First freeze hits northern Wisconsin; drier weather needed to improve field conditions

October 2, 2018

The first hard freeze of fall hit northern Wisconsin last week, bringing the growing season to a halt up north, but the main concern of farmers is the need for dry weather.

The crop progress report for the week ending Sept. 30 said drizzle, overcast skies and chilly temperatures prevented wet fields from drying, hampering the fall harvest.

“Northern Wisconsin experienced a hard freeze, with a non-killing frost reported in central Wisconsin,” the report from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service said.

“Waiting for soybeans to dry a bit and we need good weather to start combining,” a Burnett/Washburn County report said.

“Temperatures dropped below normal late in the past week,” an Outagamie/Waupaca County report said. “Harvest progress slowed down with the rainy weather.”

Corn silage harvest was the main field activity in much of the state, while southern Wisconsin growers were starting to switch over to corn for grain and soybeans.

The corn crop was rated at 72 percent good to excellent, with 96 percent dented and 73 percent mature. Corn harvested for grain was 10 percent complete, at a 25 percent moisture content. Corn for silage was 79 percent harvested.

Leaves were turning color on 95 percent of the soybean crop, with 80 percent dropping leaves. The harvest was 13 percent complete, and the crop was rated 74 percent good to excellent.

Potatoes were 63 percent harvested, while 46 percent of winter wheat was planted, half of it emerged.

The fourth cutting of alfalfa was 84 percent complete, pasture was rated 65 percent good to excellent and fall tillage was 10 percent complete.

“Rain has stopped harvest again, and more is in the forecast for the rest of the coming week,” a Walworth County report said.

Soil moisture was not a problem.

Topsoil moisture was 98 percent adequate to surplus and subsoil moisture was 97 percent adequate to surplus.

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