Wisconsin had 4.2 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending Nov. 17, 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The previous week’s unseasonable cold continued into the beginning of this past week with overnight lows in the single digits and daytime highs at less than freezing. Snow and sleet midweek marked a transition to milder temperatures and rain for this past weekend. Reporters in many parts of the state noted the ground was now frozen, facilitating access to wet fields. But a few reporters in southern and eastern Wisconsin said the frost depth was insufficient to support machinery and some locations had enough snow on the ground to interfere with harvesting.
Grain moistures remained unfavorably high due to the cold and wet conditions. The corn silage and soybean harvests were struggling to finish, while corn for grain was increasing its pace. Some farmers were taking crops as quickly as possible, while others were delaying work to save on drying costs. Tillage and manure incorporation had largely halted.
Topsoil-moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 68 percent adequate and 32 percent surplus. Subsoil-moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 30 percent surplus.
Ninety-three percent of corn was reported mature. Harvest of corn for grain was 44 percent complete, 21 days behind this past year and 18 days behind the five-year average. Corn condition was 65 percent good to excellent, 2 percentage points less than this past week. Corn for silage harvest was 95 percent complete. The moisture content of corn harvested for grain was reported at 24 percent.
Soybean harvest was 77 percent complete, 14 days behind this past year and 20 days behind the average.
Winter wheat was 84 percent planted. Sixty percent of winter wheat had emerged, 24 days behind this past year and 25 days behind the average.
The fourth cutting of alfalfa hay was 92 percent complete.
Fall tillage was reported as 36 percent complete, 14 days behind this past year and 21 days behind the average.