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Wisconsin soybean growers hoping for rain

Categories: WSA, WSMBPublished On: July 12, 20231.6 min read

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Soybean farmers across Wisconsin are going to sleep tonight hoping they wake up to the sound of rain drumming on their windows.  

Either that or they encounter a magical genie in a bottle and three wishes. 

USDA’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin published on July 11 reported that “D3 to D4 coverage stood at 1 to 5 percent in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.” D3 is extreme drought while D4 is exceptional drought and the most intense drought. 

“We haven’t had any rain,” said Wisconsin Soybean Association President Sara Stelter. “That’s our major concern. We literally have not had any rain since Mother’s Day.” 

Growers with irrigation systems are hanging in there, though it’s not a complete replacement for rainfall. 

“Growers sometimes pump water just to try to keep the water cool when the soil gets hot but when they’ve exhausted their soil moisture, they usually can’t catch up with irrigators unless they get some help with rainfall,” said Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board Vice President and Dallas farmer Andy Bensend. “So, they don’t like getting behind because then they’re in trouble.”  

Despite the dry weather, the soybean crop still holds potential.  

“The beans are short, but they can make up for a lot of lost ground if we start getting rain,” Bensend said.  

Stelter, who farms near Wautoma, also mentioned the stunted growth of the soybean crop in her area. 

“The beans are kind of different this year because they aren’t really taking off and growing fast, even those that have received water,” Stelter said. “They’re doing okay, they just seem to be lagging compared to other years.” 

With planting in the rearview mirror and harvest on the horizon, Wisconsin soybean growers have plenty of work that keeps them busy. 

“We never run out of work to do around here, that’s for sure,” Bensend said. “There are always repairs and service. Always, always, always.”