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Early snow adds additional stress during an already difficult harvest

BLANCHARDVILLE (WKOW) — For farmers, two early snowfalls are piling onto the stress of an already difficult harvest season.

According to the latest crop progress report, only 13 percent of the state’s corn has been harvested for grain and just 46 percent of soybeans. Last year, those numbers were at 44 and 57 percent respectively.

On Dan Truttman’s dairy farm, he still has 200 acres to go.

“Stress levels are getting pretty high,” he said.

He said he depends on custom farmers to take care of his fields, but with farmers across the region an average of three weeks behind, he said his corn and soybeans have been waiting for weeks.

Now with a fresh three inches of snow in his fields, Truttman said he’s expecting more delays.

“We’ve never seen them this snowy on Halloween,” he said. “It’s just something nobody needs this time of year.”

He said that’s especially true this year because the snow is just another way for moisture to impact his crop, after an already wet year.

“This time in a form we’re not ready for for at least another month,” he said.

A wet spring meant planting got off to a late start, a rainy summer meant crops were slow to dry out and now, Truttman said a wet fall is delaying harvest even further.

“We need dry conditions for the combines to work,” he said.

It has a greater impact on soybeans. Truttman said this latest batch of snow stops soybean harvesting in its tracks until it all melts away.

While farmers wait for the soybeans to dry out, Truttman said they can get to work on corn, but after spending so much time in wet fields, that comes with its own challenges.

“Because of all this moisture on the grain kernels, now we have mold and toxins growing on the corn,” he said. “To add to our misery.”

The longer it stays in the field, the worse he said it will get.

“Everyday that goes by is lost revenue,” he said.

Though with soybeans on hold indefinitely, Truttman hopes custom farmers can get to corn in the next two weeks.

“The sooner we can get it harvested and put away the better,” he said.

Because whether or not there’s a blanket of snow on the ground, Truttman said the crop needs to come out before the fields freeze over for the winter.

“We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there,” he said.

Despite delays, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau said Wisconsin’s corn and soybean yields are down about five percent but with the harvest on hold until the snow melts, farmers say soybean yields could plummet and if they don’t get out before the next major snowfall, it could crush the crop.

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Michelle Alfini

Reporter, WKOW

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