Central Michigan field crop regional report – July 29, 2016

Rains bring some relief from drought-like conditions.


Scattered showers have provided some relief from the drought-like conditions across the region. The amount varied with some areas receiving over 1 inch, others much less. The region is still 5.28 inches behind the five-year average of 12.49 inches based on the Michigan State University Freeland Enviro-weather station. Growing degree-day accumulation is 1,682 GDD, which is ahead of the five-year average of 1,656 GDD compounding the stress on the crops. Most crops look surprisingly good despite the below-average rainfall.

Commodity reports

Corn is in the pollination stage and doing remarkably well considering the lack of rain. Stands are variable based on the conditions at planting. Fields that were planted when the soil conditions were on the wet side have stand issues. There are no insect or disease problems at this time.

Soybeans are flowering and beginning to set pods. Overall the crop looks pretty good. Weed problems have continued to cause problems for a number of farmers. There is concern with the large number of weed escapes this year. This may be due to weather conditions at herbicide application time or resistance. The primary weeds that are a concern are marestail and waterhemp. Farmers are encouraged to get samples and submit them to the MSU Diagnostic Services for herbicide resistance screening.

Wheat harvest has wrapped up with most farmers reporting better than expected yields. In a number of cases farmers were reporting above average yields. Quality has been very good. MSU Extension encourages farmers to manage weeds in these fields and consider planting a cover crop if possible. See Cover crop choices following winter wheat (view in PDF) to help determine what species might best fit your goals for the cover crop.

Harvest of third cutting alfalfa will begin next week. Some farmers are just wrapping up second cutting. Many farmers are reporting low yields for second cutting so the rains over the past week will help provide some additional tonnage. No reported problems at this time.

Oat and barley harvest is right around the corner. Most fields have good yield potential at this time.

The dry bean crop is a little behind because some growers held off planting and waited for rain. It seems to have paid off in good stands. Farmers are encouraged to scout fields for insect populations. A western bean cutworm trap yielded 34 moths in just two days this week in central Michigan. 

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