Farmers going to high heights to battle nature

Jesse Ritka

Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Farmers going to high heights to battle nature

CREATED Jul. 10, 2013

EAST TROY – Last year farmers were wishing for rain.  This year, they are wishing it the rain would end.  All the water we’ve seen this year is stunting the crops and causing other problems in the field.

“We just kept crossing our fingers that the rain would stop and we just kept checking the weather and it was more rain.  More rain," but Carrie Mess doesn’t let the weather stop her dairy farm from running.  Though it can’t run without her corn and alfalfa crop either.

"That's our cow chow!" she explains.

There is nearly an eight inches surplus of precipitation in southeastern Wisconsin and all that extra water is creating more than just muddy fields. 

"All that moisture, the weeds grow great, the corn struggles, and the bugs are just crazy," Mess exclaims.

It’s been too wet to spray insecticide and herbicide on her many rows of future feed.

"Our cows would really like to eat that, not the bugs, so we had to take some measures to help."

A measure flying feet above the crops, Mess ended up enlisting the help of Mark Frey of MF Helicopters.

“We get a lot more done in a day than they can, and we don't make a big mess in the muddy fields, so we can get in there and get the job done when they can't," said Mark.

Hiring a helicopter to spray Carrie’s fields cost almost double what ground treatment does, but this year’s wet weather didn’t leave her many options. 

"Couldn’t really say no, it's that or not have a crop for our animals to eat," she explains.

Otherwise, Mess would have to gamble with the ground equipment getting stuck in the mud. 

It’s a time when Frey says MF Helicopters shines through the mud.

"If they can't get to it, the bugs will get to it and that's where we come in and save their crop." 

It saves some time as well, Carrie notes.

"They came in and did all the fields we needed to have done in about an hour."

All the rain has created the most successful year for the helicopter crop dusting business in Frey’s time owning MF Helicopters, a welcome upswing from last year’s drought. 

He thinks Mother Nature has her own way of balancing things out.

“If you can weather the storm, so to speak, it evens out in the end, you just have to be prepared for it."

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