‘Local farmers have never seen it this bad,’ wet weather leads to historically late planting season

‘Local farmers have never seen it this bad,’ wet weather leads to historically late planting season

Wet weather has saturated farm fields and prompted the latest planting season on record. About a third of the nation’s corn acres are currently unplanted and southern Wisconsin is no exception to the trend.

“Local farmers have never seen it this bad, even farmers who have farmed their whole lives,” said Nick Baker, an outreach specialist for the UW Extension. “We’ve never seen a spring this tough.”

Today is the last day for farmers to take the prevent plant option for corn, and July 10 is the deadline for soybeans. If farmers were unable to plant their crop, they can take the prevent plant option and be paid a reduced price to not plant. Many local farmers are taking the option because their fields were too wet to plant at the proper time.

Baker said, at this time of the year, corn is nearly shoulder high and soybeans are about knee high. However, soybeans at one Evansville farm are just a few inches out of the ground.

“Most farmers understand they’re weather dependent. You can’t control the weather. Hopefully next year will be better, and hopefully, we will make the best out of what we have right now,” Baker said.

For the first time ever, the federal government changed harvest requirements for cover crops. Now farmers can harvest September 1 rather than Nov. 1, meaning they can plant now and get stronger yields.

“You can make silage out of it, which is feed for animals. So instead of bailing it and grazing it, you can actually chop it. So that opens up a lot of opportunities for using these cover crops,” Baker said. ” Nov. 1 is so late after a frost we really wouldn’t get any quality feed out of it so changing these dates is huge for farmers.”

Baker said he’s optimistic that the hot and sunny weather in the forecast will help the growing season.

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