Central Michigan field crop regional report – June 23, 2016

Crops are beginning to show moisture stress.


Large portions of the region have been missed by the scattered showers over the past week. Many crops are showing signs of drought stress, especially those on coarse-textured soils. According to the Michigan State University Freeland Enviro-weather station, the rainfall total starting April 1 is 4.65 inches, which is 5.13 inches less than the five-year average of 9.78 inches. Growing degree-day (GDD) totals are near normal with this year’s accumulation of 794 GDD, just eight GDDs less than the five-year average of 802 GDD. It will be critical the region receive much needed rain for farmers to achieve normal yields.

Commodity reports

Corn has gotten off to a good start across the region, with most at V6 and some fields approaching V10. Corn on the lighter soils has been curling due to drought stress. Nitrogen applications are winding down and herbicide applications have been going on over the past week. There have been no reported insect or disease problems. MSU Extension advises farmers to follow up on the herbicide applications to evaluate the effectiveness of the herbicides. Weeds not controlled may have resistance and should be monitored and screened.

Soybeans are progressing with early planted fields approaching V5. Herbicide applications are being made. Farmers are advised not to hold off spraying fields in these dry conditions. Excessive weed pressure can rob yield from the crop even at this early stage. No disease or insects reported at this time. Farmers are encouraged to follow up on the effectiveness of the herbicides and take appropriate action if there are escapes.

Wheat is under stress from moisture and disease issues. Wheat on coarse-textured soils is burning up this past week with the heat and lack of rain. Wheat on fine-textures soils is holding its own. Stripe rust is still spreading across several fields that were not treated with a fungicide. Farmers are frustrated with a crop that started off so well and are now seeing it steadily decline. On a positive note, no sign of head scab has been observed.

Alfalfa and hay harvest has pretty much wrapped up. Most are reporting good quality and excellent yields. The regrowth of second cutting is 10-12 inches with harvest to begin next week, depending on weather. New alfalfa seedings are in need of rain.

Oats are heading with barley heading just around the corner. Both crops are off to a good start with good stands observed. No reported problems at this time.

Dry bean planting should wrap up this week. Growers have been holding off for some rain before planting. Where soil conditions are favorable, emergence has been quick and stands good. Some fields planted this week will need rain to come up. No problems at this time.

Did you find this article useful?