Michigan’s Thumb area field crop regional report – May 8, 2014

Cool, wet weather continues to cause delays for field work and planting for all crops.

Alfalfa field showing winterkill.
Alfalfa field showing winterkill.


Rain across the Thumb has prevented most field work for the last week. Conditions continue to be hampered by cooler than normal temperatures. Rainfall during the week shows a high of 1 inch in Pigeon, Michigan, and a low of 0.13 inches in Emmett, Michigan, according to Michigan State University Enviro-weather. To check for rainfall near your location, go to www.enviroweather.msu.edu for detailed information.

Due to the cooler temperatures – four to seven days behind normal – and the possibility of cooler than normal summer temperatures, farmers are considering reducing corn maturities as they start their planting.

Commodity reports

Sugar beet planting is approximately 35-40 percent and the earliest planted areas have emerged with good stands being reported.

Alfalfa fields continue to show winter injury and widespread winterkill has been reported. Most plants that were slow to break dormancy have greened up and are growing slowly. Patience is encouraged before any fields are worked. Roots that are still firm, white and show green growing are still alive and will have harvestable forage. Yields will be less than normal, but stands may still be viable for the growing season. Some interseeding of cool season grass has occurred in fields in the southern part of the Thumb.

Wheat field stands are poor and stand assessments continue across the region. Some nitrogen applications have been applied in well-drained fields. Martin Nagelkirk, Michigan State University Extension senior educator, is recommending that stands with less than 12 plants per foot of row be closely evaluated. The challenge is that fields are very inconsistent.

Corn and soybean planting is well behind the five-year average and is less than 10 percent complete. For more information on corn planting decisions, see “Web-based corn growing degree day tool helps with planting decisions.”

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

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