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Tropical depression can't keep farmers out of fields for long

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
A rainbow is reflected in a pool of water collecting in a corn field north of Eden following a thunderstorm last week.

Despite the deluge of rain dumped by tropical depression Cristobal, farmers were still able to get several days of fieldwork in under their belts last week.

According to the USDA Agricultural Statistics Service Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition report for the week ending June 14, spring planting was wrapping up slightly ahead of the five-year average and well ahead of last year's unusually slow planting pace.

Reporters across the state noted that the abundant warmth and moisture have benefited crop development. Cristobal added to moisture amounts by dumping 1 to 3 inches of rain on Wednesday, June 10 during a 24-hour period. Top soil moisture condition was rated 0% very short, 5% short, 81% adequate and 14% surplus.

Corn planting was close to finishing up as 98% of the crops were reportedly in the ground, 19 days ahead of last year. Corn emergence was listed at 93% - nearly 3 weeks ahead of schedule - and was rated 82% good to excellent statewide.

Soybean planting was close behind with 96% of the crop planted with 87% emergence. The crop condition was reported as 85% good to excellent.

Oats emergence was reported as 94%, two weeks ahead of schedule. Eighteen percent of the oats crop was headed with oat condition rates at 84% good to excellent statewide.

Over half of the winter wheat crop has headed, six days ahead of last year but 3 days behind the average. Two percent of the crop was turning color while the crop condition was reported as 80% good to excellent.

The report also noted that 97% of the potato crop was in the ground, five days behind last year and 8 days behind the average. Potato condition was rated 94% good to excellent.

Farmers were busy replenishing hay supplies that had been depleted over the winter. The first cutting of alfalfa was reported as 75% complete, 8 days ahead of last year. Producers reported that winter freeze damage to alfalfa was rated 2% severe, 5% moderate and 34% light. Most of the severe damage was reported in south central Wisconsin.

There were reportedly no damages to the remaining 59% of alfalfa - 19 percentage points better than 2019.

All hay condition was reported in 71% in good to excellent condition statewide, up 6% from last year.