North central Michigan field crop regional report – August 21, 2014
Control weeds and plant cover crops in wheat stubble.
Most of the region has received adequate rainfall over the past two weeks. Crops have progressed with the timely rains, but most farmers are more worried about heat accumulation this growing season. Based on the Michigan State University Linwood Enviro-weather station, we have accumulated 1,750 growing degree days (GDD) currently with the six-year average at 1,979 GDD. This puts the corn crop at risk if we have an early frost. Unfortunately, the long range weather forecasts are not predicting the type of weather we need to complete the corn crop.
The corn crop is in a wide range of growth stages ranging from early pollination to early milk. From the road, the corn crop looks great, but when you take into consideration the calendar you get concerned. We simply need warm weather in September and early October to get this crop mature.
There have been no reports of insect or disease problems at this time. There are some fields that are showing signs of nitrogen deficiency. This is a good time to walk your fields looking for crop problems.
Soybeans seem to have turned the corner. After a slow start, many farmers are pleased with how the crop is progressing. Most are reporting good pod set and are fairly optimistic about yield potential. There are reports of white mold in some areas. Soybean aphid populations have been low.
Wheat harvest is complete and most of the straw has been baled. Michigan State University Extension advises farmers to control weeds in these fields if a cover crop has not been planted to keep weeds from going to seed. Farmers are also encouraged to plant a cover crop if they have not planted them in the past.
There are a number of benefits that can be gained with planting covers that are well known. Keeping your nutrients and soil on your farm is just one. Select cover crop species to give you the benefit you are looking for using the Midwest Cover Crop Selection Tool.
Oats and barley harvest has begun with very good yields reported. Rust is present in some oat fields.
Harvest of third cutting alfalfa is wrapping up for the farms that chop alfalfa. Getting hay dry has been another story. The weather has just not been ideal for getting hay dry. Yields are reported as very good.
Dry beans are flowering setting pods. Some farmers are reporting weed problems. Most are optimistic about yield potential.