Southeast Michigan field crops report

As dry and warm weather approaches, alfalfa continues to grow rapidly while corn and soybean planting finally begins this week.

Weather appears to finally be settling down, with two nice, dry and sunny days in a row. April was officially the second wettest April on record. This area had a touch of light frost last night, but nothing that will affect cool season vegetable transplants. Soil temperatures have been in the mid-40s to date, but with air temperatures forecast to get into the 70s early next week, this will change.

Alfalfa is growing rapidly and appears to have overwintered well. Alfalfa weevils are feeding and will increase with warmer weather. It will be interesting to see how much old hay ground is converted to corn ground given the late start to corn planting. The first cutting could come earlier than normal for highest quality hay. Potato leafhoppers are still “lounging” in the warmer southern states and have not made an appearance here yet.

Corn planting will begin on drier soils this week. There are many fields that are still too wet. Tractors were working only a few fields as of yesterday and some commercial fertilizer applications were being made on drier fields. Henbit is so pretty in the fields, but this and other weeds will make those fields “magnets” for cutworms.

Soybean planting will begin on drier soils this week, also. There are a lot of weedy fields that should be sprayed before planting.

Wheat is approaching Feekes’ growth stage 6, first jointing. Herbicide applications can still be made, though the options will be more expensive. Final top-dressing can also be made, and probably should, to keep corn planters out of wet corn fields and allow them to dry out before planting.

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