November fields a great start

Carole Curtis

MADISON — The calendar flipped to November with an excellent week of harvest-worthy weather.

Wisconsin farmers push toward the finish line as harvests of corn and soybeans roll with the good weather.

Skies were clear and sunny, temperatures ran above normal and rain stayed fairly clear of the state, giving farmers 5.7 days of suitable weather to rip through their remaining corn and soybean fields.

"It was a great week for grain harvest. Most farmers were able to run combines every day," the Columbia County reporter shared in the "Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition Report" for the week ending Nov. 6.

In Vernon County, grass and alfalfa continued to grow as farmers pulled off soybeans and corn, chopped and baled corn stalks and enjoyed the weather. "It was a beautiful fall week with temperatures 10-20 degrees above normal," that reporter observed.

"It was very warm weather for the first week of November," the Florence County reporter agreed.

In St. Croix County, cattle were still dining on green pasture.

The ideal weather allowed farmers in Sawyer County to stay out in the fields, pushing their corn and soybeans harvest close to the finish line. "There are still some wet spots to contend with, but all in all, an excellent week for fall activities," the reporter said.

The week's much-needed stretch of fair weather allowed combines in Fond du Lac County to return to the fields on Tuesday and put a big dent in the corn harvest.

As of Nov. 6, 68 percent of the state’s corn for grain had been harvested, two days behind last year, but one day ahead of the five- year average.

The report marked the average moisture of corn harvested for grain during the week at 18 percent, 1 percentage point lower than the previous week.

The state's harvest of soybeans was wrapping up. By week's end, 93 percent of soybeans off the field, seven days behind last year, but equal to the five-year average.

There were a few hiccups. In some fields, high grain moistures delayed the harvest. Some farmers were working around wet spots, while others reported very dry pods leading to shatter loss during combining.

In Columbia County, farmers were still waiting for water to drain away on a small number of low-lying fields, although most of the area's beans were in the bin.

The nice weather allowed field operations to proceed smoothly in Barron County, but progress was slow. "There's lots of shatter loss when combining beans as pods are dry and brittle, and the corn harvest is slow due to high grain volumes," the reporter shared.

The state's planting of winter wheat was also nearing completion with 95 percent of the crop in the ground by Sunday. Emergence was pegged at 83 percent, three days shy of last year's mark. The crop earned a rating of 78 percent good to excellent, three percentage points below the previous week.

As of Nov. 6, average topsoil moisture supplies were rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 23 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 77 percent adequate and 21 percent surplus.

Clark County was among those hampered by over-abundant moisture. "It was another week when showers caused some harvest delays," the reporter said. Corn was coming off area fields, but overcast, damp weather was delaying the soybean harvest.

In Washington County, rain and heavy dew were keeping soybean moistures high.

Statewide, cover crop planting, manure spreading and fall tillage proceeded as fields were cleared. The week ended with tillage at the half-way mark, eight days behind last  year and one day behind average.

In Barron County, fall tillage was going well and manure hauling operations were chugging along, although lots of mud was being dragged onto roads.

Farmers in Juneau County enjoyed an excellent end to the week, allowing most to make terrific progress in the fields. The corn harvest really took off, the reporter said,  and soybeans were finishing up with yields, for the most part, running very good.

"Fall tillage is also moving forward very well," he added. "Things are really looking good."

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.