MADISON, Wis. - A long winter has turned into a late spring, and that's not good news for planting.
Farmers and gardeners are looking for a stretch of good weather in order to plant flowers, vegetables and cash crops.
Scott Stoddard, the nursery manager at Jung's Garden Center in Fitchburg, said it is the latest start to a growing season he's seen in almost a decade. The store has delayed deliveries of many annuals because of the cold and is storing those they have gotten in a greenhouse. Luckily, the cold isn't freezing out business.
"Sales are way up from last year, I think as a result of the long, cold, dreary winter," Stoddard said. "People are very excited to get working in their yards."
Farmer Mitch Breunig, of Mystic Valley Dairy Farm in Roxbury, said he got oats and alfalfa in this week but is waiting on warm and dry weather to put in corn.
"It seems like when the calendar turns to April 20, everybody gets nervous about planting corn," Breunig said. 'You know it's OK to start then, but the optimal date to plant corn is the last three to four days in April until about May 7."
UW Extension experts said if farmers are planting after that date, they could see their total corn yields drop slightly in the fall. If they can't plant by mid-May, it would be more dire. But Breunig said their Roxbury ground has seen everything from winterkill to drought, and his plan is the one farmers have been relying on for centuries.
"It's not an emergency at this point," Breunig said. "We just sort of need to be patient and let Mother Nature do her thing."
Breunig said he got a new 12-row planter that will help him get planting done in half the time it took before, but it will still take a few days to get his 500 acres of corn planted.
As for the forecast, seven-day projections show more cool and rainy weather.
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