West central Michigan field crop update – May 4, 2017

Heavy rains stopped the majority of field work in the west central region.


Approximately 2 to 3.5 inches of rain was received across much of west central Michigan over the course of the last seven days, putting the majority of field work on hold as most soils are saturated. A number of producers were able to do some spring tillage on well-drained soils, as well as apply manure and fertilizer.

Temperatures have ranged from the mid-40s to the low 70s for highs, and low 30s to mid-50s for lows. At Entrican, Michigan, we accumulated 321 growing degree-days (GDD) base 41 and 150 GGD base 50. Fremont, Michigan, totals are 332 GDD base 41 and 149 GDD base 50


Corn planting did get started on very well-drained soils, though less than 1 percent is in. Many fields that will go to corn have significant growth of common chickweed as well as other winter annuals. These will be attractive for black cutworm egglaying.

Soybean planting has yet to begin in earnest, though there is a field or two that has been planted.

Wheat is in Feeke’s stage 5 to 7 with the majority in 6. There are still a number of fields waiting to receive their first spring nitrogen application, as field conditions have remained too wet for equipment to make the application. A few fields have some leaf rust, however no stripe rust has been identified.

Oats have been planted with many more yet to be planted, as field conditions have not allowed early work in many areas. Early planted fields are beginning to emerge, but these are the exception.


We have been detecting armyworm and black cutworm flight on and off over the past two weeks. High-risk fields for both of these pests will need to be scouted in a few weeks for larvae activity. With relatively cool temperatures, the eggs of these two pests will be slow to hatch and young larvae slow to develop. Read “Spring moth flights and infestation potential for corn and wheat” by MSU Extension entomologist Chris DiFonzo for more information.

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