MADISON - A stretch of warmer weather this week should help crops move closer to the finish line.

While farmers were able to get back out in the fields last week, the cold, damp weather during the month of August has hampered crop maturity, especially spring planted crops.

Dry and cool temperatures dominated the weather forecast last week with overnight temperatures dipping down into the 40s. Widespread frost was reported up in Florence and Forest counties, the week ending Sept. 10.

Rains were light and scattered, allowing wet fields to dry, while the southwest counties reported dry conditions. Dryer conditions allowed farmers to get out into fields with 5.6 days suitable for field work.

"Tractors and wagons filled with hay - both chopped and baled - are going up and down roads," said the LaCrosse County reporter in the "Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition Report". "Haven't seen any beans harvested as yet or corn taken for silage. The cool weather keeps farmers from overworking themselves."

According to the weekly report, 86 percent of Wisconsin's corn has reached the dough stage or beyond, three days behind the five-year average. Less than half of the state's corn crop has reached the dented stage, a week behind average.

In parts of the state including Calumet and Columbia counties, some farmers have begun making corn silage. While the corn crop has been slow to mature, it's condition has remained good to excellent in 70 percent of the fields.

Canning crops including sweet corn, snap beans, potatoes and beets are also being harvested across the state albeit at a slower pace, said the Portage County reporter.

The reporter in Kenosha county in southeast Wisconsin noted that the leaves on vine crops such as melons, pumpkins and cucumbers are dusted with white mold.

White mold is also plaguing soybean plants. The reporter from Burnett and Washburn counties noted that pockets of white mold in soybean fields have caused the plants to die prematurely. 

According to the state report, leaves were turning color on 30 percent of the state's soybean acreage, five days behind the average. There were some reports of soybeans dropping leaves.

Soybean condition was rated 77 percent good to excellent, 2 percentage points above last week.

Haymaking rolled along across most regions of the state, with the third cutting of alfalfa 97 percent complete, nearly a week ahead of the average. The fourth cutting was reported 56 percent complete. All hay condition was rated 83 percent good to excellent.

The weekly 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.

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