Farmers experience a challenging crop season from rain - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Farmers experience a challenging crop season from rain

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The weather has not been on Wisconsin farmers' good side.

"The lack of sunshine that we've had these last weeks is really holding things back," said James Juedes, owner of Juedes farm. "I mean we really need some good old fashioned sunshine. And there's no substitute for that."

Recent storms in southern Wisconsin have caused damage to corn crops. The U.S.D.A. reports 21 percent of the state's corn crop is in fair or poor condition.

"I have friends that live in southern Wisconsin, and with this weather it's been pretty hard on them," said Juedes. "At least we get rain, but it's really going to set back the corn and the soybeans."

Central Wisconsin has been struggling, too.

"The last decent day that we had would be two weeks ago on Saturday, and everything has just been at a stand still," said Juedes. "The weather has been humid."

When one looks at the different soil types in Wisconsin, Wausau and the Madison area share a more clay-based soil; but Stevens Point has a more porous soil, that lets the water seep through. That's why rain damage is so much heavier on places like Wausau and Madison."

Experts say increased water intensity decreases soil oxygen levels. Like humans, plants need to breathe.

"It's not only the corn and the beans that are affected by this, it's also the hay production crop that's in affect," said Heather Schlesser, the Marathon County UW-Extension Dairy Agent. "Because right now a lot of farmers are cutting first crop, the rain comes and it affects the drying out of the hay."

"There's a lot of hay standing all over the countryside, and just waiting for some decent weather to get it in. The longer it goes, the maturity gets higher in it, and the feed value goes down," said Juedes.

So what does this mean for the crops later in the season?

"You know if we do have a lot of drownouts like that, you're going to see the price of corn and soybeans go up, and that's going to lead to higher food prices, because a lot of things that we eat are from the corn, soybeans, and the wheat that are grown," said Juedes. "We're still reliant on mother nature, and you gotta work when you can."

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