Planting catches up after a late start

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Rows of cut alfalfa wait for harvesting in Waukesha County. First cutting of alfalfa is reported as 43 percent complete in Wisconsin according to the USDA NASS Wisconsin Crops Progress and Condition report.

Despite a slow, late start, producers caught up with planting last week as spring tillage hit 95 percent completion, two days ahead of last year and four days ahead of the five-year average.

Last week's favorable mix of heat and precipitation boosted fieldwork and crop development, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service(NASS) Wisconsin Crops Progress and Condition report. 

With daytime highs reaching the 90s early in the week, emergence was the "talk of the community," in Shawano County, "as everything is popping out of the ground very fast and uniform, even in the low spots," the farm reporter said. "This is especially important with the late start we had to getting seeds in the ground this year."

Cooler weather later in the week delivered widespread rain showers and thunderstorms, which was much needed in northern Wisconsin where soils have been dry, the NASS reported stated.

Burnett and Washburn counties saw abundant rain to help corn and soybeans, which were "looking good despite the late start and dry soils," the farm reported said. "Low moisture the first three-fourths of May has hayfields short, thin and low in yield."

Cooler temperatures and some rain "put the crops into OK condition for now," in Rusk County, according to the report. "Dry weather doesn't seem to have hurt corn  emergence, but soybeans came up uneven and don't look quite as good. First crop hay is ongoing with good quality but reduced yields."

Farmers were switching their focus to hay cutting and weed control as they wrapped up planting. 

Chippewa and Eau Claire counties reported "very good" first crop hay harvest yields, however "quality suffered as some fields have been harvested past prime due to steady rain," said the farm reporter. 

The sunshine and warm temps early in the week allowed many farmers in Calumet County to complete their spring planting, getting a boost from showers later in the week.

"Plenty of sunshine in the forecast should help corps continue to grow nicely," the Calumet farm reporter said.

In Green County, "all crop conditions are great," came the report, and first crop hay is more than 50 percent harvested, with second crop growing well after the rain. 

Most of the first crop hay is down in Rock County and in Walworth County dairy producers are "still wanting to put some corn in after taking first crop off," the report stated. 

Spring tillage was 95 percent complete in Wisconsin as of June 3, two days ahead of last year and four days ahead of the five-year average.

The warm temperatures and rain have also provided "abundant mosquitoes," in Portage County, with deer, horse flies and wood ticks present. 

The farm reporter from Rusk County summed up the week well, "In one week we went from highs around 95 to highs in the 50s, welcome to Wisconsin."

Planting progress

Corn - 89 percent complete, same as last year, one day behind the average. Corn emerged was at 75 percent, four days ahead of last year, two days ahead of the average. Corn condition — 95 percent good to excellent. 

Soybeans - 79 percent of state's expected soybeans have been planted, three days ahead of average. Soybeans emerged was at 51 percent, five days ahead of last year, two days ahead of the average. Soybean condition — 89 percent good to excellent. 

Oats - 94 percent complete, two days behind last year, three days behind the average. Oats emerged was at 84 percent, two days behind last year and the average. Oat condition — 94 percent good to excellent. 

Potato - planting 88 percent complete, 20 days behind last year. 

Winter wheat - 17 percent headed, five days behind last year. Winter wheat condition — 84 percent good to excellent, three percentage points above last week.

Alfalfa - First cutting reported as 43 percent complete, one day behind last year, but one day ahead of the average. Hay condition — 83 percent in good to excellent condition, two points above last week. 

Pasture condition was rated 84 percent in good to excellent condition, compared to 77 percent in good to excellent condition last week, according to the Crops Progress and Conditions report.