RACINE COUNTY — From the beginning of April through mid-July, Burlington has had about 7 more inches of rain than usual, according to the National Weather Service.
And that has left some local crops a little yellow.
Though the exact effects of the rain will not be known until it’s time to harvest, some of the plants show the impact of the unusually high rainfall, because they have been unable to receive all of the necessary nutrients, said Brian Schaal, a Burlington dairy farmer and vice president of the Racine County Farm Bureau.
Schaal estimated that about 60 acres of his 300 dedicated to corn are yellow — not the rich green the plant should be — due to the rain.
Some of the water has left pools and kept crops’ roots from obtaining enough nitrogen, giving them the yellow color, he said.
“(Excessive water) definitely gives weeds and pests an upper hand,” said Leigh Presley, interim agriculture educator with Kenosha and Racine counties’ University of Wisconsin-Extension, regarding other effects of the rain.
And in many cases, she said there’s not too much farmers can do to help the waterlogged crops besides adding more nutrients to the soil.
“It’s kind of just letting nature do its thing,” Presley said.
Despite the difficulties some plants in lower-lying areas have been experiencing, Keith Jacobson, president of the Racine County Farm Bureau and owner of a 300-acre cash grain farm in Norway, remains hopeful.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” he said.
Presley said she doesn’t expect there to a significant price increase on produce, adding that crops are doing fine in other parts of the Midwest.
And they aren’t doing as poorly in Racine County as the rainfall may suggest, Schaal said.
“For as much rain as we’ve had and for as challenging as the spring has been, it’s turning out to be a little bit better than expected,” he said.