(4/13/13) Yes...there's more dreaded snow on the ground this morning, but the new growing season is upon us, which means it's once again time for USDA, NASS, Wisconsin Field Office to begin reporting the progress of crop planting, growth and development, harvesting, and current crop conditions.
According to their first report this week, reporting stations say average temperatures last week were 1 to 7 degrees below normal. Precipitation totals ranged from 5-hundreths of inch in Milwaukee to a ¼ inch in Eau Claire.
But it looks like the above-average snow cover and a chilly, wet spring have helped restore moisture to Wisconsin and other states held back by last year's drought. Does the moisture go deep enough? The U.S. Department of Agriculture is estimating farmers are planning to plant more than 174 million acres in corn and soybeans this year. That's a record. There is enough moisture to allow the plants to emerge, but some experts are voicing worry about deep moisture. That would be needed if the rain stops falling again. The national weekly drought monitor released last week says the recent rainfall has recharged to top two inches of soil, but it would take substantially more rain to improve conditions to pre-drought levels.