Area farmers begin planting

Staff writer

CLINTON — Planting has begun for Stateline Area farmers, with many of them working to get all of their seeds in the ground before thunderstorms hit the area on Wednesday.

Rock County Agriculture Agent Nick Baker said while the snow two weeks ago was concerning, the weather has made a 180 degree swing and temperatures are quickly warming up. He said most farmers started planting on Friday and continued through the weekend.

“In the next couple of days we’re going to see a lot of tractors on the road,” Baker said.

He said farmers are currently right on schedule.

“It’s typical Wisconsin weather; if you don’t like it today wait until tomorrow,” Baker said.

Clinton farmers Matt Rehberg and Gary Sommers began planting corn and soybeans in their 1,600-acre lot on April 25. Barring the rain slowing them down, they’re hoping to be done planting in about a week.

“So far the planning conditions look great,” Rehberg said. “We’re able to start earlier than we had anticipated.”

He said planting conditions this year are “far better” than last year’s, with dry soil.

“We’ll play the cards we’re dealt as far as weather is concerned,” Rehberg said.

He said it’s too early to speculate how this year’s yield will turn out, but he’s hopeful.

“I’d say we’re off to a good start,” Rehberg said. “Our crop is going in early and in good conditions, and that’s half the battle.”

In addition to the weather, Baker said farmers are watching the market to see any effects of the U.S.’s and China’s trade war.

The trade war has the potential to spell trouble with local farmers, Baker said, with China being one of the U.S.’s leading trade partners. Baker said farmers do not want to see grain prices decrease when the prices already have been low the last five years.

He said many farmers are operating at the cost of production. Baker also recommends farmers market the commodities they have.

“If the market goes down, there’s nothing you can do but hope for good yields,” Baker said.

Rehberg said farmers are always concerned about prices since they rely on the market.

“All growers are keeping an eye an politics nowadays,” Rehberg said.