Corn crops in a few northern Wisconsin counties are faring better than in the parched southern and central parts of the state. Some farmers may actually benefit from this year's drought.
Most of Wisconsin's corn crop has been devastated by the hot, dry weather, but if you travel north, you'll find some fields that are filled with healthy, towering plants. UW Extension Dairy Agent Heather Schlesser says things start to look better north of Portage County, "Marathon County is doing okay, depending on where you're talking. The southern and eastern side is hurting more so, the western side of the county, the crops looks good. I would say Taylor and Lincoln are probably fine too."
Schlesser says the northern part of the state's corn growing region has benefited from less heat and more rain, "The northern half, we haven't gotten it so much. I mean, we're father north, we're farther away from the equator, so the temperatures haven't been so bad. Also, the soil is a big factor. Those counties that have more sand are going to be hurting a lot more."
The widespread drought may provide a windfall for those few lucky farmers. Corn prices hit a record high of more than eight dollars a bushel this week. Schlesser says they will go even higher, "Prices are going to be high. The corn price is thought to possibly by October go up to $10 a bushel. It's a great market for them right now. If they've got a nice product to sell, they're going to do very well."
Northern dairy farmers aren't faring so well. Many of them supplement their feed with corn purchased on the open market.