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Farmers in Northeast Wisconsin worry about delayed spring planting

Ervin Van Camp heads out to the field in the Outagamie County town of Center, May 21, 2013. (courtesy of FOX 11).
Ervin Van Camp heads out to the field in the Outagamie County town of Center, May 21, 2013. (courtesy of FOX 11).

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - Farmers in the Fox Valley say their spring planting is falling behind schedule.

And the outlook isn't too good, as some are making a gamble on getting corn in the ground before it's too late.

Ervin Van Camp is the envy of many farmers in Northeast Wisconsin. 

"The sooner the better right," the 83-year-old town of Center farmer told FOX 11. Van Camp is planting corn at a time when few of his fellow farmers have even been in the fields.

The latest USDA crop report shows about 43% of corn around the state was planted as of last week. That's 25% behind the normal average.

But in Northeast Wisconsin, less than 30% of corn has been planted due to the wet spring, making Van Camp and his 150 acres of corn an exception. 

"I've got a lot of patience, I'm used to farming the old way with horses where we used to do a lot of the planting in June," he said. 

The problem now is that farmers are losing corn and money with each passing day these fields aren't planted. 

"We're a long ways from where we should be," Kevin Jarek, UW-Extension ag agent, told FOX 11.

The UW-Extension says as of May 15th, farmers began losing one-half bushel per acre per day. That works out to about $25 per acre. And with 90,000 acres of corn to be planted in Outagamie County alone, the lost income adds up quickly. 

"We could recover quite quickly but we need the right conditions from Mother Nature in order for that to happen and any rain that falls between now and then is just going to be an impediment," said Jarek. 

Jarek says if farmers don't have corn in the ground by June 1st, they will start losing more than two bushels per acre per day.

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