

Grain moisture remained high across the state, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition report for the week ending Nov. 10. As a result, with steep drying fees and low commodity prices, some farmers were leaving crops in the fields until they dried down further.

In Columbia County, snow kept coming the farm reporter noted. Warm temperatures last weekend "cleared the snow off of corn plants but left the fields very slippery and muddy." No soybeans were harvested since fields still had snow on them and were muddy. Farmers were waiting for the ground to freeze to continue the corn harvest. 

Crawford and Grant counties had 0 degrees and snow on the ground on Nov. 12 leaving a foot of snow on many soybeans, causing some to go down, the farm reporter said.

"Long way to go yet on corn harvest," said the Crawford and Grant counties farm reporter. "Very little corn fodder able to be made and fodder and hay inventories are short. Challenging year continues."

For the second week in a row there were no combines in fields in Fond du Lac and Washington counties - a result of four inches of snow that dropped on the area. Very little tillage and manure applications took place last week as well.

Dane County had standing water in a lot of fields and in Sheboygan County, the fields were soft, but producers were spreading manure and trying to get some harvest completed.

Harvested corn and soybeans are running well above above average harvested moisture for this time of year in Sawyer County. The farm reporter noted a lot of soybeans coming off the field above the benchmark 13% and nearly all the corn harvested was above 20 percent. "While yields are near average, test weights are not," the reporter said. 

In Chippewa and Eau Claire counties, the cold drier conditions allowed more soybeans to be harvested. Corn harvest was underway and corn moisture was in the mid to lower 20% range, according to the farm reporter. 

The colder temperatures helped farmers in Ashland and Iron counties as it allowed corn and soybean harvest to continue. 

St. Croix County had perhaps the best report as cold weather froze most of the fields, soybean harvest was mostly complete, corn harvest was going well with no snow in the area and most manure pits were empty. 

Across the state, soybean harvest was 97% complete, nine days behind last year. 

Corn for silage harvest was 92% complete across the state and harvest of corn for grains was 30% complete, 21 days behind last year. 

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