Southeast Michigan field crop regional report

Rain in the week’s forecast means a late spring and a later than normal time for corn planting.

The weather has been unseasonably cool and wet. Soil temperatures are in the mid to low 40’s and soil conditions remain too wet for spring tillage or planting. With a forecast of rain for this week (April 17-23), it doesn’t appear that southeast Michigan will have an early spring.

Alfalfa is greening up with limited growth so far. Stands are being assessed for overwintering persistence. Old crop hay supplies remain plentiful, so some alfalfa acreage likely will be planted to corn.

Corn remains in the bag and planters remain in the machine sheds. A few farmers with large acreages to plant are approaching panic mode. The rainy weather forecast for next week means the last week of April may be the beginning of corn planting, which is later than normal.

Oats and barley have been planted on the sandier soils.

Soybeans have not been planted. 2011 is supposed to be a soybean aphid year. Various insecticide and fungicide seed treatments have been all the rage at seed ordering time.

Wheat fields generally look good and came through the winter with minimal heaving. A lot of fields had nitrogen applied this week. Many fields were planted on time or even a bit early last fall, but I have not seen any Hessian fly, wireworms, grubs or other insects. Many fields are very clean of weeds, though the annual weeds have not emerged yet.

The spiking fertilizer and fuel prices are on the minds of farmers. High commodity prices have had more landowners calling about changing lease prices or terms. Many farmers have contracted some attractive grain prices, so getting good yields will be important to them.

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