Planting later than usual

Photo by Len Villano

We finished planting on June 22nd. We are usually finished 10 days to two weeks prior to that date. This spring, most farmers — like us — were three weeks behind schedule. 

You may have noticed how plants in your own yard didn’t grow as fast as usual this spring. My wife, Kris, manages the flowers in our yard, and now that it is warm, her plants have really taken off. While we all experience frustrations when the plants in our yards are not growing at their usual pace, for farmers, having our crops behind schedule can have a huge impact on dollars.

Imagine if you had hundreds or thousands of acres. Our first crop of hay that we feed our cows sat in the field and didn’t grow for two weeks. In farming, every crop we plant is scheduled on a deadline based on “typical” weather. We try to get a crop to full maturity before the first frost in the fall. Farmers don’t need a frost in the last week of September. That would be detrimental because it would kill the plants we feed our cows, and our yield wouldn’t be as strong. Wisconsin is technically a grain-deficit area to start with. If farmers have to buy grain to feed our animals, it is expensive. 

This isn’t simply happening in Wisconsin. Farmers in Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, New York and Kansas are facing the same issue. It’s a major concern.

How will this impact you? That’s hard to answer. Milk prices may go up, but it is always a nutritional bargain at about $.25 cents a glass. Let’s hope we have a long growing season so we can keep it that way.

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