Corn revs up with fine weather

Carole Curtis
Now Media Group


Summer-like weather strolled across Wisconsin last week, bringing temperatures in the 80s and 90s. The heat topped off wet weather that hampered hay making to set the stage for top-notch growing conditions.

'Showers and spotty rains have made making dry hay tough. The same conditions have made corn grow well,' the Adams County reporter said in the 'Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition Report' for the week ending June 12.

La Crosse got 1.12 inches of rain and topped 95 degrees, while Eau Claire, Green Bay and Milwaukee heated up to 91 degrees.

Statewide, corn and beans were developing well in response to the heat and moisture, the report said. As of June 12, 96 percent of this year's corn crop was above ground, two weeks ahead of the five-year average and even with last year. The crop earned a condition rating of 85 percent good to excellent.

Even in St. Croix County, where early corn that froze was thin in some spots, recovery was ongoing.

'Corn and soybeans got a good start with the rain and then hot weather last week,' the Price County reporter added.

Soybean emergence was running 10 days ahead of average with 88 percent emerged by Sunday and a condition rating of 83 percent good to excellent.

The first full week of June was pocked with thunderstorms that curtailed the days suitable for fieldwork to 4.7 and brought highly variable rainfall totals with isolated hail, high winds and heavy downpours.

Storms roared through Portage and Wood counties, leaving trees down and many with power outages up to six hours long.

Rock County reported rainfall totaling under 0.2 inches to over 3 inches, as dry conditions in Walworth County were eased with strong storms that dumped between 0.5 and 3 inches of rain.

Kewaunee County reported very little wind or hail and rain totals between 1- 1.5 inches. 'This is helping the crops flourish, especially the corn and soybeans,' that reporter said.

Corn was stretching out with some stalks nearly a foot tall. Bean leaves are getting bigger, although their height is still somewhat short, and just about all the wheat is headed out.

'The fields in this area are looking great,' he observed. 'So far, the weather conditions have been ideal for all the growing crops with just enough rain and enough warmth. If these conditions continue, there should be impressive yields for just about everything.'

Dryer sections of state were able to make good progress with chemical applications and baling dry hay.

In Chippewa County, the days without rain allowed many farmers apply herbicide and fertilizer on corn and soybeans, as well as harvest first crop alfalfa.

In Price and Taylor counties, first crop hay was being harvested for forage. 'Not much for dry hay at this point, but corn and soybeans got off to a good start with the rain and, then, hot weather last week,' that reporter said.

By week's end, state farmers had taken 84 percent of first cutting alfalfa and were getting started on second. The condition of the hayfields was rated 83 percent good to excellent, while pasture condition rose four percentage points to 76 percent good to excellent.

'First crop yields have been good and the recent rain is getting second crop off to a good start, ' the reporter for Marinette/Oconto counties commented.

However, hay quality in La Crosse County had dropped with the sporadic rains. 'While quality is poor, quantity is very good,' the reporter relayed. 'At this point, there are many fields of cut hay that have not been bailed or chopped. It is just lying there, getting browner by the day.'

Farmers in Rock County, working on second crop, were hauling in light tonnage due to the lack of rain.

In St. Croix County, where alfalfa that was cut early was nearly ready to cut again, most of the spring planting was done, except for small places left for manure.

As spring planting wound down statewide, small grains were heading out. Oats were tracking four days ahead of average with 27 percent headed, while winter wheat was running 12 days ahead of last year with 82 percent headed. Three percent of the wheat was coloring.

Noting some rust was showing up in organic wheat in Rock County, the report rated 86 percent of oats and 88 percent of winter wheat in good or excellent condition.

'Good growing season so far,' the Iowa County reporter noted.

The weekly 'Wisconsin Crop Progress & Condition Report' is a cooperative effort of the U.S. Department