RYAN BROEGE PHOTO The Independent-Register
Unseasonably cold temperatures mean spring fertilizing, among a number of other harbingers of spring, has been on hold.

By Ryan Broege, Editor –

Below-average soil moisture and temperature is delaying this year’s planting season.

The ground needs to gain about another 30 degrees before farmers can plant this year’s crop, said Nick Baker, UW-Rock County Agriculture
Extension agent, who also works in Green and Walworth counties. In an interview last week, Baker estimated soil temperatures might be in the 20s – farmers need soil to be about 50 or 55 degrees before seeds can be planted.

Baker said most small grains, like oats, are being planted by this time, but growers have had to hold off this year, due to unfavorably cold temperatures.

Spring fertilizer applications are on hold, and wheat and alfalfa fields that are usually greening by this time aren’t, said Baker.

Frigid temperatures and late winter precipitation meant that recent rainfalls ended up as ponds in fields, instead of draining into the soil, So Wisconsin is both cold and dry right now, neither condition a favorable one for planting.

Pick up this week’s print edition for full story….