‘We can’t do anything about it’: spring weather puts farmers behind on planting
MADISON, Wis. — This spring has been cool and wet, making it hard for farmers to get into their fields and plant the crops they and their animals depend on.
“This planting season has been one for the books,” said dairy farmer Cory Brown, but he said he’s trying to stay optimistic. “The only thing keeping our stress in check is that we can’t do anything about it,” he said.
Although Brown has all his alfalfa and soybeans planted, he said he only has about 60 out of 400 acres of the farm’s corn planted. Brown is not alone in having less than 10% of his corn in the ground.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as of May 19, Wisconsin farmers had 35% of their corn and 12% of their soybean crop planted. That put corn planting 11 days behind the average and soybeans 10 days behind.
Agronomist Joe Lauer said that if the conditions are right, Wisconsin farmers can collectively plant 1.5 million acres of corn in a single week — about a third of the state’s crop. But every passing day of not getting corn into the ground subtracts from yields and, ultimately, the bottom line.
“Every day that’s delayed, you’re losing about a bushel and a half to 2 bushels as we get towards the end of May, he said. “So everything’s just compounding a bit.”
The losses will add up when yields are typically around 175 bushels an acre and corn prices usually range between $3 and $4 per bushel.
“As more and more of these dates go by, the potential for any kind of profitable or economical yield goes quickly by, as well,” Lauer said.
It doesn’t look as if many Wisconsin farmers will be getting out into the fields this week, but Brown is hoping for nice weather in the very near future, so he can get the rest of his corn in the ground.
“It’ll get in the ground when it gets in the ground,” Brown said. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.”
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