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2013 mixed reviews on crops

by Mike Austin

Farmers in Wisconsin didn't face the challenges of the 2012 drought, but aside from that, it was a very challenging crop year. The season began with wet conditions that prevented many acres to be planted early and resulted in many acres going in late. Then what looked like a cooperative stretch turned into a cool summer that did little for corn yields. Soybeans suffered the same fate although yields were spotty.... and in talking to many crop consultants and ag agents that was the key word , spotty, in describing how well a crop year it was. Some growers hit all the right conditions at the right times and had an average to above average year. while other had a very disappointing crop. 

The all important alfalfa crop was also disappointing and that impact was more wide spread. With the exception of the second cutting of alfalfa, just about all the other cuttings were well below average and that is why in choosing a word or a phrase to describe the crop year of 2013, many ag agents and agriculturalist just said they will be glad to turn the clock to 2014.

With more silage replacing alfalfa in the ration we will see some adjustments in winter rations. Also, you may see a move from some producers to purchase alfalfa raising both demand and price into the winter months. The only offset is that dairy prices are ending the year on a higher note that anticipated and with strong demand expected in 2014 dairy producer margins will improve. Also lower corn prices will help to improve the margins for beef, pork and poultry producers.