North Central Michigan field crop regional report – May 22, 2014

Is it time to consider changing maturity of your corn hybrids?


The five-day forecast is calling for more normal conditions, which should allow fields to start drying and planting to resume. With June 1 approaching and looking at the wet fields, most farmers are considering switching to shorter season hybrids to ensure crop maturity this fall. According to “Using Climatological Information for Corn Hybrid Selection,” the normal number of 50-degree-Fahrenheit growing degree days (GDD) accumulated between a planting date of June 1 and the first killing frost in North Central Michigan is about 2,000 GDD. With this in mind, if you will not be planting some fields until then, consider planting an earlier hybrid that will reach maturity in that timeframe. Making the switch can have big economic implications. The decision to switch to shorter season hybrids will depend on the continued extent of the delay, your location and field conditions, seed availability, your assessment of risk, and the economic impact. Consider all these factors before making the switch.

Commodity reports

A small number of acres of corn were planted over the weekend, May 17-18, in the sandy soils and a few select well-drained loams. Showers mid-week dropped about 0.5 inches of rain, halting planting for the next few days. The weeds are getting a good head start and should be controlled as soon as possible. We are catching some black cutworm moths in traps, so scout weedy fields for this pest.

Soybean planting will get underway when fields dry out. There have been a few acres planted on sandy soils.

The wheat crop is in Feekes 6-7 and continues to progress. Farmers have not been able to make any nitrogen or herbicide applications because of the wet conditions. At this stage, farmers are encouraged to evaluate the value of herbicides depending on weed size and wheat growth stage.

We are not seeing any disease pressure at this time. To learn more about this year’s wheat crop, consider attending the Wheat Field Day May 28, 2014 at the Hauck Seed Farm from 10 a.m. to noon. Michigan State University Extension wheat educator Martin Nagelkirk and agribusiness representatives will be on hand to discuss this year’s crops and suggest management strategies for the rest of the season. There will be RUP credits for this meeting.

Alfalfa is nearly 12 inches tall in some fields and growing very well despite the cooler conditions. These fields will be ready to cut while farmers are still planting. It will be important to scout these fields for alfalfa weevil. There are reports of high weevil numbers in southern Michigan, so we can expect the same here in the north.

Oats and barley that were planted early are doing very well. There are still a number of farmers that still need to plant. There is still time to plant and expect good yields.

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

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