Michigan’s Thumb area field crop regional report – May 12, 2016

Planting remains in high gear for most of the Thumb region.


During the last week, dry field conditions were evident across most portions of Michigan’s Thumb region. Rainfall totals for the past week averaged less than 0.2 inch of rain. With a chance of widespread rain over the next week (over 0.5 inch), farmers are pushing to get as much crop planted as possible.

According to Michigan State University Enviro-weather, the regional growing degree-day (GDD) totals from May 1-11, 2016, for corn ranged from a high of 75 GDD base 50 in Lapeer to a low of 53 GDD base 50 in Pigeon, and averaged 64 GDD base 50 for the area. Alfalfa GDD base 41 from March 1 - May 11 ranged from a high of 343 GDD base 41 in Lapeer to a low of 217 GDD base 41 in Pigeon, and averaged 294 GDD base 41.

Commodity reports

Corn planting has progressed rapidly in parts of the Thumb. The southwestern areas that include Genesee and Lapeer counties have been wetter, and farmers have indicated approximately 20-80 percent of their corn acres were planted. Soybean plantings are at nearly the same percent and I’ve observed soybean emergence at one field.

As you travel east and north into the Thumb, corn plantings range from 30 percent in St. Clair County to nearly 70 percent complete in Huron County. Soybeans are slightly behind corn and are estimated to range from 25-60 percent completed.

Sugarbeet planting is nearly 100 percent complete and fields are emerging with good stands being reported.

Alfalfa, barley and oat plantings are also progressing at a rapid rate with some farms reporting they are near completion.

Most wheat is at Feekes growth stage 6-8 according to MSU Extension educator Martin Nagelkirk. The wheat disease striped rust has been found in the area. This disease can reduce yields by significant portions if left untreated in susceptible varieties. For more information on this potential threat, see “Scout for stripe rust and other wheat leaf diseases now.”

For more information, contact me at 810-667-0341 or kaatz@msu.edu.

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