A mild spring and a little rain at the right time in June made for an early and bountiful winter wheat harvest in Wisconsin, perhaps the best in decades. The early harvest gives farmers an extra few weeks of growing season to do something virtually unheard of in this part of the state – plant another crop. Farmers are devising drought plans that include planting oats and peas over harvested wheat fields or over withered, immature cornfields that were cut midway through the growing season for use as cattle feed because the plants won't reach maturity.

"We're getting a lot of calls about land where corn was bad and it was harvested early, so they want to plant a second crop, or the wheat ground is open to do some seeding," said Randy Shaver, a University of Wisconsin – Madison professor and UW Extension dairy nutritionist.

Fall oats and peas may be the most common second crops planted in hopes of getting something off the land to feed cows, Shaver said.

Dairy farmer Matt Winker of Ozaukee County, for instance, hopes to have an extra 100 acres of soybeans he could harvest as forage – assuming it rains in the coming months to help the beans grow.

Winker figures he's gambling about $6,000 with the extra soybean crop, including seed and labor. PD


—From the Journal Sentinel (Click here to read the full article.)