OSHKOSH, Wis. — Matt Hofacker stood under a bright red sprayer getting his photo taken at the Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) Farm Show Tuesday.

What You Need To Know

  • Before this weekend’s snow, much of Wisconsin reported some sort of drought condition

  • This winter was unusually dry

  • Some farmers say they’re more concerned about commodity prices heading into planting

Morning rains had momentarily given way to a sunny, blue sky.

“We’re just spending some time with the family and showing the kids some farm machinery,” he said.

About 20,000 other people are doing the same thing this week for the three-day show that signals spring planting isn’t far off.

Up until recently, Hofacker and most other farmers around Wisconsin saw an usually dry winter that yielded little moisture. As a corn and soybean grower, Hofacker said that’s not his biggest concern this spring.

“More so the commodities in Argentina where they’re having record crops and driving our prices down,” Hofacker said. “We’ve had dry winters before and have always come out as far as moisture in the spring.”

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor shows most of Wisconsin is in abnormally dry to severe drought conditions. The southeast corner of the state is the exception.

Compounding that for grain farmers are U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts for lower prices for corn, soybeans and wheat.

Alex Crockford is an agronomy instructor at North Central Technical College in Wausau. The college is one of the exhibitors at the show.

“We’ve actually had almost a decade of near normal or above normal moisture in the state. That changed at the end of last spring when we had a period of prolonged dryness and drought,” he said. “That was alleviated in much of the state from rainfalls we got.”

The area around Oshkosh is rated as severe drought. Crockford said rains last fall helped the situation, but more is needed. Winter snows can account for eight to 10 inches of moisture in a normal winter.

“This weather we got this weekend is probably going to change things. We had upwards of eight to 12 inches of snow in parts of those areas and now we’re getting plentiful rainfall.”

Hofacker — like most farmers — said he will roll with whatever weather is put in front of him. But he does have a request.

“A bunch of moisture,” he said.

The WPS Farm Show runs through Thursday.

Additional information can be found, here.

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)