Wisconsin farmers optimistic about harvest despite challenges

Harvest is in full swing despite equipment shortages

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — The Wisconsin corn harvest is in full swing.

You’ll likely see plenty of combines while you’re out and about this weekend.

Farmers face challenges such as equipment shortages and diseases that can affect cornfields, but despite that, Wisconsin farmers say 2021 will end with a successful harvest.

Kyle Semke has been farming with his dad since 2016, but he says this year’s harvest is one to remember.

‘This year is my dad’s last year of farming with me, and then next year, I get to take everything over myself,” Semke said.

A humid August brought tar spot to southern Wisconsin corn, including Semke Farms, a challenge that Semke says is fairly new.

“What it does is it basically kills the plant in a 5- to 7-day time frame. So if your corn isn’t mature, it can affect your yield and your test weight,” he said.

Semke and other farmers also had to overcome pandemic-related challenges with farm equipment and tractor part shortages.

“We experienced a breakdown, and we had some delays, and we actually had to travel further than we thought we would so we could get some parts and get up and running and back in the field again,” Semke said.

Despite the challenges, the La Crosse County Ag Extension says the crop’s condition was not affected.

“We’ve been sitting in that good to excellent condition, which is always good to hear especially because people were really excited this past spring when corn prices shot up,” said Ag Extension educator Kaitlyn Davis.

The exciting spring turned into a rewarding fall harvest.

“Even though farming is challenging, in the end, it’s very rewarding. You take the good with the bad,”Semke said.

This winter, Semke hopes for a lot of snow and early spring.

That would give next year’s crop the best start possible, he said.

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