Fall harvest season merits an "A" compared to last year

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Farmers across the state took advantage of ideal field conditions to chop cornstalks for bedding .

The majority of farmers across the state parked their combines, wagons and grain trucks in the machine shed after finishing up this year's harvest.

Mother Nature may have tried to delay the season after dumping up to 5 inches of snow across central and southern Wisconsin for the week ending Nov. 29, 2020.

According to the USDA's National Ag Statistics Service final crop progress and condition report for the year, just a few producers were harvesting the last of the standing corn, baling corn stalks, tilling fields and spreading manure. With the ground not yet frozen, some reporters noted that tillage and manure spreading may continue into December.

Adequate soil moisture and warm temperatures throughout November have left fall planted and perennial crops well prepared to overwinter.

Overall, this fall has been excellent for crop progress and condition, particularly in contrast to the very wet and slow harvest season of 2019. 

Topsoil moisture condition rated 2% very short, 8% short, 78% adequate and 12% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 2% very short, 9% short, 80% adequate and 9% surplus.

Corn for grain harvest was 95% complete, more than 4 weeks ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of the 5-year average. The moisture content of corn harvested for grain was reported at 17%.

Ninety-seven percent of winter wheat was emerged, more than 4 weeks ahead of last year. Winter wheat condition rated 84% good to excellent statewide, unchanged from last week.

Fall tillage was reported as 84 complete, more than 4 weeks ahead of last year and more than a week ahead of the average.

The Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition report will pick up again in early April 2021.