Regional reports on Michigan field crops – June 9, 2011

MSU Extension educators’ pest and field crop updates for Michigan.

This week’s regional reports:

Southeast Michigan – Ned Birkey, Michigan State University Extension

Southeast Michigan
Southeast Michigan

Weather has been hot and dry with five straight days of 90 degrees and two days of 97. Temperatures are moderating now as showers have moved into the area. Most soils have been very dry on top with some crusting, so the rains overnight and in the forecast are actually welcome. Some soils remain wet underneath, however, with some fields still too wet to work and plant.

Alfalfa is being cut and chopped or baled. With all the rain, the first cutting is very lush and the soil moisture should provide a good start to the second cutting.

Corn is still being planted in fields that have been wet. Advanced corn is at the V4 leaf stage. Some fields remain very weedy. Armyworms are present, although at low levels, in wheat and may move into the taller corn fields very soon. Post-spraying weeds in corn and sidedressing nitrogen is also happening.

Soybeans are being planted and will for a while as fields dry out. Advanced fields are at the V3 leaf stage. Bean leaf beetles are feeding, though not at threshold levels.

Wheat is headed, some is flowering and some is past flowering. Armyworms are present in wheat, though the hot temperatures have minimized feeding. I have not seen armyworms at or near threshold levels, though moderating temperatures by the weekend could change that. As the wheat is maturing, I would expect the armyworms to move into corn.

There is interest in planting cover crops into fields that have been prevented from going into corn. A pre-harvest field day at the MSU Wheat Variety Trial in Lenawee County will be held on Wednesday, June 22, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. The observation replication is signed and farmers can stop by anytime. The plot is located on Bucholtz Highway, north of Deerfield, at the corner of Holloway Road. A porkburger supper will be served. This is free of charge.

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Southwest Michigan – Bruce Mackellar, Michigan State University Extension

Southwest Michigan Southwest Michigan


A major improvement in the weather has finally allowed some of the wetter locations in the region to get field operations underway. A local agri-business said that this last weekend was like the first week in May. Everything from potash and seed to sidedress nitrogen was going out the door. That is the state of affairs for much of Michigan agriculture. It is common to see multiple and simultaneous field operations and everyone moving as fast as possible.

Severe thunderstorms on May 28 caused severe damage in portions of northern St. Joseph and southern Kalamazoo, Calhoun and Branch counties. There was a lot of damage to center pivot irrigation systems (40 to 50), trees down on buildings and even barns and bins destroyed near Vicksburg and Fulton. There did not appear to be widespread hail from the event – it was mostly straight line wind damage. Rainfall intensities were extremely high, causing erosion and low lying flooding damage. The weather since that time has been much warmer and drier. Temperatures over June 6-8 have been near the 100 degree mark. We are just beginning to irrigate on the lighter textured soils.


A quick look around the region shows that we are at 502 GDD’s Base 50 since May 1. The average GDD accumulation Base 50 in the region for the next 10 days is 17 per day. The 6 to 10 day and 8 to 14 day outlooks have southwest Michigan in the normal temperature range.


Rainfall amounts around southwest Michigan since May 1 range from 4.07 inches in Hartford to 6.88 inches in Scottsdale (near Benton Harbor), with the average being 5.18 inches across the 12 MSU Enviro-weather stations in the region. Rainfall totals since March 1 ranged from 11.58 inches in Hartford to 14.66 inches in Scottsdale. On average, the region is running between 3 to 6 inches above normal precipitation since April 1. The 6 to 10 and 8 to 14 day outlooks have southwest Michigan expected to be in the normal precipitation range.Tractor


Wheat has moved through flowering in the most advanced fields near the Indiana Border and near the 50 percent flowering mark in fields further to the north and east. Many producers opted to apply fungicides for Fusarium head blight prevention. Wheat continues to look good. I have walked many fields across the region. I have not seen significant numbers of armyworm in any of the fields I walked on Monday (June 6). There are reports of sporadic damage, so continue to monitor fields closely.Bales

First cutting alfalfa harvest has been fast and furious in the region. Most fields have been harvested over the last week. Monitor fields closely for alfalfa weevil larvae for damage on the regrowth. Also, there are rapidly increasing numbers of potato leafhoppers in the region. Be particularly sure to monitor your alfalfa regrowth for these small pests. They have the potential for causing significant damage to small alfalfa plants in relatively low numbers. Read about options in controlling potato leafhoppers and alfalfa weevil larvae on MSU Entomology’s Alfalfa Insect Pests fact sheet.

The story of corn in the southwest region all depends on when it was planted. The first planted corn is now approaching 14 to 15 inches in height. The latest planted corn is just emerging. We have just about every size and growth stage of corn in between fields. The early planted corn looks very good and sidedress operations are underway. Perhaps the largest challenge for corn is weed control. Many producers were not able to keep up with the spraying of preemergence – delayed preemergence weed control programs. A good portion of the fields are now approaching the 12-inch height restriction for some of these programs. The high temperatures have really pushed weed growth into high gear, where weeds such as giant ragweed are beginning to push the size envelope for easy control.

For more information on maximum weed and crop height restrictions, read MSU Extension’s E-434 Bulletin, Chemicals for Weed Control in Field Crops. For an update on field crop pests, read MSU field crops entomologist Chris Difonzo’s article, Scout now for armyworm and cutworm in southern and central Michigan. my article on Asiatic garden beetle, a new pest in Southwest Michigan. Continue to watch for cutworm and armyworm damage in fields, particularly those that had weed growth or cover crops standing into this spring. We have had one report of Asiatic garden beetle white grubs feeding in southern Allegan County causing a stand failure and replant in southern Allegan County.  To review Asiatic garden beetle damage in corn, read my article on Asiatic garden beetle, a new pest in Southwest Michigan.

Early planted soybeans are V2. Substantial acreages of soybeans are not yet emerged or just emerging. Monitor fields for black cutworm infestations. There were pockets of bean leaf beetle feeding on soybeans late last week. MSU plant pathologist Martin Chilvers has been out to several locations in Berrien, Van Buren and Allegan counties looking at examples of soybean seedling diseases. We have seen some incidences of Pythium in Van Buren County. I know of at least one field that was replanted here due to fungal diseases, even though treated seed was used. We also have seen some replants caused by pounding rainfall compaction and poor emergence just after planting.

Bean leaf beetle
Bean leaf beetle.

Related topic:

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West Central Michigan – Fred Springborn, Michigan State University Extension

West Central Michigan
West Central Michigan

Eight dry days with wind and high temperatures in the upper 80s to mid-90s has dried many soils enough to allow field work to progress at a rapid rate. Standing water and mud is still around in low areas of fields. Low soil temperatures are in the mid- to upper 60s. High air temperatures have ranged from the 70s to mid-90s, coupled with humidity levels near 60 percent evaporation and evapotranspiration rates have been quite high.

Corn growth stage ranges from just planted to V6. Condition of the crop ranges from excellent to fair at best. Corn planted this week is emerging rapidly in as little as 3.5 days. Approximately 85 to 90 percent of the corn that was intended to be planted is planted. Scout fields for armyworm and black cutworm this week – low levels have been reported and there are a lot of rumors of armyworm.

Corn emerging
Corn planted on June 5 that emerged on June 9.

Alfalfa harvest is well underway. Alfalfa weevil larvae are present in first cutting; monitor regrowth for this pest. Potato leafhopper adults are appearing at low levels.

Wheat is flowering to just past flowering and variable within fields. As with corn, scout fields this week for armyworm. Cereal leaf beetle is present in many fields at low levels. This pest is typically more of a curiosity than a serious pest threat as natural insect enemies typically keep levels in check.

Cereal leaf beetle and damage
Cereal leaf beetle and damage.

Soybean planting is underway and several fields have emerged. Bean leaf beetle damage has been observed.

Bean leaf beetle damage on seedling soybean
Bean leaf beetle damage on seedling soybean.

Potato planting is approximately 85 to 90 percent complete. Volunteer potatoes are continuing to emerge in many fields.

Dry bean and pickle planting is underway.

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Central Michigan – Paul Gross, Michigan State University Extension

Central Michigan
Central Michigan


Warm, dry conditions were near ideal for planting across the region. The southern part of the region was able to make good planting progress while the northern parts pretty much have wrapped up planting. Field conditions were described as ideal, good and wet all in the same field. Rains Wednesday evening (June 8) will stop planting at least for a few days. Rainfall totals varied from 0.5 inch to over 1 inch. The warm temperatures are near ideal for crop growth. It will be important to scout all fields for insect problems that are being reported across the region. Field activities include herbicide applications and sidedress nitrogen applications.

Commodity reports

Corn planting is nearly complete across the region. Early planted fields are 10 to 12 inches tall while most corn is just emerging. Corn fields need to be scouted for cutworm and armyworm. There have been several reports of populations of cutworm over threshold and replanting was necessary. Manage weeds as soon as possible.

There are still soybeans that are being planted when field conditions allow. There have been reports of bean leaf beetle feeding in several fields. Many fields are weedy and control will be necessary as soon as possible to avoid yield loss. This is a year to scout regularly.

The wheat crop is flowering. Most of the fungicide applications have been made. Yield potential looks good at this time. There are reports of armyworm and cereal leaf beetle in some areas. Continue to scout fields for these pests.

First cutting alfalfa harvest is well under way with very good yields reported. Alfalfa weevil has been reported in high numbers in the regrowth. Scout fields after first cutting for this pest as well as potato leafhoppers. In years past, armyworms have been a problem in grass hay. Scout these fields for this pest. New alfalfa seedings are doing very well.

Oats and barley stands are very good at this time. Weed control will be necessary as soon as field conditions allow. Scout fields for insect pests.

Drybean planting is underway. Many growers have been waiting for some moisture before planting. The rains Wednesday evening (June 8) is just what is needed for good germination and emergence.

Sugarbeets have emerged and are progressing nicely. There are some still replanting as a result of poor stands and wind.

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