West central Michigan field crops regional report – July 25, 2013

Lower high temperatures have relieved stress on many crops in the west central region.


High temperatures ranged from the lower 90s to the upper 70s this week at Entrican, Mich. After last week’s heat wave with several days in the high 80s to mid-90s, the cooler temperatures are a welcome relief for most growers and most crops. Average relative humidity levels have been about 70 percent or so. Variable and light rainfall amounts were recorded in the central area over the past week with a few areas receiving 0.25 to 0.5 inches for the week. Many crops, especially those with a high water use rate on sandy soils, are now showing drought stress.


Most of the corn crop is in pollination, however there are a number of late-planted fields that are in the V10 to V14 growth stages. There are a number of fields, particularly the later-planted fields, that are showing drought stress after last week’s heat wave.

Flight of western bean cutworm continues with significant numbers of moths caught, however egg masses are scarce in all fields checked this week. Natural predators seem to be cleaning up this pest population in corn very effectively. Japanese beetles are easily found in most fields, but are doing little meaningful damage. Crop scouts should continue to monitor this pest through pollination as it does have the potential to clip silks. Corn rootworm adults have emerged and are present in several fields where corn was grown last year. It is important to understand the Bt traits in corn hybrids and contact your local Michigan State University Extension field crop educator if rootworm damage is significant in any hybrid that contains a Bt rootworm trait.

Soybeans are blooming and setting pods. Soybean aphids are present in many fields, however there is also an abundant supply of natural predators keeping populations low.

Dry beans are blossoming and setting pods. Japanese beetles are present in many fields. Scouts should begin looking for western bean cutworm damage next week. Pheromone trap counts averaged 24 last week and 99 this week in Montcalm County. While this is down from past years, dry bean growers in particular still need to monitor for this pest. Potato leafhopper levels should also be monitored closely in the coming weeks.

Wheat harvest is winding down. Yields have been variable with many growers reporting well above average yields and others reporting yields that were less than expected. Most of the crop harvested to this point has been relatively free of vomitoxin. Vomitoxin has been detected in some areas at low levels, less than 2ppm in many cases, but, like yields, has been quite variable.

Alfalfa harvest continues with second cutting by in large finished. Potato leafhopper adults and nymphs are present in nearly all fields and should be monitored closely.

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

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