Central Michigan field crop regional report – May 9, 2013

Slow down – planting speed can impact yields.


A week with no rain has allowed fields to dry out and planting to get underway. Most farmers were able start field work early in the week and are making good progress as conditions continue to improve. Farmers have been very patient waiting for fields to dry out and should be rewarded with good stands and uniform emergence. The warm temperatures this week brought growing degree accumulation to normal to one to two days ahead of the long-term averages for the central region of Michigan.

The slower start for planting this spring has everyone trying to speed up planting. A planting speed study, “Planting Speed Effects on Stand Establishment and Grain Yield of Corn,” conducted at Purdue University by Bob Nielsen indicated that planting speeds of 6 and 7 mph can potentially reduce yields up to three bushels per acre compared to 4 and 5 mph when analyzed across 21 planters used in the study. Seeding rates increased by an average of 710 plants per acre at 7 mph compared to speeds of 4 and 5 mph. Plant spacing variability worsened with faster speeds across all of the planters. The variability in seeding rates, plant spacing variability and yield loss greatly depended on age and maintenance of the planter. The bottom line is the effects of planting speed in corn can be important in stand establishment and the resulting yield. Know your planters optimal planting speed and stay within that range.

Commodity reports

Corn planting is well underway where field conditions allow. Very good progress is expected ahead of predicted rain. Planting conditions are reported to be adequate, but improving.

Some soybeans are being planted, but the emphasis is on planting corn.

The wheat crop is in Feekes scale 4-6 and growing rapidly with the warm temperatures. Nitrogen and herbicide applications are being made as time allows. Michigan State University Extension wants to remind growers that 2,4-D cannot be safely applied to wheat after Feekes scale 6. No disease problems reported at this time.

Planting of oats and barley is wrapping up with early planted field emerging. New alfalfa seedings have been planted and are beginning to emerge.

The alfalfa crop is 8 to 10 inches tall and reading 25 NDF on the PEAQ stick. Scout this crop for alfalfa weevil.

Follow crop progress and pest updates throughout the growing season from MSU Extension.

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

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