Drought conditions are intensifying in southern Wisconsin. The weekly Crop Progress Report from the National Ag Statistics Service Wisconsin Field Office has nearly all of the soil moisture conditions in the southern three districts in the short to very short category. The central district has 95 percent short to very short and the east central has 85 percent in the two lowest categories. The three northern districts are in much better shape. Dave Hansen with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture says from Highway 10 to Highway 33 conditions are abnormally dry, from Highway 33-south it is moderate drought. Governor Walker has declared a state of emergency for the southern-half of the state. Temperatures were 11 to 15 degrees above normal last week with highs averaging 92 to 98 degrees.
The corn crop continues to grow now averaging 54 inches up from 40 inches last week and 9 inches above the five-year average. 11 percent of the crop has silked compared to the usual 2 percent by now.
16 percent of the soybeans are blooming, three-points ahead of normal and 14 percent of the oats are harvested, usually the harvest hasn’t started yet. Second-crop hay is 87 percent made, 50 points ahead of average. Five percent of third crop is harvested although in the south yields are poor as growth has stopped, leafhoppers are a problem and the alfalfa is blooming.
Governor Walker has declared a State of Emergency in 42 Wisconsin counties. During a state of emergency, the Department of Natural Resources can expedite requests from farmers to divert water from streams and lakes for irrigation. The DNR must inspect the stream or lake in question within 72 hours of the request, to assure that fish and other aquatic life will not be harmed by the diversion. DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp says her agency is ready to make quick decisions on emergency irrigation requests however; “Water levels in some streams, particularly in southern Wisconsin, may already be too low to support irrigation requests.” The Secretary encourages; ”Water conservation by everyone – farmers, water users, businesses and industry statewide – to extend water supplies, helping protect the environment and other water users.”
Read the full NASS report here: