Soggy fields causing problems for some Wisconsin soybean farmers

  • Updated: June 26, 2013 - 12:06 PM

MILWAUKEE — Soggy farm fields have put a damper on Wisconsin's soybean crop.

For some farmers, it's too late in the season to complete their soybean planting or to replant fields that have been flooded by heavy rain. Crop observers say flooding has occurred in Taylor, Crawford, Richland, Columbia, Dane and Green counties.

The wet weather also has made it difficult to harvest hay and other spring crops, said Danny Strupp, owner of Strupp Implement Co., in Slinger.

"It's a darn mess," Strupp said, adding that uncertainty in farm income this year has hurt sales of new tractors and other agricultural equipment, but sales of used equipment, and repairs, remain strong.

"We are swamped with work. We waited all winter for this," Strupp said.

This week's progress report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows about 85 percent of Wisconsin's soybean crop has been planted, compared with 100 percent last year and a five-year average of 99 percent.

Wisconsin farmers grow about 75 million bushels of soybeans a year on 1.6 million acres, according to the Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/121XQ1i). The crop is one of the state's biggest export items with 65 percent of the harvest sent to other countries. Wisconsin ranks 13th in soybean production among U.S. states.

The growing season got off to an especially rough start in some parts of Wisconsin, with 17 inches of snow in Barron County in early May, said Andy Bensend, a soybean farmer and seed sales representative.

About 10 percent of the corn and soybean acreage in his area wasn't planted this year because of the poor weather, Bensend said.

"We never got back on track for a fast and ideal planting season," he said.

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