Despite rain, planting progresses in Wisconsin

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Farmers perform fieldwork Tuesday in Waupaca.

With rainy days and soaking thunderstorms dropping 3 inches of rain across the southern part of the state, wet conditions kept many tractors out of the field last week.

Sheboygan and Ozaukee County reported very wet conditions with planting stalled. "With more rain in the forecast, it looks like it will be at least 10 days before planting could resume." 

In La Crosse County, wet weather interfered with field work allowing short bouts of planting on a limited basis. 

Last year's corn stalks jut up from a rain-soaked field Tuesday in Malone. According to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition Report on May 14, there were 3.2 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending May 13. A second week of very wet conditions kept many tractors out of the fields in southern Wisconsin.

While conditions were drier in the northern portions of the state, farmers were still tilling around wet spots in some areas, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Several rain storms rolled through Barron County during the week, but avoided the heavy precipitation in the southern part of Wisconsin, allowing lots of progress in the field with new hay, oats, barley, corn, soybeans and potatoes being planted in the area. 

Producers took advantage of any break in the weather, working overtime to plant corn, soybeans, small grains, potatoes and vegetables. Manure pits were being emptied as conditions allowed. Pastures and overwintered crops responded to the abundant moisture and seasonal temperatures by growing rapidly. 

Green County farmers covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time, but rains kept them from fields in the last half of the week. 

In Waupaca and Outagamie counties, spring work and planting were going "full tilt with the arrival of more favorable weather," according to the NASS report. 

With a little over three days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending May 13, spring tillage was 47 percent complete statewide, five days behind the five-year average. 

Planting progress

  • Corn - 30 percent complete, three days behind last year, six days behind the average. Corn emerged at 8 percent, even with the average.
  • Soybean - 13 percent of state's expected acres have been planted, the same as last year, but tow day behind the average. Two percent of state's soybeans have emerged.
  • Oats - 43 percent complete, 10 days behind average.
  • Potato - 33 percent complete, 11 days behind last year. 
  • Winter wheat - 77 percent complete in excellent to good condition statewide, up 4 percentage points from last week. 
  • Hay - 78 percent in good to excellent condition.
  • Pasture - 65 percent in good to excellent condition, compared to 48 percent last week.