Much of state under drought conditions
Lack of rain could lead to higher food prices
DE FOREST, Wis. — After weeks without significant rainfall, parts of Wisconsin have slid back into drought conditions.
The latest drought monitor, released September 12, showed most of the southern half of the state is in a moderate drought.
And there is a severe drought ongoing in the western part of Wisconsin.
This means that farmers who expected near-record crops will likely have a below-average harvest this season.
Farmers like Dean Manthe, who are finding parched pastures on much of their land that they say have affected their crops of soybeans, wheat, and corn.
“I would say it’s below average,” said Manthe of Manthe Grain Farms. “It’s a below average year. With no rain and low moisture, the corn actually aborted these kernels on the end here on both of these here. We like to see it nice and full all the way to the end.”
The Manthes farm more than 2,000 acres of crops. They say that ideally crops in this area need about an inch of rain a week.21945600
“With no rain when it went through the pollination stage,” continued Manthe, “the ears didn’t pollinate all the way to the end. And we had some issues with the soy beans.”
Crops aren’t all that is suffering from the dry weather.
“The hayfields here are drying out from no rain,” said Manthe.
“As you can see with the high spots in the field here it’s just burnt up due to no rain,” said Manthe, surveying his land. “As you get further out, you have spots that look how it should look.”
The Manthes said the lack of rain could lead to higher food prices within the next six months.
“The reason is if we don’t get the crop to feed the animals or to take to market obviously our yields are down,” said Manthe. “And there’s not as much out there to make food. It will definitely affect the consumer in the future here.”
For farmers, the most important rain of the season is always the next one.
And that’s what they’re waiting – and helplessly hoping – for.