Farmers make up for lost time
The influx of warm, dry weather allowed farmers from across the state to make inroads in fieldwork and planting this spring.
According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, farmers had nearly six days for fieldwork before rains moved into the area early Monday morning.
The weather forecast across Wisconsin for the last week of April into May was a mixed bag, with residents experiencing freezing nights and chilly days in northern Wisconsin.
Scattered rains tracked across northern and central Wisconsin midweek but missed southern Wisconsin, where dry soil conditions have slowed crop emergence and pasture growth.
A sunny, windy weekend with temperatures in the 80s provided good conditions for fieldwork to progress. Across the state corn, soybeans, small grains, potatoes and vegetables found their way into the ground while other spread manure and fertilizer.
Spring tillage was reported 72% complete, 6 days ahead of last year and 2 weeks ahead of the average.
Reporters commented that some crops were injured by recent hard freezes; forages were reportedly set back, and budding fruit trees may see reduced production in some areas.
Topsoil moisture condition rated 8% very short, 23% short, 65% adequate and 4% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 5% very short, 21% short, 67% adequate and 7% surplus.
Over 27% of the state's corn crop was reportedly planted, with some reports of emerging corn plants in southern Wisconsin.
Soybeans are reported 16% planted, 2 days ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of the average. The oats crop is 12 days ahead of the average, with 68% of this year's crop already in the ground. Thirty three percent of oats are emerged, a week ahead of last year.
Potato growers reported that 59% of the crop was planted, just a day ahead of last year. Winter wheat condition was rated 86% good to excellent statewide, up 1 percentage point from last week.
Spring tillage was reported 72% complete, 6 days ahead of last year and 14 days ahead of the average. Pasture conditions was rated 61% good to excellent, 1 percentage point below last week.