Rain slows field work again as crops dry down quickly

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Four tractors work in concert to pack this feed pile on a Sheboygan County farm.

The last week of summer delivered more rain to farmers across the state, slowing harvesting again before cooler more autumn-like weather moved in.

Some areas received heavy rains fell last week, muddying fields and in some places causing standing water where the ground was already saturated, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition report.

Fall fieldwork was in full swing despite reports of continued issues with disease and flood damage in southern Wisconsin, particularly with corn fields. Crops were reported to be drying down rapidly. 

Five inches of rain in Barron County stopped fieldwork, allowing only chopping corn in some fields, according to the report. Wet conditions throughout Bayfield and Douglas counties slowed fieldwork with only corn harvesting progressing slowly.

Many fields harvested for corn in Shawano County now have ruts in them. In Lafayette County, diseased corn stalks are very weak and are causing harvest problems in the area, according to the reporter. Corn is dry where being harvested and test weights are a little low to normal in most areas, depending on when disease pathogens entered the plant. 

Corn silage is nearing completion in Dane County. Corn grain field moisture ranges from 20 to 30 percent in fields, the Dane reporter said. 

Soybean combining was beginning across the state and the fourth cutting of hay was ongoing. A few beans were harvested in Marquette and Waushara counties before more rain came last week, "then everything has been sitting," the reported stated and it was "back to standing water in low spots."

Producers in Adams and Juneau counties were having a hard time making dry hay because "it was so wet and humid the hay wouldn't dry down so it could be baled," the reporter said. Producers also commented on how short the supply was in their area. 

Three inches or more of rain in Adams and Juneau counties made "field conditions extremely difficult for harvesting equipment to get into the fields," the reporter added. "A lot of soybeans were knocked down from the rain so harvest is difficult in some places making mold and disease a concern."

The Sheboygan and Ozaukee County reporter noted, "another decent week weather-wise. Turned much cooler than we are used to: 60s to highs of lower 70s.

Roadside stands are overflowing with pumpkins, squash and mums as a feeling of fall can be sensed in the air some days. Winter wheat planting and manure hauling were underway on cleared fields across the state as well. 

Corn, soybean and potato conditions were rated 73, 76 and 78 percent good to excellent respectively.  

Ninety-one percent of corn was dented, 11 days ahead of last year, according to the report and 55 percent was mature, 14 days ahead of last year. Corn harvested for grain was 4 percent complete with corn for silage 60 percent harvested, 10 days ahead of last year. 

For soybeans, leaves were turning color on 90 percent of soybeans across the state, six days ahead of last year. Sixty-four percent were reported dropping leaves, six days ahead of last year. Soybean harvest was 5 percent complete.

At 50 percent complete, potato harvest is four days behind last year. 

The fourth cutting of alfalfa was five days behind last year at 77 percent complete.