Survey shows farmers could yield record corn crop - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Survey shows farmers could yield record corn crop

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- Many of us are itching for warmer weather.  But Wisconsin's farmers are just fine with this spring's slow arrival coming off of one of the worst droughts since the 1950's.

"Farmers are eternal optimists," laughs Alvin Kohlhepp, a farmer in Eau Claire County who grows corn and soybeans.  "If you have a bad year, there's always next year."

Last year wasn't kind to farmers.  Much of the Midwest was hit hard by drought.

"Reduction of 60 to 80 percent, even more in some of the severe counties across the Corn Belt," remembers UW-Extension Crops and Soil Educator Jerry Clark.  "But luckily up here we pretty much got by for the most part."

By late March of last year, snow was long gone and farmers got an early start to the planting season.  This spring, the snow has been slow to disappear. Cabin fever is starting to set in for many here in Wisconsin, but farmers say they wouldn't have it any other way.

"This is the way we'd like to see it is a slower melt.  I know they want to get into that 70's and 80's so that they can get the shorts and the short-sleeves on," Kohlhepp says with a grin.  "But for the farmers, we'd rather see it in the 40's or maybe close to 50 and gradual warm ups so we get a slower melt.  If you get a fast melt and it runs off, then we are not going to gain a whole lot from the snow even though it's there right now."

The USDA says the 2013 corn planting forecast is up a little bit from last year. That's because farmers can now get higher prices, thanks in part to last season's drought that limited the supply. 

It also led to high prices for corn products at the grocery store.  But experts think we'll start to see those prices slowly return to normal. 

"With the perspective plantings that are out now, if those all come to fruition we could see maybe a record yielding crop and we'll see prices drop somewhat dramatically I think by fall," Clark explains.

The USDA surveyed 80,000 farmers and learned they plan to plant nearly 100 million acres of corn this season.  That's the most since 1937.

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