Wheat watchers week of April 8, 2024

See how the wheat crop is progressing across the state this week.

A sectioned-off map of Michigan to represent the wheat watcher regions.
The Michigan wheat watcher zones. Map source: https://gisgeography.com/michigan-county-map/

This is week two of this season’s wheat watchers… Things should start getting exciting soon with the weather turning warm! This report will come out weekly until most of the state hits flower and then will switch to bi-weekly until most of the state has harvest. This report is only possible because of our agribusinesses and farmers who participate as wheat watchers. If you are interested in being a wheat watcher, especially if you see your area isn’t represented, please reach out to Michigan State University Extension field crops educator Jenna Falor at falorjen@msu.edu.

Overall, this week's reporters are seeing wheat stands in good condition ranging in Feekes growth stage 3-5. This means that the crop has mostly greened up but many report the crop greened up and stalled with the cooler weather the past week or two.

Southwest region 

We had two wheat watchers reporting in from southwest region, one from St. Joseph County near Centreville, Michigan, and the other from Barry County near Hickory Corners, Michigan. Wheat is reported to be at Feekes 4-5. The wheat watcher near Centreville is reporting wheat is really close to Feekes 6 but falling just short this week. Some fertilizer was applied earlier this week and is still going out across the area as of Wednesday, April 10. They expect the sudden warm up at the beginning of this week may move things along.     

For decorative purposes
Photo by Nicole Ritchie, MSU Extension

Southeast region 

We had one wheat watcher reporting from Jackson County near Rives Junction, Michigan. Wheat is still at a Feekes 5. Some spring-applied nitrogen at greenup has occurred. They are hearing of some instances of powdery mildew. 

East central (Thumb) region 

Wwe had two wheat watchers reporting from the Thumb, one from Huron County near Ubly, Michigan, and one from Tuscola County near Cass City, Michigan. Wheat has reached Feekes 4 across most of the area. Some farmers in the area have started going out with spring nitrogen. The warmup at the beginning of the week has really started moving wheat along. If we get the rain anticipated this week it will probably bring any field work to a stop again, but we will see what comes of that.  

For decorative purposes.
Photo by Jenna Falor, MSU Extension

Central region 

We had four wheat watchers reporting in from the central region, one in Isabella County near Mount Pleasant, Michigan, one in Gratiot County near Middleton, Michigan, and two from Saginaw County- with one near Frankenmuth -and one near Chesaning, Michigan. Wheat is reported at Feekes 4-5. Both wheat watchers in Saginaw County are reporting Feekes 4 with those in Gratiot and Isabella counties reporting Feekes 4-5 depending on field. All the wheat watchers are reporting that nitrogen applications have really picked up this past week, with applications having started a little earlier in the central part of the state on lighter ground. The wheat watcher in Gratiot County reports that some herbicide applications have started this week as well. The watcher near Isabella County is reporting that some of the later planted fields are suffering with some weed competition. Overall, all wheat watchers in this region report that the crop is off to a pretty good start with the warm weather with a limited number of ponding areas. 

For decorative purposes.
Photo by Madelyn Cevolsky, MSU Extension

West central region 

We had one wheat watcher reporting in from the west central region located in Kent County. Wheat has reached Feekes 4-5. Spring nitrogen applications are underway, but they haven’t heard of any herbicide going out yet. They are noticing more annual weeds this year, that didn’t die off due to lack of cold this winter. They are also noticing some purpling leaves in certain varieties due to a lack of heat and sugar movement in the leaves. They note they have been watching a field planted Dec. 15 that has almost caught up with fields that were planted in mid-November. 

North region 

We had no wheat watchers reporting from the northern area this week. 

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