Northeast Michigan field crop regional report – May 5, 2016

Fieldwork was just beginning before spring rains moved into the region.

Weather and rainfall

Warm, dry weather early in the week afforded many producers opportunities for spring fieldwork including manure, fertilizer and burndown herbicide applications, as well as secondary tillage. Approximately 0.60 inch of light to moderate rainfall on Wednesday, May 4, halted progress in the field, and additional light precipitation events forecast for this weekend and much of next week may keep tractors in the shed for some time. The 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks from NOAA predict slightly below normal temperatures with near normal precipitation totals over the next couple of weeks.

Growing degree-days (GDD)

High air temperatures over the last seven days have ranged from 48 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit with nighttime lows between 27 and 43 F. GDD accumulations since March 1 total 499.1 base 32 F, 194.3 base 42 and 76.9 base 50. Our region remains almost perfectly on-track with the base 50 GDD five-year average (excluding 2012 as an outlier) for this point in the season.

Soil temperatures at a 2-inch depth have averaged 46 F over the last few days, exceeding the minimum temperature required for oat germination (41 F) and fast approaching the 50-degree threshold that is recommended for planting corn and soybeans.

Commodity reports

Winter wheat continues to green-up, aided by recent rain and early nitrogen fertilizer applications. Stands range in development from Feekes stage 2 to stage 4. Winter annual weed pressure is significant in some fields and summer annuals are beginning to germinate. All labeled herbicides remain available based on growth stage of the crop in our region, but certain products including 2,4-D cannot be applied once wheat enters the joining stage of growth (Feekes 6).

No true armyworm or black cutworm moths were trapped at our monitoring sites this week. Pheromone traps from south to central Michigan are beginning to catch small numbers of these species.

Alfalfa and forage grasses are greening-up, but growth has been slowed by cool temperatures. Topdressing of fertilizer will continue once soils dry and seeding of new forage stands will likely begin next week.

Virtually no small grains, corn, potatoes or soybeans have been planted in northeast Michigan. However, there was a report of at least one soybean field planted May 3 in Presque Isle County. This is unusually early for our area, and it will be interesting to observe how long the crop takes to emerge and what quality of stand is achieved. Statewide, only 8 percent of our anticipated corn crop is in the ground, putting Michigan last in planting progress among Midwest states.

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