Despite recent rains, is it enough for crops to recover?

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Finishing up first crop hay in east central Wisconsin.

Despite receiving much needed precipitation last week, it's still too early to tell how crops and pastures will recover from the long spell of hot, dry weather.

According to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition report, Wisconsin farmers had nearly six suitable days for fieldwork for the week ending June 20, 2021.

For the second week, temperatures were well above normal, as dry conditions continued for most of the week. The state received significant rainfall Thursday through Sunday, with amounts varying widely across the Badger state. Officials concur that more rain is needed to replenish soil moistures.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 19% very short, 34% short, 46% adequate and just 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 19% very short, 30% short, 49% adequate and 2% surplus.

Over 98% of the state's corn crop was reported as emerged, with the corn condition rated 69% good to excellent, down 2% from the week before.

Soybeans were also reported as 97% emerged and 2% of the plants in bloom. Soybean condition was rated at 62% good to excellent, down 3% from the week before.

Oat fields across the state were reported as being 60% headed, a week ahead of last year and 9 days ahead of the five-year average. Six percent of the oat crops were coloring. The oat condition remained at 74% good to excellent. 

Ninety-three percent of the winter wheat crop was reported as headed, 12 days ahead of last year and the five-year average. Just 44% of the crop was turning color. The wheat crop was reported as 81% good to excellent condition. 

Due to wide open windows of dry weather, the first crop of alfalfa hay was reported to be 97% complete. Already 11% of the second crop was underway, nine days ahead of last year, with most progress seen in south central and southeastern Wisconsin. All hay condition was reported as just 59% good to excellent, down 4 percentage points from last year. 

Pasture conditions were rated 61% good to excellent.