Good weather, good yields

Carole Curtis


Farmers across Wisconsin are enjoying and anticipating good to very good yields of crops.

Crops were growing well and maturing quickly across Wisconsin last week, spurred on by this summer's prevailing weather pattern of high humidity and above normal temperatures.

"Growing conditions have been excellent. Crops are definitely ahead of normal," the Dodge County reporter said in the "Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition Report" for the week ending Aug. 14.

Farmers across the state are enjoying and anticipating good to very good yields this season.

Haying and harvest activities were going well for the second full week of August until rain interrupted farmers' efforts and cropped the days suitable for fieldwork down to 4.9.

Heavy downpours and standing water were evident in fields across the northern half of the state, while southeastern Wisconsin had crops stressed by dry conditions.

"It was another week with a deluge rainfall that halted all field work. Most of the area got too much rain too fast," the Barron County reporter said in the report created with input from farm reporters and county ag agents across the state.

Shawano County farmers were happy with an excellent third crop of alfalfa and a nice shot of rain that kept their crops looking very good.

In La Crosse County, on-again/off-again rain made it difficult to get hay in. "This last week, the rain was spotty. It was 0.2 inches in one area and, three miles down the road, two inches from the same cloud," the reporter said.

Corn in the area looks good and very tall where ponding does not affect it, he added.

Corn and soybeans, too, were doing very well in Crawford County and pastures are holding up pretty well, but the weather wasn't cooperating for dry hay.

On the other hand, some sections of Walworth County are in severe drought. "Some farmers are thinking they will start to chop corn, as it is drying up," the local reporter shared. "Other areas have been getting just enough rain and crops are looking good."

Sheboygan County was also contending with a dry weather pattern and Ozaukee County was parched. "We could use some moisture in the area," that reporter said. "Crops are beginning to show signs of stress."

A mere 0.25 inches of rain dampened Fond du Lac County over the week, but crops were no worse for the wear. "Corn ear fill is complete and fourth crop alfalfa is well on its way to maturation," the reporter cheered, although he noted the area could probably use another inch of rain to maximize soybean pod fill.

By week's end, the state's topsoil moisture supplies came to 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus, compared to the previous week's 0 percent very short, 8 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 1 percent very short, 8 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.

Reporters described good yields for hay, small grains and processing vegetables, including snap beans in Portage County.  Vegetables were also  doing very well in Crawford County, although the wet weather was having an effect on harvesting, and some apple orchards would be open for business shortly.

The week closed with 78 percent of the third cutting of alfalfa and 12 percent of fourth cutting off the field, compared to the five-year averages of 61 percent for third cutting and 4 percent for fourth cutting.

The report marked the condition of all hay up a point to 91 percent good to excellent and the condition of pastures down a point to 76 percent good to excellent.

The small grains harvest kept its pace. By week's end, 74 percent of oats intended for grain were harvested, 2 days ahead of last year and 5 days ahead of the average, and 95 percent of winter wheat was off the field, besting last year's mark of 91 percent.

Wisconsin growers had also pulled 11 percent  of potatoes, 14 days behind last year. The condition of the crop held at 91 percent good to excellent.

As of August 14th, 97 percent of the state’s corn acreage was in or beyond the silking stage. Fifty-one percent of corn had reached the dough stage, 2 days ahead of last year, and 6 days ahead of the five-year average. Seven percent of corn was dented, 3 days ahead of last year, and 4 days ahead of the average.

The report gave the crop a condition score of 88 percent good to excellent.

In the state's soybean fields, 99 percent of plants were at or beyond the blooming stage and 90 percent were setting pods, putting this year 9 days ahead of last year and 12 days ahead of average. Two percent of soybeans had begun turning color.

The condition of the crop was pegged at 87 percent good to excellent.

The weekly “Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition Report” is a cooperative effort of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the National Weather Service.