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State agriculture outlook depends on rain

9:13 PM, Jan. 23, 2013  |  Comments
The sun shines as a corn stalk tries to grow from the ground in a Fond du Lac County field in July 2012.
The sun shines as a corn stalk tries to grow from the ground in a Fond du Lac County field in July 2012.
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Agriculture experts say the biggest wild card in predicting Wisconsin's crop production this year is moisture.

Last year's drought was severe enough that most fruit and vegetable crops were hit hard. The crops that fared well were largely those that could tap into water reserves deep in the soil.

This year, those water reserves are partially depleted, and it would take about 12 inches of rain statewide to replenish them. Less rain could also be adequate, but crop experts say they're straining to find reasons for optimism.

Rainfall was below average in November, and December through February are traditionally Wisconsin's three least-rainy months.

Experts at an agricultural forum in Madison said Wednesday that crops at greatest risk from another prolonged drought are corn and soybeans.

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