Farmers salvaging what's left after a savage summer
More Walworth County news
For breaking Walworth County news and hourly updates, visit the Facebook.com page throughout the day.
Corn is chopped for silage recently on the Schutt family farm in the town of Darien. Terry Mayer photo.
You don’t have to have a degree in agriculture to know this summer’s dry, hot weather has been devastating to the region’s farmers, fruit and vegetable growers, nursery operators and landscapers.
“I’m sure just driving around the country, you can see the crops didn’t fare well,” said Peg Reedy, University of Wisconsin-Extension agriculture agent for Walworth County. “Most of the corn is off for silage and it dried down pretty fast.”
(Read all of this week's stories from Walworth County Sunday HERE. )
Doug Rebout, president of the Rock County Farm Bureau, said he’s heard reports of corn yields as low as .8 bushels per acre, less than half the county average of 1.65.
“The corn stalk has been stressed because of no rain, so farmers are going to be harvesting earlier,” Rebout said. “Because if you wait for the corn to dry too much on stalk, the ears will start dropping off, and even the little bit that’s out there, you’ll lose because the stalk can’t support it.”
The end result is corn quality and test weights are down significantly, Rebout said.
“Some places, like the ethanol plants, have certain requirements, so if the corn doesn’t meet their requirements, they may turn the load away or the amount paid may be less than was contracted for,” Rebout said.
The area’s soybean crop has reportedly fared better this summer.
“When the soybeans were producing their pods, and filling out, it was late July, early August, when we were getting some rain,” Rebout said.
Reedy added that soybean fields are inconsistent.
“Our recommendation is going to be to harvest (soybeans) a little bit wetter than we normally would, because there are some fields that are wetter than others,” Reedy said.
Warren Tober Jr. farms more than 70 acres of hay scattered throughout Rock and Walworth counties, and he said his first cutting was May 2, about three weeks earlier than normal. He recently completed his fourth cutting of the season.
For the full story, see the Sept. 16 print or e-edition of Walworth County Sunday.