Farmers busy with crops

Corn struggles to grow at the Brickstead Dairy farm near Greenleaf, Tuesday, June 6, 2014. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

BROWN COUNTY - Many farm fields in Northeast Wisconsin are busy with activity. Farmers are planting corn and cutting alfalfa.

The late start makes it a race against the clock to save the season.

Dust is flying off corn fields at the Brickstead Dairy farm south of Greenleaf. Dan Brick says seeds were planted weeks ago, but there is little to show for it.

"We're having a little bit of difficulty with the corn that was planted. The heavy rain that we did have left a lot of compaction, so we are going over it right now with a rotary hoe and rake up the topsoil to help the plant come out of the ground," said Dan Brick, Brickstead Dairy.

Brick says he has more than 80 percent of his corn crop planted.

"I exchanged a little bit of seed yes, to a lower maturity date, so that will affect our yield here, but also it's trying to get that crop in on time before the first frost comes in October," said Brick.

Agriculture agents say the alfalfa crop has been affected as well. They say while many of the plants survived the winter, quality is down.

"Usually there's kind of a balance between stems and leaves in the alfalfa plant. But this year, there's a lot more stem, which is the less digestible part for animals to eat," said Liz Binversie, Brown County agriculture educator.

Binversie says many farmers typically harvest three or four hay crops each year.

"That first cutting usually has the highest yields. Usually it's about 40 percent of your entire season's yield comes off that first cutting," said Binversie.

Meanwhile, Brick says warm humid weather will help crops grow on his 1,000-acre farm. He says his 800 dairy cows depend on it.

"We can't just let it go idle or go plant another crop. We need to be able to have forage for our cows to eat and produce milk," said Brick.

Many farmers say this is the latest they've planted this much corn.

If you want to know how other Wisconsin crops are doing, this week's crop report is available by clicking here.