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Wisconsin farmer pushes to make hay while the sun is shining

A central Wisconsin farmer is making hay while the sun is shining, a difficult task with so many rain showers this spring.

Dairy farmer T.J. Draeger from Marathon City is trying to get as much alfalfa harvested as possible between rainstorms. “We’ve got about 300 acres cut down yesterday, hoping that the sun and the wind stay with us today and that we can get that started this afternoon and hopefully be able to beat the rain before Friday evening.”

Wednesday and Thursday have been the only dry days since Saturday.  Draeger plans to cut another 200 acres of hay today, and he says the crop is better than he expected. “Our aphids aren’t too bad, I mean, you always have a little bit. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of winterkill or anything. We actually came through the winter a lot better off that what we had anticipated.”

Draeger says he’s got about two-thirds of his corn planted, and some beans to plant, but since most of his corn ends up as silage, Friday’s crop insurance planting deadline isn’t as big of a concern as it is for some of his neighbors. “I know of a number of farms around here that haven’t planted a kernel yet, and man, that’s got to be frustrating this year.” Draeger says all of his acres will get planted, even if late with shorter-season varieties because, “you have to feed the girls.”

Draeger is a third-generation dairy farmer with 700 cows.  He transitioned to robotic milking last year.

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