Harvesting moving along, but sure could use some rain

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Nearly 80 percent of soybeans have bloomed across Wisconsin and 45 percent were setting pods as of July 29.

Another dry, sunny and mild week kept the hay and small grains harvests rolling along across the state. Daytime highs were below normal with cool nights and a round of spotty rains midweek provided much-needed moisture and supported pollination and pod set in corn and soybeans. 

However, some areas, even within the same county, were missed by showers leaving the average topsoil moistures drier than last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition report. 

Despite the lack of rain across the state, topsoil moisture was rated at 75 percent adequate and 21 percent short and subsoil moisture at 80 percent adequate and 16 percent short. 

Burnett, Washburn, Trempealeau and Columbia counties reported spotty rains, with some areas getting an inch and other areas a few miles away getting nothing. Vernon County farms could use some rain, according to the report. 

In Clark County, much-needed rain provided some relief, dropping between a half an inch to more than an inch in some areas. Timely rains in Sheboygan and Ozaukee counties helped "break an abnormally dry period" and helped get through corn silking, the reported noted. 

Over a dozen farms in Portage and Wood counties reported damage from a streak of quarter size hail that went through the west and northwest parts of the counties, inflicting significant damage, the reporter said.

Clark, Price and Taylor counties are getting reports of army worm and mold affecting crops. In La Crosse County, leafhoppers are coming in the alfalfa fields and some farmers are spraying for them. Shawano County reported a lot of velvet leaf in the soybeans this year. 

Harvesting of fresh market potatoes started in Marquette and Waushara counties while much of third crop has has been harvested in Dane County and wheat harvest is progressing rapidly in Columbia County. Small grain harvest should start soon in Burnett and Washburn counties. 

Three-fourths of the state's corn acreage has reached the silking stage, a week ahead of last year. Eight percent of the corn has reached dough stage, three days ahead of last year. 

Nearly 80 percent of soybeans have bloomed across the state, four days ahead of last year and 45 percent were setting pods, three days ahead of last year. 

The second cutting of hay is nearly complete, five days ahead of last year and third cutting is the same as last year at 30 percent complete. 

Winter wheat harvest in the state is five days ahead of last year, reported as 60 percent complete. 

Eighty-seven percent of oats have turned color, according to the report, five days ahead of last year. Oats harvested for grain was reported at 19 percent complete, three days ahead of last year. 

Potato harvest was just beginning at 6 percent complete, a week behind last year. 

All crops were rated between 79 to 83 percent good to excellent.