Farmers enjoy second week of great weather

Carole Curtis

Madison — Thanksgiving came early as Wisconsin farmers plowed through a second week of excellent harvest weather.

Farmers work to bring the harvest in.

"It was a nearly perfect week of weather that moved fall harvest and field work along nicely," the Trempealeau County reporter said in the "Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition Report" for the week ending Nov. 13.

The sunny week provided 6.5 days perfect for fieldwork, accelerating the harvests and pushing soybeans near the finish line. The only thing hampering harvest activities was inadequate grain storage capacity, with above average yields filling elevators and silos in many areas.

"Most harvest is done.  Any left is waiting for storage location space to open up", the Burnett County reporter said in the document created with input from farm reporters and county ag agents around the state.

Clear skies matched farmers' desires with the report's five major weather stations marking precipitation between 0.0 to 0.1 inches for the stretch. Temperatures rode above average, though overnight lows did finally drop below freezing in southern Wisconsin.

The latest first frost ever recorded in La Crosse occurred on Nov. 9, the report said, beating the previous record of Nov. 7, 1900. November 9 was also the second latest frost ever recorded in Madison, while Nov. 12 tied for fifth latest frost in Milwaukee.

In Chippewa County, farmers were harvesting corn for grain and baling the stalks for bedding, as well as digging into fall tillage and spreading manure.

Statewide, the soybean harvest was wrapping up, with 97 percent of the crop harvested by week's end, slightly ahead of the five-year average.

In Waupaca County, producers enjoyed a perfect week for fall harvest. "The soybeans are done and the corn harvest is going full tilt in anticipation for the upcoming gun deer hunt," the reporter said, noting very good yields for the 2016 corn crop.

The corn harvest continued with good yields in Marinette and Oconto counties, while Portage County reported soybean and corn yields coming in above average for that area.

The week ended with 83 percent of the state’s corn for grain off the fields, slightly behind last year and four days ahead of the five-year year average.

The average moisture of corn harvested for grain was 18 percent, unchanged from the previous week.

Some producers in Walworth County were wrapping up the harvest, with others close to being done. Test weight and moisture has been consistently excellent, the reporter said, with yields ranging from excellent to poor, depending on rainfall.

Fall tillage and manure spreading continued as fall plantings flourished. The week ended with 65 percent of tillage completed, four days behind last  year, but one day ahead of average.

Ninety-eight percent of winter wheat was planted and 90 percent had emerged, five days behind last year. The crop was rated 81 percent good to excellent, 3 percentage points above the previous week.

This fall's warmth and abundant soil moisture have allowed fall plantings to become well established, the report noted, and in some areas has enabled late hay cuttings.

In Dane County, where a hard frost hit during the week, most of trees have lost their leaves. "It is starting to feel like fall," the reporter noted.

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.