Central Michigan field crops regional report – Aug. 8, 2013

Cool temperatures in the central region slow crop progress.


Several rain events over the past two weeks brought much needed moisture across the central Michigan region. Rainfall totals ranged from 0.5 to 1.5 inches. Most areas have been very dry with corn and soybeans showing signs of drought stress. The big concern at this point in the growing season is the cool temperatures. Looking at historic growing degree day totals, we are at or near normal. If you compare this season with the 2012 growing season, we are well over two weeks behind.

While this year’s growing degree day totals are near normal, this year’s later planting dates for much of the crop has reduced the growing degree day totals at this point in the season and is pushing physiological maturity later into the fall. For example, using data from the Freeland Enviro-weather station, growing degree day accumulation from March 1 of this year is 1,678, while the accumulation from June 1 is 1,249. Many 95-day hybrids require about 2,500 growing degree days to reach maturity. We still need a considerable number of degree days. As a result, an early frost could be devastating for these later planted crops.

Commodity reports

The corn crop varies widely with early planted fields approaching the milk stage while later fields have not tasseled. Yield prospects will vary with planting date. The crop is in need of warm weather. Insect and disease problems are at very low levels. There are some nutrient deficiencies in problem areas of fields. This is a good time to walk your fields and look for problems areas that can be corrected before next year’s crop.

Soybeans seem to be handling the cooler temperatures much better than corn. The rains over the past two weeks have been just enough for good pod fill. Plants are shorter than normal, but pod set is good. Insect and disease pressure is low. Michigan State University Extension advises growers to continue to scout these fields for problems.

Wheat harvest is wrapping up. The current cool, damp weather patterns have made it difficult to get the remaining wheat dry enough to harvest. Yields have been a little below average across the area, but some farmers have reported better than expected yields. Quality has varied widely. Farmers are reminded to manage the weeds in these fields.

Harvest of third cutting alfalfa is well underway. Yields are reported to be good. Making dry hay has been challenging this year. Light insect pressure has been reported. Scout fields for potato leafhoppers.

Harvest of oats and barley is just getting underway. Most are expecting average yields.

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

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