Central Michigan field crop update – July 13, 2017

Wet conditions persist in central Michigan. Patience is still needed.


The central Michigan region continues to get rain with each passing weather front. This growing season is best defined as “when it rains, it pours.” The region has received 17.76 inches of rain since April 1, which is 8.22 inches above the five-year average recorded at the Michigan State University Freeland Enviroweather station. Growing degree-day (GDD) totals at this station are 1,184 GDD, which is 35 GDD behind the five-year average.

Needless to say, the excessive rain has created crop production challenges for farmers across the region. Wet field conditions are keeping farmers out of the fields for final herbicide and fertility applications. Crop conditions vary widely with a lot of the growing season remaining before final crop yields will be known.

Commodity reports

The corn crop is all over the board. Early planted corn is beginning to tassel while some didn’t make the “knee-high by the 4th of July” benchmark. There are still herbicide and nitrogen applications being made where field conditions permit.

There are significant areas in fields where there was standing water and the crop will not recover. Farmers are expressing concerns that some of the best looking fields are going backwards. Western bean cutworm traps set out July 1 have only caught single digit numbers at this point.

Soybeans are the wild card in terms of how they handled all the rain. Soybeans that were under water for 24-36 hours are dead, leaving big holes in fields. A number of growers have gone in over the weekend and filled in the holes, hoping for some yield in these areas.

Root rots have been identified in a number of fields and just how this will impact yields is the big question. There are still some herbicide applications that are needed when fields dry out. Weeds are an issue in a number of areas.

There is getting to be more concern about the wheat crop. It seemed to be the crop that took the rain the best, providing some optimism. The constant wet conditions are starting to concern wheat farmer as the crop matures. There are a number of potential grain quality issues.

Oats and barley seem to be fairing pretty well at this point, with no problems reported.

Alfalfa harvest has wrapped up with the nice harvest window this week. Farmers are reporting excellent yields and good quality.

Dry beans have taken the biggest hit with all the rain. A number of farmers in central Michigan did not get any beans planted and are choosing the prevented plant option on crop insurance. Some farmers replanted a high percentage of their acres, hoping for a favorable fall.

Sugarbeet stands seem to be going backwards with all the rain.

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