Forecasted rain may be too little, too late for some area crops

By: Matt Hoffman Email
By: Matt Hoffman Email

Courtesy: Michael Nelson

Following such a hot, dry summer -- the wetter, cooler start to August is a welcome sight for area crops and farmers. But does the rain come too little, too late for Chippewa Valley corn and soybean crops?

On Ken Custer’s farm...when it comes to corn...some looks really good but some looks very, very bad. "30% of my stuff did not get beneficial rain in the end of July enough to keep it moving along." Custer believes for that 30% of his corn crop he'll see a yield half of what it could be.
"Within a couple miles of each other there have been some really hard lines that have been drawn this year as far as where the moisture has come and where it has not. Our farm is on a dividing line," says Custer.

"What's really driving most of it is soil type. If you have very sandy soils water flows through those soils relatively quickly," explains Jerry Clark with UW Extension. Heavier soils can cope better with the dry weather. However because the corn pollination window is long gone, any additional rain won’t help much.

"The corn is pretty well made...when I say that its potential is pretty well made. The rains will help to fill out the ears that are still alive and filling."
For soybeans...they will need rain this month to get the best yields. "They’ve been hanging on wonderfully this summer. They appear to be pretty healthy going into this time period. Beans are made in august so we got that month ahead of us essentially that we're looking forward to some beneficial rains," says Custer.

"We should see some good returns on farms just because prices are high," says Clark.

"I’m getting more for what I have because another farmer like myself is suffering and that's the unfortunate thing. That's business," says Custer.
Custer says while the area is fortunate, the high prices just show him how much trouble the country's supply is in. "Our normality of our weather seems to be gone."

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