Weather a challenge for growing crops, making dry hay

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
There is no residue after harvesting corn, making it a great place to use cover crops to help control erosion.

Rain and cool temperatures seems to be a repeating theme this planting season. As showers rolled through some part of the state nearly every day last week, farmers had just over four days suitable for field work as they rushed to try and finish spring planting. 

Overcast skies and below normal temperatures were not ideal for crop development or making dry hay, but with forage supplies running low, many producers were cutting first crop for haylage instead of waiting for better weather, according to the US Department of Agriculture Wisconsin Crop Progress and Condition report for the week ending June 16. 

Farm reporters noted that most of the corn and soybeans that were going to be planted this year are already in the ground and prevented plantings were reported in many areas. 

Such was the case in Shawano and Columbia counties where many farmers decided to go with prevent planting on acres not yet planted. In Outagamie and Waupaca counties, many producers have abandoned planting corn or soybeans on heavy soils due to prolonged wet conditions. 

Producers in Sheboygan County are still hoping to get additional seed in the ground, but more forecasted rain might change those plans. 

There was a lot of progress with planting corn, soybeans and oats in Portage and Wood counties until 2.5 inches of rain fell late in the week and stalled activity. 

In Sawyer County many areas needed to get replanted due to flooding or wet conditions. 

"Focus now turns to planting alternative forages to replace lost acres from winter injury," the Sawyer Counter reporter noted. 

With corn planting 87% complete, more than two weeks behind last year, dairies and livestock producers may continue seeding late corn for silage or switch to alternate forage crops. Soybeans are more than two weeks behind last year also with 77% planted as of last week. 

Corn was reported at 66% emerged and soybeans at 47% emerged, both more than two weeks behind last year. Corn and soybeans are growing very well in Barron County, but fields planted into terminated hay stands face perennial weed competition, according to the reporter. 

Alfalfa cutting was reported as 60% complete, nine days behind last year, however, all hay condition was at 37% in good to excellent condition with 25% rated as poor and 12% rated very poor. 

Carol Spaeth-Bauer at 262-875-9490 or Follow her on Twitter at cspaethbauer or Facebook at