Central Michigan field crops regional report – July 26, 2013

Rain will be needed soon in the central region.


The northern parts of the central region have been receiving timely rains that have kept crops progressing in a near normal fashion. The rainfall totals for the last two weeks range from a trace to over 1 inch. The region is in need of a good rain soon to prevent additional yield loss. The mid-90s and extreme heat index last week were more that crops could handle on the sandy soils. Some areas of these fields suffered permanent damage. This week’s cooler temperatures bring some relief from the dry conditions as much of the corn crop enters the critical pollination period.

Commodity reports

The corn crop varies across the region from waste high to pollinating. The early planted corn has been better able to handle the dry conditions and the cooler temperatures are providing some relief as it enters pollination. Western bean cutworm moth trap numbers are low. Five moths per trap were the highest numbers caught last week. Michigan State University Extension advises growers to continue to scout corn fields for problems. Place emphasis on evaluating weed control for herbicide resistant weeds as well as corn root worm damage.

Soybeans are flowering and setting pods in early planted fields. The crop varies widely across the region depending on planting date. Soybean aphid populations seem to have leveled out in most areas and are well below thresholds. Continue to scout fields for insect and disease problems. Be alert for herbicide resistant weeds. These weeds continue to grow despite multiple herbicide applications.

Wheat harvest continues as farmers struggle to get this crop in the bin. Overcast days and heavy dew in the mornings has been keeping the moisture elevated. The white wheat has been harvested, but there are a considerable number of acres of red wheat to be harvested. Yields and quality have been all over the board with no consistent pattern shedding light on final yields.

This year’s wheat crop has had one issue after another. Early in the year there was ice covering wide areas, followed by excessive rains with water ponding, then cool, damp morning that were nearly ideal for disease. Some of the intensively managed fields could not overcome these conditions and resulted in mid-50 bushel yields. Hessian fly damage was detected in a few fields. These fields were planted one day after the fly free date. This is another pest to monitor in the future. Consider planting a cover crop on these harvested wheat fields to protect the soil, build organic matter and produce nitrogen for next year’s crop.

Harvest of second cutting alfalfa is wrapping up with good growth on the third crop. Most farmers are calling yield very good. Scout these fields for potato leafhoppers.

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

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