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Storms damage state crops, halt field work

Jun. 25, 2014
 
Dylan Baumhardt, 9, jumps into a swimming pool with his brother, Jacob, in their flooded back yard in Kewaskum last week. Family members say a creek behind the home is typically 6 inches deep.
Dylan Baumhardt, 9, jumps into a swimming pool with his brother, Jacob, in their flooded back yard in Kewaskum last week. Family members say a creek behind the home is typically 6 inches deep. / John Ehlke/West Bend Daily News/AP

Recent storms have caused widespread crop damage in Wisconsin and kept farmers out of their fields, federal agriculture officials say.

Twenty-one percent of the state’s corn crop is in fair or poor condition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported, and there were less than two days that were suitable for field work across Wisconsin last week.

But with a late start to planting adding to the weather problems, many corn farmers likely won’t have crops that meet the old adage “knee high by the Fourth of July.”

“Crop progress is slow, with some of the first planted corn finally catching up and showing some good growth. This has been a tough spring,” a Rusk County crops observer noted in the report, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Strong wind and hail accompanying the storms damaged crops in Grant, Green and Dane counties in southern Wisconsin, but the biggest culprit was the persistent downpours.

“Soil erosion, ponding and flooding were reported statewide, stressing or outright drowning some fields,” the report said.

The situation in Outagamie County in eastern Wisconsin is serious to very serious, depending on the location, University of Wisconsin Extension agent Kevin Jarek told the newspaper.

In St. Croix County in western Wisconsin, observers say some crops drowned in 8 inches of rain last week.

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