North central Michigan field crop regional report – August 7, 2014

Late planting and cool temperatures slow crop maturity in the north central region.


There has been adequate rainfall across the north central region over the past two weeks. Most areas received at least 1 inch of rain while farmers in the northern parts measured over 2 inches. Some areas of the region had hail, but there has been very limited crop damage reported. The bigger concern is how far behind the crop is because of late planting and the cooler than normal summer temperatures.

Looking at the Michigan State University Linwood Enviro-weather station, growing degree day (GDD) accumulation to date is about 1,450 with the five-year average reported at 1,689. When you consider most corn hybrids planted in the region require about 2,500 GDD to reach maturity, a warm August and September will be needed. Unfortunately, the weather forecasts are predicting cooler than normal temperatures. Michigan State University Extension encourages farmers to consider all their marketing options to maximize profits if the growing season continues as predicted.

Commodity reports

Corn is progressing slowly with the cooler than normal temperatures. It appears this year will be the tale of two crops. The early planted corn is pollinating and looks very good with the potential for record yields. The later planted crop is just tasseling and it will be a race to maturity. The late planted corn will need a frost-free September.

There has been very low insect pressure. Western bean cutworm moth traps have produced low numbers this year. There have been reports of high numbers of corn rootworm adults in some areas. Continue to scout corn fields for pest problems. This is also a good time to evaluate your stands and any problems areas in fields.

Soybeans seem to be really turning the corner. Earlier this season the crop struggled with less than ideal planting conditions. The crop varies across the region, but most are in R-3 to R-5. There are no real insect problems at this point. Some fields have root diseases because of the excess rains and saturated soils earlier in the growing season. There are some farmers concerned with weed problems because the slow crop growth slowed full canopy.

Wheat harvest is still wrapping up. There is about 15 percent of the crop to be harvested due to late maturity and less than ideal harvest weather. Farmers are advised to manage weeds in these harvested fields. Consider planting a cover crop to help manage weeds, scavenge nitrogen, break up any compaction and improve soil health. “Cover Crop Choices Following Winter Wheat” is an excellent reference to aid in selecting a cover crop species to meet your farm’s objectives.

Harvest of third cutting alfalfa is just getting under way is some areas. Most farmers have been pleased with the yields and quality this season. It appears third cutting yields will be very good. There are no reported problems with potato leafhoppers at this point.

Oats and barley are progressing slowly. The later planting this spring and uneven maturity is pushing back harvest this season. Most farmers are expecting normal yields.

Dry beans are flowering and setting pods. Stands are mixed. Scout fields for potato leafhoppers as some farmers are reporting high numbers. The numbers of western bean cutworm moths caught in traps have been very low this summer.

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