Drought conditions affect fall harvest

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:20 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - Dry weather conditions are persisting in Western Wisconsin and across the state with moderate to severe droughts active in the area. As these conditions persist, farmers are now harvesting their crops.

Currently, farmers are harvesting corn used to feed their livestock, also known as corn silage.

“It’s definitely not a bumper crop that we’re dealing with but we’ve avoided the disaster that we maybe thought we were going to look at back in June,” Clark said. “But, I wouldn’t be surprised if the average yield is maybe just a little bit below some of the historical norms.”

Near Osseo, Steve Strey, the owner of Strey Farms said his corn is not where he would like it to be at this time. He said there are a few things he looks for before harvesting.

“I knew we were going to hurt on yield in June already,” Strey said. “It’s been dry so long that the grain itself didn’t mature because the plant couldn’t take up enough moisture set and fill that grain.”

Dry conditions are not new. Clark said around a decade ago, there were similar weather patterns.

“Back in 2012, we were right on the northern end of that more statewide drought at that point,” Clark said.

“2012 was really bad too,” Strey said. “We were really short on rain back then.”

With the current drought conditions affecting these crops, Strey said it will also affect the price received for the corn.

“I think it’s going to be a really poor, poor quality,” Strey said. “So, we’ll get docked on that too. Not only do you haul less weight to time and get paid for less, but you get a deduction because the quality is poor as well.”

As for next year, Strey said there’s some concern about what the weather pattern will be in the future.

“That’s all I ever ask for, can we just have a normal year?” Strey said. “What I’m truly scared of, I think we’re into a different pattern.”