West central Michigan field crop regional report – June 6, 2013

Slow progress and relatively slow crop development in the west central region.


The heavy rains last week of 2.5 to 3 inches are still slowing field work in the west central region. Additional light rain showers later in the week on Thursday and Friday (May 30-31) prevented the rapid drying that was needed. Air temperatures have been quite cool for this time of year with highs in the 70s this week and only 63.8 degrees Fahrenheit on June 2. Low air temperatures dipped into the 30s this week on the morning of June 3; no frost was observed or reported. Planting and development of many crops continues to be slow this spring.

Soil conditions remain generally wet, tile lines were easily observed in several areas earlier this week. Well-drained sandy soils were dry enough to work in the Montcalm, Mich., area Tuesday, June 4, but many fields have low or poorly drained areas that remain very wet with standing water not uncommon.


Corn planting has continued this week. Many producers are calling it done due to the late date and weather forecast showing good chances of additional rainfall over the next several days, which will continue to delay field work. As of today (June 6, 2013) I estimate 98 percent of the crop has been planted up from 80 to 85 percent last week. It is not that great progress was made this week, but rather many will not plant all of the corn acres they intended.

Many fields have emerged and stands are fair to good. Advanced fields are at V4, most are exhibiting varying degrees of yellow and reddish-brown leaf colors due to the persistent, cool, cloudy weather and slow growth.

Wheat is from boot stage to early flowering depending on the field and in many cases the area of the field. As has been described in this report previous weeks, nitrogen loss, stress from flooding, as well as other variables has led to a crop that in many instances is not only behind its normal maturity, but is more uneven in maturity than normal.

Fusarium head scab will be an issue of concern over the next several days for wheat growers. The Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center offers a computer model that can help growers and consultants assess the risk of head blight. If you decide to make a fungicide application, be sure to note the predominate growth stage of each individual field.

Leaf diseases such as powdery mildew are generally at very low levels. Cereal leaf beetle is present in low numbers in many fields. Continue to be on the lookout for signs of armyworm. States to the south of us, notably Indiana and Illinois, have experienced a few very widely scattered hotspots. While there is not likely to be a large population in Michigan this year, some areas may see a few.

Soybean planting continues this week with 50 to 60 percent of the crop in. Stands are generally good where soybeans have emerged, but development has been slow. Advanced fields have first trifoliate forming.

Alfalfa harvest began this week; much of this is being harvested for haylage. Closely monitor moisture levels in the harvested crop. According to Michigan State University Extension, haylage harvested too wet can have problems fermenting properly and can produce large amounts of leachate. Alfalfa weevil is present at varying levels; continue to scout for this pest, especially if harvest is not imminent.

Dry bean planting has not begun in the west central region due to cool, wet soil conditions.

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

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