DEERBROOK - Wisconsin farmers depend on alfalfa crop for feeding dairy cows.
Usually, alfalfa survives winter.
But a long, cold, and difficult winter is making things hard for many farmers.
"That's rot. The plant is green, and it's growing but it's not going to make another cutting," said farmer Jason Nagel.
This year's growing season will be a challenge for him.
"We had to scramble fast, we had to start tearing up fields that we anticipated to have hay off of," said Nagel.
450 of Jason's 510 acres are ruined, and instead of full green fields, we see patchy, crunchy, dead alfalfa.
Crop Consultant Chuck Bolte says a year of weird weather is to blame.
"Basically our issues this year were with the winter weather and last year's drought at the end of the growing season. And that's affected a lot of the alfalfa that was in the ground and we have a lot of winter kill," said Bolte "For the dairy farms of Langlade county and north eastern WI, alfalfa wise we're pretty desperate."
Winter kill affected 90 percent of alfalfa crops.
"When I walked the fields with our insurance adjuster the one day, it was the sickest feeling I've had in years. You walk out and you've got this brown stubble that's here. There's nothing there. And you have eleven hundred animals to feed," said Nagel.
Alfalfa crop from this farm goes directly into silage, which gets fed to about 600 dairy cows.
The temporary fix for feeding 600 cows means outsourcing feed, re-planting hundreds of acres and hoping for the best.
"We can do everything we think is right, we can follow the textbook, follow the research we can follow everybody's advice, but in the end it's what mother nature deals us," said Nagel.
RHINELANDER - You can expect to see a major reconstruction in Downtown Rhinelander in 2016. The downtown area will improve its look and layout through a "streetscape" project. The new look could include wider sidewalks, outdoor restaurant seating and parking changes on Brown Street, but before any of that happens, city leaders need feedback from their community.
Downtown Rhinelander Incorporated already had surveys filled out b businesses in the area about parking on Brown Street.
The construction company came up with a compromised solution. The proposal keeps Brown Street as a two way street, but there will be parallel parking on the west side and angled parking on the east side.
Gardens need some help with large temperature swings in summer
RHINELANDER - Northwoods heat the past few days forced plants to endure different weather, but you don't need to do extra gardening just because it's hot.
Experts at Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander say plants can manage the heat just fine. On hot, sunny days, many plants will wilt, but that doesn't mean they need more water.
"If the soil is moist on a hot day, I wouldn't water more. That's probably more harm. The plant can only take up so much moisture at a time, so I would just hold off on watering," says Sue Hanson, Hanson's Garden Village Co-Owner.
47-year-old Karen Wessell of Star Lake died in yesterday's swimming accident in Vilas County. A boater pulled 2 people out of the water after they started drowning on Star Lake. We now know Wessell died shortly after.
Wessell went under water during a rescue attempt.
The Vilas County Sheriff says 3 women and 4 kids were along Trampers Trail. 3 boys swam across the channel and were told to come back. They got tired swimming back to shore so the women had to help. Wessell used herself to push one of the boys above the water to keep him from going under. A boater saw them, pulled them out, and started doing CPR.
MERRILL - Members of a Northwoods union chapter gathered unique inspiration for a fundraiser - The Beatles.
Merrill-area Local 6 members gathered Wednesday on the Wisconsin flowage to raise money for groups in need of assistance. The union leaders organized boat rides, raffles, barbecues, and contests. The inspiration for the fundraiser came, in part, from the 1965 Beatles single Help!
"I found out it was the anniversary of the 'Help!' release from The Beatles record, and I decided, let's help our community," said Local 6 Vice President Valerie Nelson. "Our membership is very passionate about certain organizations within our community. One being the Lincoln County Humane Society, the local food pantry, and the American Cancer Society."
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