Spring showers bring wet fields, not flowers

A farmer scurries to do spring tillage between rain showers off of U.S. Highway 14 west of Cross Plains.

Crops in Wisconsin that had been stymied in growth so far this year were helped a lot by hot and humid weather over the Fourth of July holiday week, according to the latest crop progress report released this week.

The report from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week ending July 7 said hot and humid conditions, coupled with plentiful soil moisture, was great news for growers.

“Corn has grown substantially this past week, falling just short of knee high,” an Ashland and Iron counties report said. “The first crop (of hay) is progressing nicely, with good drying weather this past week.”

Scattered storms during the week didn’t help farms that were already wet and soggy, with wetter conditions reported in east and central Wisconsin than in western parts of the state. Many farms noted ongoing difficulty making dry hay and spraying muddy fields.

“It has been difficult to make hay and/or haylage due to the rainy days,” said a report from Dane County, where corn ranged from 7 inches to waist high.

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The report said 4.0 out of 7.0 days were suitable for field work.

“Farmers were finally able to complete cutting their first crop hay,” a Columbia County report said. “Water is still standing in some low-lying areas of fields.”

The crop report said:

  • Corn was 94% emerged, 22 days behind last year. The crop was rated 59% good to excellent, four points higher than the previous week.
  • Soybeans were 96% planted, 20 days behind last year and 22 days behind the five-year average. 89% of soybeans had emerged, 19 days behind last year and the average. The crop was rated 64% good to excellent, up three points from the previous week.
  • Winter wheat was 87% headed, 11 days behind last year and 15 days behind average. 40% of the acreage was coloring, eight days behind last year and 10 days behind average. The crop was rated 55% good to excellent, up a point from the previous week.
  • Oats were 96% emerged. 56% had headed, 11 days behind last year and 12 days behind average. 11% had colored, nine days behind last year and eight days behind average. The crop was rated 71% good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week.
  • Potatoes were 87% good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week.
  • The first cutting of alfalfa was 92% complete, 11 days behind average. The second cutting was 19% complete, 12 days behind last year and 11 days behind average. All hay was rated 42% good to excellent, same as the previous week.
  • Pasture land was rated 63% good to excellent, up a point from the previous week.
  • Topsoil moisture was 98% adequate to surplus and subsoil moisture was 99% adequate to surplus.

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