Central Michigan field crop regional report – April 29, 2015

The 2015 planting season is off to a good start in central Michigan.


After a week of wintery weather, dry conditions across the central parts of Michigan have dried out fields, allowing planting of the 2015 crops to get off to a good start. Mid-morning soil temperatures are about 50 degrees at 4 inches on untilled fields.

Growing degree day (GDD) totals at the Michigan State University Freeland Enviro-weather station are 147 GDD base 50 for corn with the five-year average being 198 GDD. Alfalfa base 41 GDD are currently 195 with the five-year average being 268 GDD.

The region has received 3.02 inches of rain since March 1, 2015, which is lagging behind the five-year average in rainfall totals of 5.22 inches. The drier than normal conditions are making for good planting progress. Farmers are reporting near ideal planting conditions.

Commodity reports

Corn planting began mid-week across the region and is progressing at a rapid pace. Farmers are reporting ideal planting conditions. Farmers are encouraged to get the burndown and pre-plant herbicides out in a timely manner.

Some soybeans are being planted on farms that have the equipment and manpower to plant corn and soybeans at the same time. It will be important that farmers scout soybean fields for weeds that are tough to manage or have herbicide resistance. Michigan State University Extension weed specialist Christy Sprague has an excellent article on this subject, “Early management horseweed control in soybeans is important.”

The wheat crop has come through winter in excellent shape. Growth stages vary widely based on planting date. The crop is progressing fast enough that farmers are advised to get the herbicide applications made if you are planning on using a growth regulator herbicide. With temperatures predicted in the 70s next week, the crop could be past Feeke’s growth stage 6 where these herbicides can be used safely. The winter annual weeds are doing well and need to be controlled. There are no reported insect or disease problems at this time.

The sugar beet crop will be nearly all planted by the weekend.

Oats and alfalfa seeding will be wrapped up by week’s end. Planting conditions have been excellent with some very early oats just emerging. The alfalfa crop came through winter with little to no winterkill. No problems are reported at this time.

Follow crop progress and pest updates throughout the growing season at MSU Extension Field Crop News.

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