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Weather makes for ideal crop conditions, fieldwork

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
The sun sets on another long day of baling wheat straw in Fond du Lac County.

Farmers across Wisconsin had little to complain about with growing conditions this summer. With only a couple of rain showers marring an almost perfect weather window, growers had 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending August 16, 2020, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

While brief showers interrupted fieldwork briefly in some areas, conditions remained ideal for haying and combining small grains as dry and mild weather persisted elsewhere. Daytime highs in the upper 80s helped dry soils as the week went on.

In some parts of the state, ag reporters noted that rain is needed to stimulate crop development and pasture growth. Topsoil moisture condition rated 6% very short, 22% short, 67% adequate and 5% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 5% very short, 17% short, 73% adequate and 65% surplus.

Cornfields lining highways and by-ways across the state continued to flourish under the ideal growing conditions with 97% of the crop silked, nearly a month ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of the 5-year average. Corn at dough stage was 63%, 16 days ahead of last year and 6 days ahead of the average. Corn condition rated 84% good to excellent statewide.

Soybean development is also 4 weeks ahead of last year, with 96% of the plants in bloom. Eighty-three percent of soybeans had set pods, 19 days ahead of last year. The crop is rated 85% good to excellent statewide.

Combines were busy harvesting small grain crops, with 72% of the oats harvest complete. Ninety-four percent of winter wheat harvested for grain was ahead of schedule as well, with 94% of the harvest complete.

Oats harvested was 72% complete, 15 days ahead of last year and 5 days ahead of the average. Potato harvest was reported as 20% complete, 17 days ahead of last year and 4 days ahead of the average. Potato condition rated 98% good to excellent statewide, up 8 percentage points from last week. Winter wheat harvested for grain was 94% complete, 9 days ahead of last year and 2 days ahead of the average.

Third cutting of alfalfa was reported as 72% complete, 11 days ahead of last year and equal to the average. All hay condition rated 81% good to excellent statewide, up 3 percentage points from last week. Pasture condition rated 68% good to excellent statewide, the same as last week.