Field Silo & Equipment



Wisconsin Ag News Headlines
DATCP Looks Back at 2020 Crop Year
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 12/22/2020

Each December, the Wisconsin Ag Statistics Service issues a final crop report highlighting the trends of the past growing season. This week, the agency noted that 2020 was an adaqute year for planting and harvesting, as the the growing season starting off with above normal temperatures and low snow cover in March, which allowed farmers to harvest crops left in fields at the end of the very slow 2019 harvest season. Topsoil moisture was rated 38% surplus on April 5, 2020 compared to 45% surplus on April 7, 2019.

Below normal precipitation in April lowered soil moistures quickly, allowing planting to start in line with the 5-year average and accelerate. Spring fieldwork progressed ahead of the 5-year average through May and was three to four weeks ahead of planting compared to 2019. Crop emergence, however, was slowed by below normal temperatures, progressing only slightly ahead of the average. Overwintered crops were slow to break dormancy though reporters noted this may have spared crops from damage due to late frosts. Temperatures and precipitation were both above normal in June and July. Dry, sunny periods alternated with soaking rains, supporting crop growth while allowing plenty of days suitable for fieldwork. Short soil moisture conditions in August and September facilitated haying and small grains harvest but stressed crops in some areas.

Topsoil moistures were 43% short to very short on August 23, the driest rating of the season. Below normal temperatures during September pushed crops toward maturity. Northern Wisconsin saw the first frost of the year during the week ending September 13 while the rest of the state had a first frost during the week ending October 4. Conditions in October and November swung between clear, warm spells and cold but brief storm systems. Fieldwork was interrupted by snow and heavy rain in some areas but resumed quickly in most cases.

There were lots of days suitable for fieldwork between these precipitation events, allowing harvest to progress ahead of average. Warm, sunny days with adequate soil moisture left fall plantings and perennial crops in good shape to overwinter. Little to no frozen soil allowed fall tillage and manure spreading to continue through the end of the month. Fall tillage was 84% complete on November 29, compared to 43% complete the previous year and a 5-year average of 73%. Many farmers were able to complete fall fieldwork and store their equipment before the end of November. Overall, this season was excellent for crop progress and condition, especially in contrast to the extremely delayed progress of 2019.

The average temperature for June through September was 66.1 degrees, compared to 65.6 degrees in 2019 and a normal of 64.9degrees. April, May and September had below normal temperatures while June, July and August had above normal temperatures. March was 3.8 degrees above normal. October was 5.3 degrees below normal and November was 5.6 degrees above normal.

The statewide precipitation total for April through September was 23.34 inches, compared to 29.09 inches the previous year and a normal of 22.43 inches. April, August and September had below normal precipitation while May, June and July had above normal precipitation. July precipitation was 1.53 inches above normal. All other months this growing season had departures from normal of less than one inch.

CORN: Many fields of cornwere left standing over the winter due to very wet and snowy conditions in fall 2019. Low snow cover during March allowed most of these acres to be harvested, however, so spring fieldwork could begin on time. Corn planting reached 98% complete on June 14, 4 days ahead of the 5-year average and 19 days ahead of 2019. Corn progress remained slightly ahead of average and weeks ahead of the previous year throughout the season. Corn condition averaged 80% good to excellent for the season, compared to 62% good to excellent in 2019. Dry conditions in some areas during August and early September led farmers to start chopping silage about a week earlier than the 5-year average. The silage harvest progressed rapidly as a cold and dry September caused corn to mature quickly. Silage chopping reached 96% complete on October 11, three weeks ahead of the 5-year average. The grain harvest started right in line with the 5-year average during the week ending September 20 but then raced ahead of average thanks to ideal harvest conditions in October and November. Corn harvested for grain was 95% complete on November 29, compared to 63% the previous year and a 5-year average of 85%.

SOYBEANS: There were a few reports of soybeansleft standing over the winter due to very wet conditions in the fall of 2019. As with corn, these acres were harvested during March and early April and did not delay other fieldwork. Plenty of days suitable for fieldwork in April allowed soybean planting to begin about a week ahead of the 5-year average. Soybeans development maintained a one to two week lead over the average throughout the summer and early fall. Soybeans condition averaged 82% good to excellent for the season, compared to 66% the previous year. Harvesting began in line with the 5-year average during the week ending September 20 and progressed quickly as frosty nights pushed soybeans to maturity. On November 8, 96% of soybeans were harvested, more than 4 weeks ahead of the previous year and 20 days ahead of the average

OATS: Oats planting tracked just ahead of the 5-year average in April, finishing up in early June. Below normal temperatures in April and May slowed emergence but not enough to cause crop development to fall behind average. Warm weather and abundant soil moisture in June and July caused oat maturity to progress ahead of average. Oats condition averaged 81% good to excellent, compared to 70% the previous year. Dry weather in August allowed the harvest to progress quickly. Oats harvested was 97% complete on September 6, well over a month ahead of 2019 and 2 weeks ahead of the average

WINTER WHEAT: Below normal temperatures in April and late frosts in May meant winter wheat was slow to green up this year. Wheat conditions then ramped up with more favorable weather in June. Overall condition averaged 72% good to excellent for the spring and summer, compared to 51% the previous year. Winter wheat development and harvest trended close to the 5-year average, with harvest reaching 98% complete on August 23. The early start and rapid progress of the corn silage and soybean harvests allowed winter wheat planting to trend well ahead of average also. Winter Wheat planting reached 97% complete on November 1, compared to 73% the previous year and a 5-year average of 89%. Above normal fall temperatures gave wheat plantings plenty of time to establish themselves before winter. Condition averaged 82% good to excellent from mid-October through the end of November.

POTATOES: Potato planting progressed ahead of average in April but fell behind average by the latter part of May. Potato condition averaged 93% good to excellent for the season, compared to 82% in 2019.Harvest activities were slightly ahead of the 5-year average throughout the fall. The harvest was 99% complete on October 25, well ahead of the previous year.

HAY: Hay was slow to break dormancy due to below normal temperatures in April and May. As of June 14, winter freeze damage to alfalfawas rated 2% severe, 5% moderate and 34% light. There was reportedly no damage to the remaining 59% of alfalfa, 19 percentage points more than the previous year.Reporters noted hay stands’ extended dormancy may have helped reduce damage from late frosts.This extended dormancy also delayed hay harvest. The first cutting was only 11% harvested on May 31, well below the 5-year average of 32%. Nearly 40% of the first cutting was harvested in the next week, however, and first cutting hay was completed about a week ahead of average. This pattern of a delayed start, rapid progress and early finish persisted across every hay cutting this season. Farmers were able to bale and store plenty of dry hay this year thanks to ideal haying conditions in late summer and abundant days suitable for fieldwork. Hay condition averaged 71% good to excellent compared to 49% good to excellent in 2019. Above normal temperatures and adequate soil moisture in October and November bulked up hay stands for the winter.


Other Wisconsin Headlines
Ag-Bag
Sheah Auguers/SD Ellenbecker
Copyright © 2021 - Farms.com. All Rights Reserved.