Spring arrives, finally!

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer

A week of sunny, dry and breezy conditions allowed farmers to take to the fields.  From little to no movement out in the field, in just a matter of days, 15 percent of spring tillage was complete, up 13 percent from the week before, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition Report for the week ending on April 29.

With warmer spring temperatures finally arriving, field work is beginning and this farmer near Eau Claire is one of the first to start chisel plowing.

Temperatures were near normal, with daytime highs reaching the 60s and 70s in many areas. Most of the state’s snow cover had melted off by the weekend, even in areas
where the snow pack had been thick.

The reporter in Chippewa County noted that most snow has melted except north facing slopes along wooded areas.

"Solid manure applications and some fertilizer applications are beginning to occur. However, road bans are limiting progress of liquid manure and fertilizer applications," tje reporter noted.

Reporters in some areas noted that fields were too wet to support machinery while, in others on the western side of the state fared better. "Considerable amounts of manure hauling, spring tillage and some planting have already begun," said the reporter in Buffalo and Pepin counties. "Warm temperatures and wind have dried the soils quickly after the snow melt."

Farmers in northeast Wisconsin who found themselves digging out from under piles of snow dumped by a late spring snowstorm on April 14-15, found progress a bit slower.

"Farmers are anxious and looking forward to getting fieldwork started," said the reporter in Calumet county, noting that there are still several areas of standing water due to the snow from Blizzard Evelyn melting. "However, things are greening up quite nicely."

Soil temperatures remained unfavorably low for corn planting, except in the southern portions of the state. Manure hauling continued statewide with oats planting and spring tillage taking off.

Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 2 percent very short, 8 percent short, 76 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 2 percent very short, 8 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

As of April 29, spring tillage was 15 percent complete statewide, up 13 percentage points from last week, but 11 points behind the 5 year average.

Corn planting was 3 percent complete, 2 days behind last year and 5 days behind the 5 year average. One percent of the state’s expected soybean acres have been planted.

Oats planted were reported as 16 percent complete, 9 days behind last year and 8 days behind the 5 year average. Oats emerged was at 3 percent, 10 days behind last year and 5 days behind the 5 year average.

Winter wheat was 57 percent in good to excellent condition statewide, up 6 percentage points from last week.

"The winter wheat has really greened up this past week," said the reporter from Manitowoc County who reported that sodden fields still prevented farmers from getting a start on fieldwork.