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Crop Update: Farmers in midst of good growing season

Agriculture agent says farmers made up for delayed planting

Crop Update: Farmers in midst of good growing season

BANGOR, Wis. (WKBT) - Although severe weather is headed to the area, farmers say they have been pretty happy with Mother Nature this year.

Anything seems to be better than last year. Kyle (Niedfeldt) Zenz, the CSA manager for Old Oak Family Farm, said she wasn't even able to get her corn in the ground last year because of the weather, but this year, she has been able to roll with the punches a little better.

"These are all of our onions and chards," said Zenz.

This is Zenz's eighth season as a full-scale vegetable farm.

"It's been a farm in our family for over 100 years," said Zenz.

That means she knows exactly what kind of weather to hope for during the growing season

"We would like to have rain twice a week for the rest of summer," said Zenz.

"A lot of producers have been going steady since the weather shaped up in May and has been a good start to the season," said Steve Huntzicker, a La Crosse County agriculture agent for UW-Extension.

But everyone knows, you can't control Mother Nature.

Compared to last year, Huntzicker said, "We started out very similar though, if we look at the end of April and first part of May being very cool and wet and delayed some planting."

However this year, it warmed up really fast and hurt some vegetables.

"Things that typically like cooler springs like spinach, radishes, some of our broccoli crops have all of a sudden felt the need to mature really quickly," said Zenz.

Because of the hot weather, the radishes sprouted too fast.

"Some of those will be able to harvest and still use them, but others it was a complete loss for some of the crops," said Zenz.

However, other vegetables seem to be doing a lot better.

"We will plant more peas and beans, we've gotten most of our melons and squash this year," said Zenz.

"For the most part we are on track with a lot of the crops out there," said Huntzicker.

As a farmer, Zenz said you win some and you lose some.

"We are still ahead of last year at least so that is something to smile about," said Zenz.

But you make the most of what you've got, even if some of it does go to the chickens.

Zenz is hoping this fall is a little cooler so that she can have another chance to grow radishes again before the end of the year.

Huntzicker said corn and soy bean farmers in the area have about 90 percent of their crop planted and are off to a good growing season as well.

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