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UW says crop farmers face uncertain future, drought in 2013


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - U-W experts say crop farmers will need a lot of rain to get over the adverse effects from last year’s drought. But the problem is, the drought’s in a holding pattern.

The U-S Drought Monitor said today that just over 88-and-a-half percent of Wisconsin’s land area was abnormally dry or worse. And that number has hardly budged in over a month. The Badger State had a sizable snow-melt before this week’s cold snap – but it appeared not much seeped in. Parts of northwest Wisconsin and the far south remain in a severe drought. And 12 east central counties remain the only ones with no drought status.

At an agricultural outlook forum in Madison yesterday, experts said fruit-and-vegetable crops were hit hardest by the drought. And those which did well tapped into deep water reserves. Those reserves are partially depleted now, and U-W experts say it would take 12 inches of rain to get them replenished.

Meanwhile, dairy farmers are expected to do better this year. That’s because feed prices are expected to fall, while milk prices go up.