Farmers struggle with too much rain - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Farmers struggle with too much rain

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CAMBRIDGE (WKOW) -- Too much rain could be getting in the way of a good season for many Wisconsin farmers.

It may be hard to believe, but the farmers who were praying for rain at this time last year during the drought are wishing it would stop now.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau spokesperson Casey Langan tells 27 News corn and hay farmers may have trouble with their crops this year. Up north, many farmers haven't even been able to plant their crops yet because it's been too wet.

Here in southern Wisconsin, most farmers were able to get their crops planted, but the recent rains are saturating soil, which could suffocate plants. Experts say crops won't thrive in standing water for too long.

Feed crops needs several dry days in a row to harvest, but we just haven't seen that here in southern Wisconsin.

The rain has definitely caused a setback for Cambridge farmer Duane Hinchley, who had planned to harvest his alfalfa on Monday. Hinchley anticipates it'll be at least next week before he can harvest. The longer farmers wait to harvest though, the lower the quality.

"At 28 days you're going to start losing quality and what we harvest it for is the protein and the digestibility of the crop; that's what's going to make cows in Wisconsin milk," Hinchley says. "The first crop was not put up ideal at all and now we're going at our second crop.. we've only got four chances to do this."
 
Lower quality feed means dairy cows will likely produce less milk. Hinchley says as opposed to last year's drought that caused a shortage, he should have plenty of crop available, but with a lower quality feed he expects milk production to drop by about 10 percent. 
 
Hinchley's not alone, in fact he's one of the more fortunate ones. Other farm fields in our area are swamped with water. Hinchley says a friend just down the road spent Tuesday pumping water off his crops.
 
UW-Madison agronomy professor Joe Lauer says hay is at a record price right now, so buying feed isn't a viable option for many farmers who are already struggling to pay for it.
 
Hinchley says in the end, he's staying positive and hoping the weather will break and dry up the soil. 

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Too much rain could be getting in the way of a good season for many Wisconsin farmers.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau spokesperson Casey Langan tells 27 News corn and hay farmers may have trouble with their crops this year. Up north, many farmers haven't even been able to plant their corn crops yet because it's been too wet.

Here in southern Wisconsin, most farmers were able to get their crops planted, but the recent rains are saturating soil, which could suffocate plants. Experts say crops won't thrive in standing water for too long.

Hay farmers are also hurting. Hay needs several dry days in a row to harvest, but we just haven't seen that here in southern Wisconsin. If it's too wet, there'll be less hay for feeding cattle. 

Langan says farmers with livestock were hoping for a good year, after the drought of 2012 left feed supplies low. 

UW-Madison agronomy professor Joe Lauer says hay is at a record price right now, so buying feed isn't a viable option for many farmers already struggling to pay for it.

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