Central Michigan field crop regional report – May 16, 2013

Adjust planting depth as topsoil begins to dry out.


Light rains over the weekend slowed planting progress early in this week. Temperatures dipped to 28 degrees Monday morning (May 13), causing some frosted tips on alfalfa in low-lying areas. No yield loss is expected. Dry conditions have allowed planting to resume at a rapid pace. Growing degree day (GDD) accumulation at the Freeland Enviro-weather station is at 231 GDD with 254 GDD being the five-year average.

As the topsoil dries out, farmers are advised to adjust planting depth accordingly. The most common planting depth for corn is 1.5 to 2 inches, and for soybeans is 1 to 1.5 inches. The guiding principle is to plant deep enough to reach adequate moisture. The shallower depths are desirable when planting early in the moist, cooler soils. As temperatures increase and soils dry out, planting depth must be monitored closely. Modern planters have very good depth control and better closing systems. This could cause some farmers planting too shallow as things dry out. Shallow planting into dry soils could result in uneven emergence and reduced stands, both could result in lower yields. Make adjustments when going from field to field and as soil types change.

Commodity reports

Corn planting is progressing rapidly as fields dry out. It is estimated that the crop is 50 percent planted with no emergence at this time. Most are reporting field conditions improving and are planting in fair to good conditions. Most farmers are being rewarded for their patience and are able to plant whole fields and not having to leave wet spots unplanted.

Soybean planting is progressing as most farms focused on corn, but are now turning to getting soybeans planted. It is estimated that 20 percent of the crop is planted.

The wheat crop is in Feekes 6 with a lot of variability in growth based on planting date. There have been a few fields that have been destroyed and planted to another crop. There is powdery mildew and Septoria in some fields, but at low levels. Scout fields for insects and foliar diseases.

Alfalfa was hit by the frost early in the week, but has recovered. The crop is approaching 12 inches in height and has a PEAQ reading of 30 NDF. No insect problems at this time. With temperatures expected to increase, the crops will be progressing rapidly and harvest is right around the corner. New seedings are doing well.

Oats and barley planting is complete with early planted field emerging. Stands are very good. Scout fields for alfalfa weevil.

Other Michigan State University Extension field crop regional reports from this week:

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