Crops Continue to Click as October Approaches

Crops Continue to Click as October Approaches
Wisconsin had 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending September 27, 2020, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Excellent conditions for fieldwork continued this week. Sunny, windy weather and above normal temperatures helped dry down field crops. Cooler air moved into the state for the weekend, bringing rain to some areas. Corn silage chopping and fourth crop hay cutting moved
quickly. The soybean harvest got underway in southern and central Wisconsin and a few farmers started combining high moisture corn. Winter wheat planting and emergence were well ahead of normal. Fall tillage, cover crop planting and manure hauling were ongoing.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 3% very short, 13% short, 81% adequate and 3% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 2% very short, 12% short, 82% adequate and 4% surplus.

Corn dented was 96%, over four weeks ahead of last year and 17 days ahead of the 5-year average. Seventy percent of corn was reported mature, 28 days ahead of last year and 12 days ahead of the average. Corn condition rated 77% good to excellent statewide, unchanged from last week. Corn harvest for silage was 80% complete, a month ahead of last year, and 15 days
ahead of the average.

Soybeans coloring was 95%, 23 days ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of the average. Seventy-nine percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, 17 days ahead of last year and a week ahead of the average. Soybeans harvested was 10% complete, 13 days ahead of last year and 4 days ahead of the average. Soybean condition rated 79% good to excellent statewide, unchanged from last week.

Potato harvest was reported as 72% complete, 16 days ahead of last year and 5 days ahead of the average.

Winter wheat planted was 58% complete, 24 days ahead of last year and 12 days ahead of the average. Twentyeight percent of winter wheat was emerged, 19 days ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of the average.

Fourth cutting of alfalfa was reported as 87% complete, more than 4 weeks ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the average.

Pasture condition rated 63% good to excellent statewide, up 1 percentage point from last week.

Still Time to Register for SILO Virtual Screening

Still Time to Register for SILO Virtual Screening
The Safety Committee of Dane County Farm Bureau is hosting a FREE virtual screening of the independent film, SILO, on Sunday, October 4 at 1 p.m. You do not need to be a Dane County resident or a  Farm Bureau member to attend this event.  

SILO is the first ever feature film about a grain bin entrapment, a possible tragedy agriculture communities face every day. View the film trailer here:  

Inspired by true events, SILO tells the story of Cody Rose, an 18-year-old who falls victim to a grain bin entrapment in a small American farm town. As grain turns to quicksand, family, neighbors and first responders must put aside their differences to rescue Cody from drowning in the crop that has sustained their community for generations.  

In addition to the screening, a guided conversation/live Q&A will follow the film using the discussion points curated by the SILO team and their non-profit partners, the Grain Handling Safety Coalition. The post-film discussion is designed to address the safety issues as well as other themes in the film that affect people in agricultural communities. The post-film discussion will be held virtually with further details emailed to registered attendees (via Microsoft Teams.)  

“Throughout the farming community it’s often hard to talk about grain entrapment because so many people have been hurt or killed …. the movie will be something that people can really learn from.” –  

Community is not only at the heart of SILO, but is the core principle driving SILO’s unique distribution strategy. The challenge of reaching a wide audience with an independent film has never been greater and SILO filmmakers team up with community organizers to both educate and entertain rural audiences nationwide.  

This virtual screening is made possible by the Safety Committee of Dane County Farm Bureau with a matching grant by the UW Center for Agricultural Safety and Health and sponsorship from Grinnell Mutual and Rural Mutual Insurance.

To attend this virtual screening please register online at: RSVP deadline: October 3, 2020.

Snowmobilers: Time To Complete Required Safety Certificate Course

Snowmobilers: Time To Complete Required Safety Certificate Course
Wisconsin is the birthplace of snowmobiling and continues to offer some of the best snowmobiling opportunities you are likely to find, especially in northern Wisconsin.

More than 200,000 registered snowmobiles hit Wisconsin’s 25,000 miles of groomed trails each winter, which means safety is an important part of the ride.

Fall is the ideal time to take the first step of preparing for the upcoming snowmobile season by completing the safety course. The safety course seeks to ensure snowmobilers of all ages are safe while they are having fun on the trails. The  course is required for operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1985 and who are 12 years of age or older. 

Snowmobile safety is critical. In 2019, 16 fatal snowmobiling accidents occurred, with the top contributing factors being speed and operator error.

The safety course costs $10 and includes six hours of classroom instruction with two optional hours of hands-on instruction or a simulated ride. For those age 16 and older, the course may be completed online.

To register for a classroom course or an online version, visit

Farm Bureau to Host Legislative Advocacy Training

Farm Bureau to Host Legislative Advocacy Training
Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Promotion and Education Committee is hosting a one-day Leadership Boot Camp on November 14 at Heartland Farms in Hancock. WFBF’s governmental relations team will lead the training focused on engaging in legislative advocacy at the local level. 

“It’s important for us as farmers and agriculturists to be proactive in advocating for ourselves” said Darby Sampson, WFBF’s Promotion and Education Committee chair. “I encourage Farm Bureau members to attend this Leadership Boot Camp to learn how each of us can best make an impact on legislative issues.”

The day will start with an optional tour of Heartland Farms, a fifth-generation potato and vegetable farm. The training will begin with information on local affairs and how to monitor activities at the town and county level. Training will continue with tips for contacting elected officials and how members can best make an impact on local, state and federal legislation.

The Leadership Boot Camp is open to all Farm Bureau members. Registration is $10 and includes the training, boxed lunch and an optional tour of Heartland Farms. The registration deadline is November 2.

This event is being hosted in-person and will follow any applicable state or local health mandates. Face masks and hand sanitizer will be available, and seating will be socially distanced. Single serving refreshments and boxed lunches will be provided.

For more information, or to register, visit

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization and is made up of 61 county Farm Bureaus. WFBF represents farms of every size, commodity and management style. 

Friends of Blufflands earns $4,000 to help restore native prairie

Friends of Blufflands earns $4,000 to help restore native prairie
The La Crosse conservation group, Friends of the Blufflands, has been awarded a $2,000 grant from the C. D. Besadny Conservation Fund of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin for its restoration work on Lookout Prairie in Hixon Forest. With the City of La Crosse contributing $2,000 in matching funds, Friends of the Blufflands will be able to hire a qualified restoration contractor to assist its on-going efforts to restore the Lookout Prairie by eliminating invasive trees and plants.

Lookout is one of several hills or remnant prairies in Hixon, owned by the City of La Crosse, and a focus of restoration and preservation efforts for many years. With this grant and the City’s matching funds, Friends can dedicate more resources to the preservation and protection of this prairie ecosystem with its unique flora and fauna.

John Knight serves on the Friends of the Blufflands board and applied for the grant.

“When the settlers first came to this immediate area, most of the land was prairie and not forest as we think of it now,” he said. “Through tree planting and other agriculture projects, we ended up with a lot more forest than we did prairie. What we are trying to do is re-establish some of these historical prairies.”

He explained the efforts will concentrate on removing and inhibiting invasive trees and plants to maintain an open canopy and increase exposure to sunlight to promote the growth of native prairie flowers, grasses, and other desirable plants.

“This is an ongoing project, and there are some areas where we really need some professional help to get this done,” Knight said.

Work will involve cutting and then treating the stumps and stubs of invasive plants with an appropriate herbicide, collecting and piling the cuttings off the prairie, and then burning those piles at the appropriate time.

Among the invasive species includes Japanese Stilt Grass which made its first official mark in Wisconsin when it was discovered by a visiting botanist in August in La Crosse County.

“We are aware of that and have done some cutting ourselves,” Knight said. “We are trying to identify other passes such as the hiking paths near the Mathy Quarry.”

So far, their efforts are taking root.

“In just what we managed to cut ourselves, there are prairie plants already popping up,” Knight said. “They are reseeding themselves already which is really nice to see.”

Friends of the Bluffland is always open to volunteers that they train to help increase efforts as well as new members to the nonprofit.

Friends of the Blufflands is a 501(c) organization whose members and volunteers in 2020 have put in nearly 1500 hours of time on restoration projects in Hixon Forest and other conservation projects. The grant is one part of the expanding efforts of Friends of the Blufflands to access additional external funding as it works cooperatively with the City of La Crosse, the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, and other area conservation groups to restore, maintain and sustain natural resources for the benefit of all area residents and nature lovers.