Good week propels harvests forward

Carole Curtis


Wisconsin farmers finally got a good week of advantageous weather to chug through their harvests of soybeans and corn.

As fall colors hit a glorious peak, the warm and sunny week Wisconsin farmers have been hoping for arrived, bringing a good 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork.

"Farmers are happily combining corn and soybeans into all hours of the night," the La Crosse reporter shared in the "Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition Report" for the week ending Oct. 23.

"A few sunny days in a row makes a big difference in completion of work in the fields. The mill is busy and trucks are lined up to unload," he added in the report prepared with input from farm reporters and county ag agents across the state.

The third full week of October featured clear weather and temperatures riding well above normal. Milwaukee maxed out at 80 degrees, while Madison topped 79 and Eau Claire, Green Bay and La Crosse all enjoyed 77 degree temperatures.

Growers made rapid progress harvesting their soybeans and corn, with good yields tallied in many areas.

To the north, work was delayed by rains early in the week, but farmers were able to pick up the pace by the weekend. For the week, Milwaukee and Eau Claire reported over an inch of rain.

The week ended with both topsoil and subsoil moisture supplies rated 78 percent adequate and 20 percent surplus. There were scattered reports of mold issues and some farmers had to work around wet spots.

As of Oct. 23, 98 percent of corn for silage was off the field and 38 percent of the state’s corn for grain had been harvested, two days behind last year and slightly behind the five-year average.  The average moisture of corn harvested for grain this week was 20 percent, 1 percentage point lower than last week.

The report rated corn condition at 86 percent good to excellent.

In Chippewa County, corn yields were running between 140-180 bushels per acre. The corn was very dry for how wet the ground is, the local reporter noted.

Soybeans were making 45-60 bushels per acre and were also very dry. "There were some wet spots, too wet to harvest, but generally good harvest progress being made," he said, noting a small price rebound has helped area farmers have a more positive outlook on things.

In Marinette and Oconto counties, the corn silage harvest was pretty much a wrap and beans were coming off fast with very good yields.

Sheboygan County farmers were enjoying corn and bean yields high enough to break local production records, while Vernon County reported very good corn yields with average test weights and average soybean yields. "ARC/PLC payments hit the banks, so lots of very happy producers," that reporter noted.

In La Crosse County, where cornstalks were being chopped and baled for bedding, soybean moisture ranged from 12-15 percent.

Walworth County reported good corn yields with moisture in the teens and soybean yields between 50-75 bushels per acre, while the soybeans and corn harvest in Price and Taylor counties was going well with above average yields.

St. Croix farmers had finished off most of their soybeans. "Nice weather for working," that reporter commented.

The harvest was just getting underway in Adams, Marquette and Waushara counties. Although conditions have been dry in the region, growers were waiting for the crops to drop more in moisture.

In Wood County, fields were starting to shape up and growers were taking the beans off fast, marking good yields in the process.

By Oct. 23, 71 percent of the state's soybeans were in the bin, five days behind last year and two days behind the average, and the potato harvest neared completion with 98 percent of spuds lifted by Sunday.

Winter wheat planting, fall tillage, and manure spreading continued as fields were cleared.

By week's end, 83 percent of winter wheat was in the ground, putting this year seven days behind last year, with 60 percent of the crop emerged, two days behind last year.  The wheat was rated 85 percent good to excellent.

Farmers in Price and Taylor counties were harvesting late season hay, with fields drying up enough to get fodder off.

In Chippewa County, where pastures were still green and growing some, some hay was chopped for fourth and fifth cut with good yields reported. Statewide, the condition of pastures was pegged at 71 percent good to excellent as fall tillage hit 32 percent complete, up nine percentage points from the previous week.

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.