Wisconsin soybean growers are in the thick of it.
Planting is in full swing, and growers’ lives will revolve around the little green plants popping out of the ground for the foreseeable future.
Mother Nature has a mind of her own, and farmers are no strangers to rolling with the punches. So far, her tendencies have caused a later than average start to planting throughout the state.
“It’s been really weird weather this spring. Today’s been very cold for this time of year – we were in the 30s this morning,” said Wisconsin Soybean Association (WSA) President Sara Stelter. “The weather has been funny because we’ve gotten rain, but we haven’t gotten a ton. We got four-tenths of an inch yesterday, but it took all day to get it. It’s been just enough so that planting is difficult.”
Though Stelter is behind compared to previous years, she has a good start and is about a quarter of the way done with planting soybeans. Others are hoping that this week is the week they get to start their planting campaign.
“We’ve had too much rain. It seems like every Friday we get rain,” said Matt Wagenson, Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) director. “If we could just get two weeks we could be in the ground and things could start growing. We just need to get a two-week stretch.”
Even with such a delayed start, Wagenson is optimistic.
“At the end of the day we might not get the top yield, but we can still grow pretty decent crops,” said Wagenson, who also sits on the North Central Soybean Research Program board of directors.
WSMB Director Jonathan Gibbs is about halfway done planting soybeans.
“There is still standing water in some spots that we’ll have to plant around but I don’t anticipate any major issues right now as long as the weather holds,” Gibbs said.
This week’s USDA Weather and Crop Bulletin reports that soybean planting in Wisconsin is 24% completed, with 49% of the nation’s soybean crop in the ground.
By the end of this week, Wisconsin growers are hoping a larger percentage of their soybean crop will have been planted. Pending any major weather systems moving through the state, a significant chunk of the 2023 soybean crop should be in the ground.
“I think a lot of soybean planting is going to happen this week,” Stelter said. “Each day that takes us longer to get the soybeans in is a concern. If we don’t get a majority of the crops in by the end of this week, I’ll be very concerned.”
With the end of the spring season drawing near, it’s easy to get caught up in the rush to get it all done. Through it all, Wagenson wants everyone to remember one thing – “Everybody, please stay safe.”
After planting wraps up, growers will have just enough time to take a breath before they launch into the next round of work.
“The next step after planting is to get all of our pre-emerge sprayed,” Gibbs said. “But first, I’ll spend some time with my family.”