There’s no doubt about it — 2021 has been another challenging year. COVID-19 is still out there, and while students are back in school instead of attending virtually, farm shows returned and fans are able to attend sporting events this year — not all families can gather, people are still getting sick with COVID-19, and sadly, many are dying from the disease.
Thankfully, not everything that happened this year has been bad. There were many bright spots, and plenty of reasons to be thankful and count our blessings:
Thankful for life. Anyone reading this column should be happy to be alive. Being healthy and alive, especially this year, is nothing to sneeze at! If I have learned anything since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it is that we can’t take our health for granted — and without good health, little else matters.
Great growing season for most. While southern Wisconsin was hit with drought and parts of northeastern Wisconsin got more rain than they needed, much of the state had an ideal growing season with excellent weather. A dry spring allowed fieldwork to begin in April and crops to be planted early and in near record time. While it was drier than most farmers liked in May and June, rains did fall in late June and July across most of the state except southern Wisconsin, which led to bumper crops of corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. I heard few complaints about beautiful weather in September and October.
Good yields. Despite dry weather in southern Wisconsin, many farmers were pleasantly surprised with excellent crop yields this summer and fall. According to Greg Bussler at the National Agricultural Statistics Service office in Madison, Wisconsin corn is expected to yield 172 bushels per acre this year, down 1 bushel from last year. Soybeans are forecast to average 54 bushels per acre, which is 2 bushels more than last year. Wheat averaged 75 bushels per acre, which is 6 bushels more than 2020.
Strong crop prices. In addition to excellent crop yields, Wisconsin grain farmers enjoyed great grain prices, pushing corn to $5.64 per bushel, soybeans to $12.50 per bushel and wheat to $7.43 per bushel.
Above-average dairy prices. Milk and cheese prices experienced far less volatility in 2021 than they did in 2020. That was both good and bad. While prices didn’t get as low as they did last year and we had fewer problems with negative PPDs (predicted price differentials), milk and cheese prices weren’t as high as they were last year. But the Class III milk price is ending the year on a high note, with prices in the $18s and Class III milk futures in the $18s through July.
My husband and I are looking forward to gathering this holiday season with our sons and their families. Last year our gatherings were virtual, so this is a definite improvement, and I plan to enjoy our time together. Here’s to a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year’s to you and your loved ones.
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