Farmers playing catch-up after rainy summer season

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- A rainy summer season means crops are still playing catch-up into the fall harvest.

“Our biggest challenge at this point, because we haven’t had that hard killing freeze that usually helps dry down the last of the moisture in the crop, is that we do have some corn that's still too wet to haul in for dry grain,” says Kevin Jarek, Outagamie County’s UW-Extension.

That extra moisture is creating inconsistent crop yields.

Experts say the difference in yields doesn’t just vary from farm to farm, but between fields within the same farm. It’s a pattern seen across all of Northeast Wisconsin.

“The difference is pretty obvious, as far as we've got three to four times the yield difference in one ear compared to the other,” says Jarek. “If you multiply this by the 90 thousand acres of corn just in Outagamie County, and several hundred of thousand acres of corn here in Northeast Wisconsin, I think this say a lot about the challenges farmers are facing.”

The challenge is deciding between two less-than-ideal options.

“It would be advisable for farmers to start considering the tradeoff between leaving the crop in the field for too long, and having the wind and weather take the ears down,” Jarek says.

That, or harvesting crops now, spending much of their budget on drying out those ears.

A silver lining – experts say this season wasn’t as damaging as once expected.

“Compared to how we started the year, I think that we're ending on a little more positive note than most had thought,” Jarek says.