Farmers dealing with a tough summer

APPLETON – As dairy farmer Mark Petersen will tell you, it’s not an easy year to be a farmer.

“You’re always at the mercy of the weather in this business and it’s almost a worst-case scenario in the situation here,” he told FOX 11.

Kevin Jarek with Outagamie County’s UW-Extension told us farmers across the area are struggling with saturated fields from too much rain.

“Limits the number of days we can actually get into the fields. So definitely there hasn’t been much change, except the calendar. Now that we’ve run into the month of July, things become a little more urgent,” Jarek explained.

Jarek said the planting season was late, some crops aren’t even in the ground yet. Some that are planted are turning yellow.

“Indicates there’s stress from the excessive soil moisture and there’s stress of not having enough nitrogen available for the plants,” Jarek explained.

So now, Jarek told FOX 11, some farmers are considering planting crops like corn, even though they know those plants won’t make it to harvest.

“We typically have the option to take preventive planting. So farmers have the option, if they’re enrolled in an insurance program, to say there simply wasn’t the opportunity to plant,” he said.

But sometimes the crop insurance money isn’t enough to cover the loss.

“You have that input cost that you’re gambling with as well and when you feed livestock that feed, all of a sudden you have to buy feed on top of it. It really is a serious financial situation to be in,” Petersen explained.

Petersen told us the only hope for the crop yield is that the weather dries up a little.

“Average would be at best and that’s probably being very optimistic, but if the weather turns around this is prime growing season right now yet, we can turn things around somewhat,” he said.

Jarek said the first frost will have a huge impact on crop totals this year. He did say if the frost is early there will be major losses.

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