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Growing season was perfect, says ag agent

Growing season was perfect, says ag agent Growing season was perfect, says ag agent

Marathon County farmers have something to be thankful for during this past cropping season, according to Dr. Heather Schlesser, county dairy agent. Crop yields have been bountiful, she said, and the weather generally cooperated to allow planting and harvest without too much trouble. “This year was perfect, one of the best growing seasons we have had,” said the agent. “Everything aligned correctly. We got rain when we needed it, but not too much to make it difficult to get off the fields.”

In addition to great crops, market prices are not half bad, she said. Soybean market prices are around $11 per bushel, corn around $3.50 per bushel. The farm milk price is now hovering around $17 per hundredweight.

Schlesser said these prices were improved over earlier in the year, better than expected, and, for the time being, fairly stable.

If there was a snafu this year, she said, it was when farmers elected to forward contract to sell their milk earlier this year when COVID-19 tanked demand and prices fell apart. It turns out that these farmers may be missing out on prices that have since rebounded.

Schlesser said climate change may have had something to do with getting enough degree days to produce good crops, especially hay. She said climate change, however, could prove a dangerous thing. She said climate change produces temperature extremes and what farmers don’t need is hot temperatures without any rain.

The agent said prices look fairly good at the moment but that this could shift quickly with changes in global trade, especially with a change in administrations in Washington, D.C.

“I don’t know where the chips are going to fall,” she said.

Asked if farmers could expect another picture perfect cropping year in 2021, Schlesser said she was unable to predict the future.

“I think you need to check your Farmer’s Almanac,” she said.

PERFECT GROWING SEASON-Cash grain farmers in Marathon County had ideal growing conditions this past spring and summer. Harvest yields have generally been above average.