Warm, dry weather speeds up crop maturity

Colleen Kottke

MADISON - Farmers across the entire state of Wisconsin were grateful for an uninterrupted week of warm, dry weather.

As Midwestern farmers prepare to harvest this year’s soybean crop, they are being met with a welcome surprise: rising prices.

While farmers and ranchers living in the southern states contended with wet conditions due to hurricane season, their Wisconsin counterparts were busy making the most of the dry weather.

Temperatures well above normal with daytime highs in the upper 80s helped to push corn and soybeans toward maturity and created a wide open window for harvesting the last crop of hay.

According to the "Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition Report", 93 percent of Wisconsin's corn has reached the dough stage or beyond, just shy of the five year average. Around 67 percent of the state's crop has reached the dented stage with only 10 percent was reported reaching maturity—11 days behind average.

Corn harvested for silage was just 15 percent complete, 9 days behind average. Up in Clark county, the reporter observed that despite some fields showing rapid changes in color as the grain matures and dries, corn silage harvest is still a couple weeks away.

"We did see some corn silage harvested but very limited as moistures are near 80 percent from the reports I've seen," the reporter said.

Reporters from Chippewa, Marquette, Waushara and Dane counties noted that the corn silage harvest is underway.

Soybean fields began turning gold over the past week with leaves turning on 61 percent of the state's soybean acreage—a week behind average.

"Soybeans are turning yellow and beginning to drop leaves on many fields," said the Marquette/Waushara counties reporter. Down on the southern border of the state in Walworth county, the warm weather has seemingly changed the landscape of the county overnight.

"Both soybean and corn are changing colors rapidly," the reporter said.

Although farmers in the northern two-thirds of the state appreciated a break from rain, the lack of rain in the southern third of the state have produced unfavorably dry conditions.

"Crops on sandy soils are really shutting down due to the dry weather," said the Monroe county reporter.

While the oat harvest is winding down with 98 percent of the acres harvested, the yields have been less than stellar in some areas of the state, including Clark county.

"Most of the oats have been harvested with below average yields and light test weights, which seems to be a common theme," the reporter said.

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.