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'This is like January weather what we got here:' Farmers battle cold snap during harvest

Posted at 7:55 PM, Nov 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-12 20:55:22-05

OCONOMOWOC — The record-breaking cold snap leaves farmers in southeastern Wisconsin begging for fall-like weather to return as they finish their harvest.

Farmers in the town of Oconomowoc said the biggest problem with the snow followed by frigid temperatures is some are getting a late start to harvesting corn while their soy beans wait for a warm-up.

Farmers are always at the mercy of the weather, but this record-breaking cold snap hasn't been forgiving for those still in the fields like Grant Hopkins.

"I cannot remember this in the past ten years being so difficult," he said.

Hopkins spent Tuesday warm inside a combine harvesting corn a couple weeks late as he waited for snow to fall off the stalks. Hopkins said his corn is still in good shape and the frozen ground keeps him from getting stuck in the field, but more snow would be detrimental to his bottom line.

"If we get another 1 to 3 inches of snow we will have to stop again here and we just can't, we can't keep going, getting the combining done," Hopkins said.

Across the street, David Koepke said his 750 cattle prefer colder temperatures, but not this early in the fall.

"This is like January weather what we got here," Koepke said. "This morning it was only 4 degrees. It's way too cold for November."

Koepke is keeping his calves in huts and he's providing his cattle with extra feed and straw to lay on to create a cozy bed. Koepke remains optimistic these temperatures won't last much longer.

"I'm hoping we get some kind of Indian summer," he said. "Usually it's supposed to warm up after the first freeze, but this year it's just it's like December or January moved right in."

Koepke says the 1-2 inches of snow on the ground needs to melt soon so his soybeans aren't a total loss.