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Note: State and county level data are from the latest (2007) census. The next census will be in 2012.

Wisconsin Crop Weather Report

Issued May 22 for Week Ending May 21, 2017

Usual Planting and Harvesting Dates

The Wisconsin Crop Weather Report is updated weekly by the Wisconsin Agricultural Statistical Service.

Vol. 17, No. 8

Severe Weather Stalls Planting

There were 2.6 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending May 21, 2017, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork was slowed this week as heavy rain and severe thunderstorms lashed the state. Northern Wisconsin was the hardest hit by this wave of bad weather, with reporters noting up to 12 inches of rainfall for the week. Farms in Barron and Rusk Counties were struck by a tornado on Tuesday evening. Flooding, large hail and strong winds also damaged fields, trees and farm buildings around the state. Cold temperatures and standing water had farmers in many areas concerned for recently planted fields. Several reporters commented that the first crop of alfalfa was approaching an ideal maturity for cutting, but soils were too wet to support machinery. Warm, dry weather is needed to drain saturated fields.

Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 56 percent adequate and 44 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 35 percent surplus.

Wisconsin Crop Conditions
Item V-Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent
All Hay 2 7 20 52 19
Oats 0 1 28 58 13
Pasture & Range 0 2 17 60 21
Winter Wheat 3 6 24 50 17
Source: USDA, NASS, Wisconsin Field Office.

As of May 21, spring tillage was 81 percent complete statewide, 11 days behind last year but 1 day ahead of the five-year average.

Corn planting was 65 percent complete, 10 days behind last year, and 3 days behind the average. Corn emerged was at 21 percent, 5 days behind last year and 2 days behind the average.

Twenty-nine percent of the states's expected soybean acres have been planted, 8 days behind last year, and 4 days behind the average. Three percent of the state's soybeans have emerged.

Oats planting was reported as 88 percent complete, 8 days behind last year, but 1 day ahead of the average. Oats emerged was at 61 percent, 7 days behind last year and 2 days behind the average.

Ninety-three percent of the potato crop was planted, slightly behind last year.

Pasture condition remained at 81 percent good to excellent.

Winter wheat was 67 percent in good to excellent condition statewide, compared to 71 percent good to excellent last week.

The first cutting of alfalfa was reported as 5 percent complete. Hay alfalfa freeze damage was rated 5 percent severe, 10 percent moderate, and 26 percent light as of May 21. Fifty-nine percent of the state's alfalfa was reported undamaged. All hay condition was reported 71 percent good to excellent.

Wisconsin Crop Progress
Crop and percent
of acreage
District Average State Average
Alfalfa Hay, First Cutting 1 1 1 4 2 1 14 5 2 5 1 23 15
Corn Planted 75 68 62 71 64 56 64 63 62 65 48 89 72
Corn Emerged 15 16 15 25 20 11 25 28 18 21 3 38 32
Oats Planted 94 80 89 93 83 77 91 99 94 88 81 97 87
Oats Emerged 63 41 55 64 59 44 78 86 57 61 42 78 66
Potatoes Planted 86 90 89 97 94 n.a. 98 95 n.a. 93 89 94 n.a.
Soybeans Planted 30 28 35 29 27 32 17 34 28 29 15 61 43
Spring Tillage 80 82 82 84 79 76 84 81 87 81 71 96 80
n.a. = not available

Selected Quotes from Farm Reporters and County Ag Agents
All comments are used in creating this report, but only a few are published below.

BARRON-T.J.: A tornado struck Barron & Rusk counties on Tuesday, May 16 causing major damage to agricultural structures and destroying others. Later in the week this area received about 5 inches of rain bringing all field work to a halt. Soils are currently saturated and this will lead to a delay in the start of first cutting alfalfa. More rain is in the forecast.

POLK-A.M.: Very early in the week there were two days of beautiful weather. Significant rainfall received during the week that delayed field work. In some areas of the county received 4 to 5 inches of rain in a short amount of time causing flash flooding. Tennis ball sized hail was received in the southern part of the county causing some damage to farm structures, equipment and livestock.

CLARK-R.H.: Over 3 inches of rain has stopped all field work. No severe weather locally. Some lower ends of fields are under water and this morning the temperatures are hovering near freezing. We will need a period of dry weather to get rolling. For hay, PEAQ stick readings already at 200 RFV on the south end of the county; the north end of county is in the 230-250 RFV range. Need some warm dry weather to wrap up planting crops for 2017.

FLORENCE/FOREST-T.B.: Rain and cold. 3 to 5 inches of rainfall with falling temperatures starting Tuesday. Fields had standing water in any low spots. Cloudy and cold conditions slowed drying so field work came to a halt.

EAU CLAIRE-J.M.: Very wet week. Severe thunderstorms halted field work. Frost advisories issued.

PIERCE/ST CROIX-R.F.: Reports of 7 plus inches of rain in some areas during the past week. Adequate field waterways and buffers really paid off for those who practice and maintain good conservation systems, including no-till planting. Some early hay cut a week ago is still laying in wet windrows. You can now "row" lots of corn that was planted prior to last week's rains.

PORTAGE/WOOD-J.B.: It literally rained every day last week, nothing moved. We have gotten 5 inches of rain in the last week.

WAUPACA/OUTAGAMIE-D.L.H.: Fieldwork has come to a halt due to recent rainy weather. Early planted corn that has emerged is yellow due to cool weather and wet soil conditions. Severe thunderstorms ripped through central Waupaca and eastern Outagamie counties Wednesday evening downing some trees. Farmers are anxious to complete spring planting and get going on the alfalfa.

KEWAUNEE-T.S.: After having great weather the previous week to get field work done, this past week the cold and rainy weather returned, further delaying the spring planting season. There are quite a few fields that even now haven't been tilled yet, and many others that have but are still fallow. Warmer temperatures this week, and hopefully less rain, will once again get tractors rolling. However, the first crop alfalfa is growing to the point where it may start to be harvested by next weekend. It is possible that all the crops may not be planted before the first crop is made. The corn that has been planted has not emerged yet, but the oats and new seedings have. The cooler temperatures have been ideal for the growth of these two crops, and that is also why the first crop is growing as it is. The alfalfa damage is becoming clearer now. The winterkill was rather extensive, but where the alfalfa survived, it looks okay. Some fields in the right location are actually looking very good. More than a few producers were planting extra alfalfa seed this spring to help make up for the fields that were lost to winter kill. Not much if any soybeans have been planted so far. By the end of this coming week, weather permitting, a lot more of the corn and beans will be put into the ground.

DANE-F.P.: Some parts of fields are too wet to plant. The alfalfa that was planted this spring is growing quite well. Fruit trees are in bloom as well as lilacs bushes.

DODGE-R.H.: Need sun and dry weather as hay is close to being ready to cut.

WAUKESHA-K.T.: A lot still not done planting, worried about cutoff date.

Wisconsin Weekly Weather, Selected Cities
Ending as of 7:00 am on May 21, 2017

City Temperature Growing degree days
(modified base 50) 1/
Avg max Avg min High max Low min Avg Avg
dep from normal*
Mar 1 to May 20 Mar 1 to May 20
Last week Since
Mar 1
Mar 1
dep from normal*
To Date
dep from normal*
Eau Claire 68 48 83 38 58 +0 345 312 3.31 10.05 +3.12 14.12 +5.35
Green Bay 68 47 82 37 57 +1 311 260 1.10 8.66 +2.43 12.01 +3.56
La Crosse 71 56 86 44 64 +4 481 365 1.16 8.94 +1.43 12.79 +3.11
Madison 71 49 85 40 60 +3 388 358 1.24 10.25 +2.66 14.95 +4.78
Milwaukee 68 49 87 41 58 +2 331 n.a. 1.33 11.58 +3.25 15.59 +3.69

T = Trace. n.a. = not available.
1/Formula used: GDD = (Daily Maximum (86°) + Daily Minimum (50°)) / 2 - 50° where 86° is used if the maximum exceeds 86° and 50° is used if the minimum falls below 50°. Explanation.
*Normal based on 1971-2000 data.
Data from the NCEP/NOAA Climate Prediction Center
For more weather data, please reference the following sites: http://www.noaa.gov/ http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~sco/ http://www.cocorahs.org/ http://www.weather.gov/

This report has been made possible through the cooperative efforts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and the National Weather Service.

For climate normals and growing season data for a specific Wisconsin county, first go to our Wisconsin County Home Page, then select your county, then click on the Climate Table link in the left margin for that county.

Current Crop Report with Graphics at USDA

Wisconsin Agricultural Statistical Service

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