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Rainfall holds key to state's agricultural outlook

Published On: Jan 23 2013 02:23:31 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Agriculture experts said the biggest wildcard in predicting Wisconsin's crop production this year is moisture.

Last year's drought was severe enough that most fruit and vegetable crops were hit hard. The crops that fared well were largely those that could tap into water reserves deep in the soil.

This year those water reserves are partially depleted, and it would take about 12 inches of rain statewide to replenish them. Less rain could also be adequate, but even so crop experts said they're straining to find reasons for optimism.

Rainfall was below average in November, and December through February are traditionally Wisconsin's three least rainy months.

Experts at an agricultural forum in Madison said Wednesday the crops at greatest risk from another prolonged drought are corn and soybeans.

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