Snow impacts spring planting for farmers

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The winter weather is causing problems for local farmers. A delayed start to this springs planting season could occur due to heavy snow.

The soil temperatures dropped as low as 13 degrees due to the lack of snow earlier this year. Officials say that anything below 15 degrees could result in a winter kill of the alfalfa crop, one of the crops most farmers are worried about. The snow this February has provided insulation, bringing the soil temperatures up to the mid-twenties. However, the amount of snow could be the cause of other issues.

"As we look into what could happen this spring. If we look at this as a rapid snow melt erosion is always a big thing, the manure runoff. These are the kind of issues that we are hoping that are minimized,” said Jerry Clark, Ag Agent with UW-Extension.

These potential problems could cause entire fields to be replanted. At the very least it will delay when farmers are able to plant, creating the potential for a shorter season.

Agriculture agents at UW-Extension say that the first cut of alfalfa will determine the rest of the harvest.