Tiny organisms are causing big problems on local farms

Mold is causing major problems on local farms.

Excessive rain and humidity could end up costing farmers millions of dollars.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting a record high year for corn and soybean production in the U.S.

Unfortunately, the wet conditions in our area were also just right for another organism, white mold.

Mold and other diseases are showing up on farms throughout the upper Midwest and Kevin Hoyer, a farmer and the f ormer president of the Wisconsin Soybean Association, said there’s not much that can be done.

“Income on the farm is going to be down dramatically,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer thinks he will lose at least 10 percent to 20 percent of his crops.

“I’ve got pods that are flat; there’s not a single bean in there. We have some molding going on, some black kernels,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer said conditions this year were just right for a number of diseases to grow and spread.

“In corn, we have a lot of stalk rot issues; we have some ear rot issues, in soybeans, we have some rot issues as well,” Hoyer said.

And even though things are bad, they could’ve been much worse.

“We took some preventative measures by using fungicides to spray on the soybean crop to keep that disease called white mold in check,” Hoyer said.

If Hoyer didn’t spray his soybeans, he could’ve lost everything.

“Like in humans, it’s a preventative measure to keep diseases away. Once you see a disease, it’s too late. You can’t stop it, you can’t fix it,” Hoyer said.

And even though it’s been a rough year, Hoyer is keeping his sprits high.

“There’s a level of frustration, but it’s more of a challenge to learn each year what worked, what didn’t,” Hoyer said.

With new sprays and technology, Hoyer thinks farming can only improve.

“I’m very optimistic about the future. We’re bringing new products, new technology to the farm every year,” Hoyer said.

He just wishes more people actually cared what goes into growing food.

“I think there’s a huge disconnect in how it all starts here in the soil and ends up on the plate. It’s quite a journey and it’s a wonderful journey if you take the time to dive into it,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer said farmers also have to be careful storing their crops.

If they’re not properly stored, mold could spread and cause even more losses.

He also wishes he could have harvested his soybeans sooner but because conditions weren’t right, he had to wait until now.

He originally wanted to harvest them weeks ago, and thinks that if he would have been able to, he could’ve saved almost all of his crops.

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