Cold, wet weather slows down fieldwork

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
A farmer heads back to the shed after spending an afternoon chisel plowing on a farm near Fall Creek.

Cooler, wet weather hampered spring fieldwork efforts across Wisconsin last week. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, there were just 3.8 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending April 18, 2021.

Temperatures fell below normal with some areas of the state experiencing overnight lows dipping below the freezing mark.

Northern Wisconsin received rain and some scattered snow early in the week while the weather in southern Wisconsin was mostly dry. Wet and cold soil conditions were slow to improve, particularly in areas with heavy, clay soils.

Small grains, potato and alfalfa planting continued with 29 percent of the oats crop reported planted. Fifteen percent of this year's potato was already in the ground. The condition of the winter wheat crop continued to improve wit 84 percent of the crop rated as good to excellent.

Spring tillage and manure applications proceeded where conditions allowed. Spring tillage was reported as 30 percent complete, 7 days ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the average.

Frosts prompted some concern for budding fruit trees but overwintered crops were reportedly still in good condition.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 1 percent very short, 15 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 1 percent very short, 13 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus.

Some farmers in southern Wisconsin are beginning to plant corn, with 1 percent reported planted.