Soggy fall causing headaches for farmers

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BELOIT - Farmers in the Stateline Area are falling behind with the fall harvest, with only about 10-15 percent of the corn and soybean crop brought in due to wet and often flooded conditions.

The summer marked an excellent growing season, but all the rains this fall have provided a serious challenge.

Rock County UW Extension agriculture agent Nick Baker called this year's harvest one of the most challenging in 5-10 years.

"We don't know when farmers will harvest again because the forecast keeps having rain in it," Baker said.

Baker said the harvest began the third week of September. Although it's typically finished toward the end of October, the rains and standing water in fields have been slowing farmers down.

Farmers have resorted to trying to harvest during short breaks between seemingly endless precipitation.

In addition to the rainfall, farmers cannot harvest areas in their fields with ponds and standing water. The southern part of the county has suffered the most from wet weather.

"The Clinton area seems to be affected, but the county in general is getting a lot of rain," Baker said.

If it dries up next week, crops might still be OK, but every additional day of moisture is a risk, he said. The longer the crops are in the field the more likely they are to suffer from other threats such as windstorms, snow or freezing conditions as well as potential animal damage or mold.

The only good news is once farmers are able to harvest, yields are predicted to be good.

Baker said he is not sure if the wet conditions will trigger crop insurance payments or not.

"It depends on how bad it is and what type of coverage farmers opted for," Baker said.

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