Central Michigan field crops regional report – September 7, 2012

Keep your fields covered during the winter months. Also, don’t forget to join us Sept. 13 in St. Johns, Mich., for an aerial seeding demonstration workshop.


The region received scattered showers over the past week, providing some much needed moisture for maturing crops. The amounts varied from a few tenths of an inch in the northern parts of the region to just over 3 inches in the southern parts. Crops are progressing well ahead of normal with the warm, dry weather. The forecast is for more warm weather for the next two to three weeks, so the threat of an early frost is minimal.

Commodity reports

The corn crop is maturing rapidly with the warm, dry weather. Harvest of corn silage is just getting underway this week with the pace picking up next week. Harvest moistures vary widely depending on planting date and the amount of rain received during the growing season. Yields are being called average. As the corn crop matures, now is a good time to consider an end of season stalk nitrate test to determine how effective your nitrogen management strategies were this season.

Early planted and shorter season soybeans are turning rapidly with some fields beginning to drop leaves. The later-group beans are still green and filling pods at the top of the plant. Yield estimates are all over the board with some areas expecting above average yields while others are hoping for average yields. This year, yields will depend on soil type and rainfall. There are questions on just how much yield might have been lost from spider mites as well as other insects. Double crop beans are flowering and setting pods. The forecast for a long, warm fall is welcomed for this crop.

Harvest of fourth cutting alfalfa is well underway. Yields are reported as very good. This will provide some relief for livestock producers that will be short of forage due to smaller than normal yields from the previous cuttings. New seedings are emerging and doing very well. Farmers are advised to consider their fall cutting schedule and fertility program to insure good winter survival of their alfalfa stands.

Dry bean harvest is just getting underway. Most fields will be ready for harvest next week.

Many farmers are adding cover crops into their cropping systems. For additional information on cover crops and to learn more about aerial seeding cover crops, you can attend an aerial seeding demonstration and workshop on September 13 at Phillips Orchard & Cider Mill, 1174 W. Gratiot County Line Road, St Johns, Mich. (view map). The program will start at 9 a.m. Participants will have an opportunity to look at four different cover crop species aerial seeded on four different dates in corn and soybeans. Weather permitting, there will be an aerial application for participants to view. A pig roast lunch will be served. For more information, contact Christina Curell at 231-745-2732, Dean Baas at 269-467-5646 or Paul Gross at 989-772-0911 ex.t 302.

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