Spring sprang today, and many Midwesterners have shed their winter coats and boots for shorts and t-shirts. But one group of Midwesterns are trying to resist the urge to speed up the season.
Farmers in Wisconsin normally start planting corn around April 15. And just because the temperatures are in the 70s this week, that doesn’t mean they can get an early start.
“Everybody wants to be the first one, to get the neighbors talking,” said Scott Pfeuti, who farms on 2,000 acres between Monticello and Albany, Wis. He told the Wisconsin State Journal that he’s sticking with his normal schedule.
Agronomists are telling farmers to resist starting their crops early. even though the ground is warming up quickly and there are no signs it’s going to cool down anytime soon, the newspaper said.
“This weather is odd,” Shawn Conley, an assistant professor in the UW-Madison agronomy department, told the paper. “I think we have to be cautious and just know what the risks are out there.”
In an average winter, frost can run three feet deep, but in Wisconsin, the frost did not even make it to one foot deep in some places. Insects wintering in the soil weren’t killed and those living in bark survived easily.
That poses a danger to crops and also to people: without a spring snow storm, experts say mosquitos will probably be back much earlier than usual around the Great Lakes.
Tomorrow, Changing Gears’ Niala Boohoo looks at the future of agriculture around the Great Lakes. It’s a more popular career than you might think.