Snowstorm thwarts field work again; could be weeks before farmers can plant crops

April 17, 2018 GMT

A vicious snowstorm that hit Wisconsin last weekend halted any plans for farmers to get any field work accomplished, with officials now saying it could be weeks before any work can start.

The weekly crop progress report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service said only one day out of seven was suitable for field work in the week ending April 15, and most of that was in southern Wisconsin.

Farmers in central Wisconsin were digging out of a snowstorm that dropped over two feet of snow in parts, and collapsed a few barn roofs because of the weight of the snow.

“It’s hard to run my planter through 30 inches of snow,” a Shawano County report said.

The new snow came after snow the previous week, so farmers in central and northern Wisconsin are dealing with a double dose of snow.

“Spring has gone into hiding,” a report from Clark/Price/Taylor Counties said. “Farmers are antsy to get into the fields, but there’s still as much as five inches of frost in the ground.”

Only two field work activities were reported, oats planting and spring tillage.

Tillage was two percent complete statewide, up one point from the previous week but four points below the five-year average.

Oats were two percent planted, nine points behind last year and six points below the five-year average.

Winter wheat was reported to be 50 percent good to excellent, while maple syrup season continues in some parts of the state but has slowed considerably the past week.

Soil moisture was in good shape, with topsoil moisture 93 percent adequate to surplus and subsoil moisture 92 percent adequate to surplus.