« Agriculture

Not Much Progress In Those Fields

by Mike Austin

There wasn't much to glean out of the initial weekly crop and weather update from both the National and the Wisconsin Ag Statistic Service. Aside from a slow start to the maple syrup season and a some producers hauling of manure...most fields remain too wet and too cold for much activity. And now with another three inches of snow falling in Northeastern and Central Wisconsin farmers will need to continue to be patient before hitting the fields for 2014.

There is some good news however...despite the harsh cold winter..the Outagamie County Forage Council at their spring field day did have several crop consultants on hand who showed samples of both winter wheat and alfalfa that looked pretty good. On the whole it looks like the slow snow melt and gradual warming trend helped most of the crop overwinter, although Ag Agents are encouraging growers to walk their fields and check the crowns of their older stands. Some growers are a bit concerned about when they will be able to pull the trigger on first crop alfalfa. Right now that looks like it could be delayed...not the best news for those producers who are already purchasing feed. Even with stronger milk prices...these additional purchases are cutting into margins.

On the national scene...corn is being planted down South..but even there the pace is a bit behind the norm. And the big news is the winter wheat crop which has dropped in quality quite a bit since last September. The most recent USDA report has nearly a third of the crop rated poor to very poor.