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Wisconsin farmers off to slowest spring planting start on record


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The long winter has Wisconsin farmers off to their slowest spring planting start on record.

Half the state’s oat crop is normally in the ground by now. But this year’s planting was only 5 percent complete as of Sunday – the latest start in 30 years of federal data. Spring field work is just 4 percent finished, breaking a record-low set in 2011.

The state’s winter wheat crop is greening up, and it’s too early to tell if there’s any damage. Some potatoes are being planted in Portage and Waushara counties in central Wisconsin.

Despite some late snow last week, farmers are finding at least some dry soils.

Four-percent of the state’s top-soil is short on moisture, along with 1 percent of sub-soil moisture. A quarter of the top-soil has surplus moisture, along with 11 percent of sub-soils.

A recent warm-up has made farmers more optimistic about getting things done. The warmest day of the year is expected, with highs Tuesday from the upper 60’s in northwest Wisconsin to the low 80’s in the south.

But a cold front is expected to drop temperatures back into the 30’s and 40’s by Thursday. Rain is at least possible all week, with snow likely in some areas on Thursday.