Wet weather delays crop planting season

Despite postponed seed, record corn yield expected

Published On: May 12 2013 02:45:38 AM CDT   Updated On: May 12 2013 11:14:10 AM CDT
JANESVILLE, Wis. -

The chilly weather felt over southern Wisconsin this Mother’s Day weekend was just another reminder of this year’s late spring.

The weather has also been wet, and the sogginess has knocked farmers off their planting schedule.

What does the wet weather mean to area farmers?

While fifth-generation farmer Doug Rebout said 60 percent of the field corn crop he's raising this year has already been planted by mid-May, crop farmers nationwide are having trouble planting due to the soggy weather.

Only about four percent of corn fields in Wisconsin have been planted. That’s according to the National Agriculture Statistics service.

That's well behind the normal pace of about 26 percent by Mother’s Day.

"There's a short window and you want to get the seed in the ground," said Doug Rebout. "We love rain, you're never going to hear me say, 'I don't want it to rain,' because the time they say that is the time that it does stop and you get the drought you did last year."

Rebout said some of his soil is just too moist for planting. The dampness of the ground could wreak havoc on his equipment and negatively impact the growth of his seeds.

"When you plant it, you want the seed to be in some dry loose soil," said Rebout. "So that way it's got room to germinate and the seeds can start growing and coming out."

With more than 800 animals to feed, Rebout is anxious to get all of his seeds in the ground.

While he probably won't be able to do any more planting until the day after Mother's Day, he's hoping the sunshine lasts long enough for him to get all of the seeds in the ground in another week.

"We are behind what a normal year is, but when we're able to go, we're putting in longer hours," revealed Rebout. "We're still getting it in, in a decent time."

There is some good news on the horizon for farmers: According to the USDA, farmers nationwide are planting the most corn since 1967.

And it's predicted that farmers will produce a billion more bushels than the record set in 2009.