Dry trouble: Soil moisture going down

Posted at 2 p.m. on June 16, 2021

The Brillion News

MADISON - The latest Drought Mionitor Report and Wisconsin Crop Progress Report tell the story: The state has a growing moisture deficit.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map of Wisconsin, last issued on June 10, showed 82 percentof the state as "abnormally dry" and 34 percent experiencing "moderate drought."

Manitowoc and the eastern third of Calumet County were under moderate drought conditions; the rest of Calumet County, and all of Brown and Outagamie counties, were considered abnormally dry. A seven-county area of far southeast Wisconisn is under severe drought.

In the fields

Wisconsin had 6.6 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending June 13, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.


Temperatures were well above normal this week for most of Wisconsin, continuing last week’s warm weather. Only north central Wisconsin received significant rain, while precipitation was below normal for the rest of the state.

Crops and pasture conditions are beginning to show stress from the hot and dry conditions.


Farmers continued seasonal field activities, the first cutting of alfalfa hay is coming in, and soybean planting is finishing.

Soil moisture

Topsoil moisture condition rated 23% very short, 36% short, 40% adequate and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 16% very short, 35% short, 47% adequate and 2% surplus. Corn is reported 96% emerged.

Corn condition is rated 71% good to excellent, 5 percentage points below last week. Soybeans are reported 92% emerged, 6 days ahead of last year and 13 days ahead of the 5-year average. Soybean condition is rated 65% good to excellent, 7 percentage points below last week.

Oats are reported 96% emerged. Forty-one percent of oats are headed, 9 days ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of the average. Oats are beginning to color in southern Wisconsin, with 1% of state acres turning. Oat condition is rated 74% good to excellent, 6 percentage points worse than last week.

Potato condition is rated 85% good to excellent, 1 percentage point below last week.

Winter wheat is reported 84% headed, 13 days ahead of last year, and 11 days ahead of the average. Thirteen percent of winter wheat is coloring, 8 days ahead of last year and 6 days ahead of average. Winter wheat condition was rated 81% good to excellent statewide, 6 percentage points below last week.

The first cutting of alfalfa hay is reported 87% complete, 6 days ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of the average. All hay condition was rated 63% good to excellent, 7 percentage points below last week. Pasture condition was rated 58% good to excellent, 10 percentage points below last week