Central Michigan field crop update – May 21, 2020

Cold, frost, rain…what’s next?

Flooded field
Photo by Paul Gross, MSU Extension

The potential for soil crusting is likely after the heavy rains this week along with higher temperatures and sunshine predicted. Many fields have been planted but not emerged. In the case of soybeans, the fields have also been rolled. Soil crusting is likely to occur on fine textured soils with little residue and conventional tillage. Surface residue protects the soil surface from the impact of the raindrops creating crusting.

Keep an eye on fields where crusting will most likely occur to prevent emergence issues. If there are signs of crusting, be prepared to act quickly. This could include a rotary hoe operated in a timely manner. Operated correctly, it will break up existing compaction and improve emergence of the seedlings. Consider speed and depth while operating and stop often to check results, making sure you are breaking up the crust and not damaging the seedlings.

Weather report

Heavy rains over the past week will bring field operations to a halt for several days. According to the Michigan State University Enviroweather stations in Ithaca and Freeland, both reported over 4 inches of rain over the past week. Northern counties have report of up to 7 inches, causing severe flooding in parts of the region. Farmers are cautioned to wait until fields dry out before resuming field operations. The weather has been very cooperative this spring and allowed for planting at a record pace. The calendar is still in your favor so patience will be rewarded.

Pest report

Insect pressure has been relatively light this spring. Black cutworm moth catches around the central Michigan region in seven traps were one, nine, 36, nine, three, zero and seven. These numbers are up from the previous and about equal to the catches two weeks ago. These numbers are considers low at this time. When peak flight is reached, we can expect feeding after about 100 growing degree days (GDD) base 50.

Armyworm moth catches were climbing this week in one location. Moth numbers this week were 252 while only one moth was caught the previous week. Continue to monitor for these pests.

No reports of diseases at this point.

Commodity reports

Planting was progressing at a pace not seen in several years. It is estimated that about 75% of the corn is planted with many farmers finished. With the heavy rains this week, scout fields early for weed escapes. There are concerns with efficacy of the pre-plant herbicides with all the rains. For suggestion on postemergence herbicides, check out Erin Burns video on post-emergence weed control. Early planted corn is emerged.

Soybean planting is following at similar pace with an estimated 75% of the crop planted. There is very little emergence at this time.

The wheat crops is in Feekes growth stages 7-9. The crop is considered average. Stands are spotty is some area based on planting date and rainfall amounts last fall and this spring. Early planted fields have excellent yield potential. No diseases are reported at this time. Scout fields for disease pressure as well as monitoring the head scab prediction models. Farmers need to use all the tools making good decisions on fungicide applications.

How to connect

  • Please join Paul Gross and Monica Jean weekly on Wednesdays for your lunch break at 12:30 p.m. Farmer and agribusiness join to discuss what is happening in our central Michigan farming communities. No registration, just follow this link: https://bit.ly/lubrk4u
  • The MSU Extension field crops team has a Twitter and Facebook Please like or follow us @MSUEFieldCrops.
  • If you would like to be added to our regional newsletter, please email Monica Jean at atkinmon@msu.edu or Paul Gross at grossp@msu.edu.

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