West Central Michigan field crops update

A few dry days are helping field conditions improve and some work is being done.

What can we say about the weather – in a word, “improving.” Patience will likely pay this year as soil conditions remain cool and wet with saturated subsoil. Soil conditions remain less than ideal for tillage and planting through most of the West Central region. We have now had five days with no appreciable rainfall. High air temperatures are in the 50’s to lower 60’s. Low soil temperatures are in the mid 40’s.

Water ponding.
Water ponding.

Wheat is at Feekes stage 5. Most has been top-dressed. Several fields have drowned-out spots and areas that were not top-dressed due to soil conditions. Many fields will be advancing in the next week to 10 days to Feekes 6, which is when the growing point rises and becomes more vulnerable to injury from growth regulator herbicides. Little disease pressure has been observed so far. Fields should be monitored for powdery mildew in the coming weeks.

Rye is at Feekes 6 to 7. Many fields that have rye as a cover crop are getting the burndown applications this week. With the spring rush upon us, watch rye cover crops closely over the next few weeks as growth will advance rapidly and these covers will become increasingly difficult to kill.

Oat planting is progressing with approximately half the crop in. A few early fields are emerging.

Less than 1 percent of the corn crop is planted as of May 5. Wet soil conditions continue to be the factor limiting planting progress. Again patience will likely pay this year as soil compaction created now will haunt you later.

Potato planting is progressing, despite in many cases far less than ideal field conditions. The need to get seed pieces that have been cut for as long as two to three weeks and more, as well as the calendar is pushing growers to get seed in the ground.

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