Rain fails to dampen harvest optimism across Wisconsin

Categories: WSA, WSPPublished On: October 18, 20231.9 min read

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Mother Nature likes to keep everyone on their toes. 

After a long summer with minimal to no rainfall, many Wisconsin soybean growers have had their fall harvest interrupted by rain delays.  

“In our area, people were really starting to get going the week before the rain,” Wisconsin Soybean Association (WSA) President Sara Stelter said. “We had a bunch of rain last weekend but I’m hoping to get going again on soybeans today.” 

Despite having to pause harvest, the recent rain wasn’t completely unwelcome. 

“We can use the rain,” Stelter said. “In fact, we’re still probably at a deficit. But the timing wasn’t great because we’re all trying to get our crops off. And around here, because we have such sandy soil, a lot of people have irrigation which helps, but you can’t water as much as the amount a good rain would give you. And of course, that increases costs as well.” 

Though WSA Treasurer Matt Rehberg has wrapped up soybean harvest, the recent rains halted corn harvest on his farm. And despite the challenges of the 2023 growing year, Rehberg reports a better-than-expected crop. 

“We ended up with an average crop yield, which given the growing year we’ve had, we’re happy with,” Rehberg said. “It was a tough year between the dryness and the other challenges that any crop faces. So, it’s not a record setting crop but we’re happy with what we got.” 

Likewise, Stelter has heard positive reports from soybean growers across Wisconsin.  

“I’ve heard that people are pleasantly surprised by their yields, even on dry land,” she said. “I think that it’s because our genetics have come so far from the last time we had a serious drought.” 

As the harvest season continues, Rehberg hopes to avoid any major hiccups. 

“It’s been an uneventful harvest, which is good for a farmer,” Rehberg said. “That’s what we want. Boring is good for us.”  

The 2023 harvest season will be over in the blink of an eye – though it might not always feel that way – but until then, Stelter has Wisconsin soybean growers in her thoughts. 

“I hope everyone has a good harvest,” Stelter said. “And hopefully their elevators won’t fill up when they need it.”