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Crop Progress Lags in Wisconsin

Farmers Take Advantage of Breaks in the Rain to Get Into Fields.

Doug Rebout, who farms 4,000 acres just outside of Janesville, Wisconsin, can’t remember a year as unusual as this one.

As with most farmers in the Midwest this year, his planting plan has been dictated by the weather.

“We've had a few short little spells here and there where we've been able to get out and get our stuff done. And so of our corn, we planted about 2,500 acres. We’re about 90% to 95% done with that.”

“And then we plant about 1,300 acres of soybeans and we’re about 75% done with that.”

Challenged by Wet Weather

Even now, Rebout is trying to put up first-crop hay in the windows of opportunity between rainfall.

“Some of these areas are going to take a week to dry out. So some areas we still won't be able to get into. Hopefully, we'll get into a few of them.”

To help avoid compaction, Rebout is converting to tracks on equipment and will do the same to grain carts in the fall. The farm is mostly minimally tilled, especially the cornfields, which are all strip-till. “Some of the places we haul manure we have to work up. But we're even getting to the point where we're working that up less and less every year and trying to help reduce the compaction from just going across fields fewer times.”

Rainfall in the State

In the last week, counties in southeast Wisconsin have had rain totals nearing 3"; in central and west-central Wisconsin, counties have had up to 1½".

The sporadic rain across the state has allowed some farmers to complete their planting, while others haven’t had the chance to put seed in the ground at all.

Planting Progress

According to the USDA Crop Progress Report ending June 3, corn planting in Wisconsin was only 58% complete, 13 days behind last year and 17 days behind the average.

Corn has emerged at only 28%, which is 12 days behind last year and 13 days behind the average.

The report also states that 34% of soybeans are planted, which is 13 days behind last year and 15 days behind the average. Just 9% of soybeans have emerged, 13 days behind both last year and the average.

Already on Rebout’s mind (and many other farmers’ minds) is the next issue: weed control. “We’re going out and trying to get the spraying done in a timely manner. We hope it’s on long enough before the next rain comes. We want to make sure the weeds don't take over the field. The weather is something we cannot control, so we're trying to keep our spirits up. We can get a little frustrated, but we try not to get depressed and just keep going. Like I said, when we get those chances, we take advantage of them.”

For Wisconsin, the USDA rates topsoil moisture supplies at:

  • 0% very short
  • 0% short
  • 54% adequate
  • 46% surplus

USDA-Rated Subsoil Moisture Supplies:

  • 0% very short
  • 0% short
  • 55% adequate
  • 45% surplus

Additional Crop Progress

In addition to the status of corn and soybean planting and emergence, the USDA Crop Progress Report of June 2 identifies the following:

  • As of June 2, spring tillage is 76% complete statewide, 11 days behind last year and 14 days behind the five-year average. 
  • Winter wheat is 7% headed, four days behind last year and eight days behind the average.  
  • Winter wheat condition is 48% good to excellent, two percentage points above last week. 
  • Oats are 79% planted, 10 days behind last year and 15 days behind the average; 56% of oats have emerged, eight days behind last year and 14 days behind the average. Oat condition is 65% good to excellent.
  • Potato planting is 94% complete, seven days ahead of last year but one day behind the average.  
  • All hay condition is 38% in good to excellent condition, up two percentage points from the previous week.
  • Pasture condition is rated 55% in good to excellent condition, up 3% from the previous week.
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