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Dry conditions slowing down crops in central Wisconsin

Dry weather slows down corn development
Sabrina Lee
WAOW Television
Dry weather slows down corn development

The heat and lack of rain is impacting area farmers.

Pleasant View Dairy planted their corn crop a few weeks ago, and while they sprouted just fine, now they're struggling.

Knee high by the Fourth of July is a benchmark saying for corn growth to keep farmers on track, but this season, it's drier than usual.

"Less than a month to go till the Fourth of July and unless something changes that's not gonna happen," said James Juedes, Co-Owner and Farmer of Juedes Family Farms.

With hots days, dry air, and no rain, farmers are on edge.

"We've had the heat, but we need the moisture and you need both for it to work, without the moisture, the corn can't absorb the nutrients it needs to be able to grow, so it kind of sits there in a vegetative state," said Juedes.

Juedes said it's the earliest he's seen this dry of weather, and that even springs and creeks that are used to help water the crops, are bare.

"My springs and stuff that are usually running full tilt are pretty much all stopped running," said Juedes.

They said while plants can retain moisture in the soil for a bit, it doesn't last long.

"There's moisture in the ground you can see it," said Juedes, demonstrating the damp soil beneath the dry.

"It doesn't take long for the water to leave the soil after you water it so not only is the crop using it but is evaporating into the air which makes the soil get dry really fast," said John Detlor, Irrigation Manager with Okray Farms.

Now, they're all hoping for rain before it starts impacting their harvest.

"They don't need as much moisture at this stage but it all helps in the end because what doesn't grow now is most likely going to show as far as the end product for yield," said Juedes.

And while they're not necessarily in dire straights just yet, with no change, it could become a precarious situation.

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