Ag Chat with Bob Bosold - September 4

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- Net farm income is expected jump almost 5% this year to $88 billion-but that's still below the historical average of $90 billion. New figures from the USDA's Economic Research Service indicate livestock and livestock product receipts will be up by almost a billion dollars but crop receipts will be down by over $3 billion. But the main reason the numbers will be bigger for 2019 is because of the 19 and a half billion dollars farmers will get in direct farm payments.

Richard Hurd / CC BY 2.0 / MGN

Crops around the country are progressing toward harvest but slowly at best. This week's Crop Progress Report shows the corn crop rating is just 58% good to excellent, the lowest such rating since 2013 and 10% poorer than last year at this time. As of this past Sunday, 41% of the corn had dented-well behind last year's pace of 73% dented by now and 19% behind the 5 year average. States where the crop is lagging the furthest behind normal-Michigan, Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Wisconsin. Soybeans, like corn, has the lowest good to excellent rating since 2013 at just 55%. Missouri, Illinois and Ohio currently have the poorest looking soybeans.

In Wisconsin the corn crop is rated 66% good to excellent this week-and that's actually up 5% from last week. But the crop is still way behind normal with 92% of the plants silking, 61% dented and just 18% dented. Soybeans are also up 5% this week in the ratings as 70% of the crop is being called good to excellent. But, like corn, the beans are behind with 92% of the plants blooming, 81% setting pods and 5% turning color. State farmers have also made 78% of their third hay crop, 19% of 4th crop, Harvested 98% of their winter wheat, 73% of the oats and 19% of their fall potatoes.

Some members of the state legislature have introduced 3 bills designed to help farmers across the state. One idea is to add a couple more positions to the state Extension Service while a second would pay off college debts for full time farmers. The third plan would encourage state farmers to plant and produce a more diverse line-up of crops and products. Democrats in the state Assembly are hoping to get Republican support for those ideas.