Fri July 6, 2012
Southern Wisconsin farmers face crop losses
Farmers in much of southern Wisconsin are facing drought conditions that could devastate their corn crop unless they get rain in the next two weeks. The state Department of Agriculture is gearing up to provide assistance if the drought continues.
Mike Powers is the agricultural development administrator for the state. He says the crops most at risk are below a line running from La Crosse in the west to Sheboygan in the east: “Some of those locations, the last time they saw precipitation was the end of May. Soil temperatures are rising, soil moisture levels are dropping, and many of the plants that we’re seeing in those areas and the reports that we are hearing are that some of the crops are reaching the wilting point.”
Powers says his staff at the Farm Center have begun to take calls on the toll free hotline from farmers who are beginning to look for alternative sources for feed for their livestock in case the current feed crops fail. “Right now farmers are in the wait and see mode: our phones are ringing slowly and steadily. We expect, though, that if this dry spell continues and we don't see rain in the south and southwest, that very significant decisions are going to have to be made by many of the farmers.”
The state Farm Center hotline offers referrals to livestock feed assistance programs as well as individual financial analysis planning for farmers who may lose substantial portions of their crops. Powers says the next ten days are crucial for many farmers; if it doesn't rain, he expects the hotline number to be ringing twice an hour instead of the current two or three calls a day.
The Farm Center hotline is 1-800 942-2474.