MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin farmers are adjusting to growing crops in wet and cold conditions after last year’s weather challenges, crop specialists said.

The weather last spring delayed crop growth and harvesting, Wisconsin Public Radio reported recently. It also led to a record number of unused acres by federal crop insurance deadlines.

Kevin Jarek is the agricultural agent for University of Wisconsin-Extension in Outagamie County. He said some farmers are worried about another late planting season this year because the National Weather Service has reported precipitation numbers that are above average.

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“The concern is going to be that we know planting date has a huge effect on yield,” Jarek said. “So everybody’s nervous.”

Many farmers are relying on seed varieties with a shorter growing season to prepare for the upcoming growing season, Jarek said.

“Some of them are going to be looking to harvest these really early hybrids by Labor Day because they know that they are going to be out of forage (for livestock feed),” Jarek said.

Farmers are also preparing for potential crop diseases.

Damon Smith, field crops plant pathologist at UW-Madison, noted that new disease trends have developed over the last couple of years.

“We’re just treading water in the growing season, and so we’re seeing some shifts in terms of how folks are going to manage the crop,” Smith said. “We’ve had three consistent years of white mold in soybeans, and so we’re seeing people entertaining (the idea of) adjusting planting populations and row with spacing and actually making agronomic decisions now to try to reduce the potential for that disease.”

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