West Central Michigan vegetable regional report – April 30, 2014

Field operations have started with some delays due to cooler, wet weather in parts of West Central Michigan.

Asparagus spear emerging in an Oceana County field. Harvest will likely be delayed by one to two weeks due to cool weather.

Asparagus spear emerging in an Oceana County field. Harvest will likely be delayed by one to two weeks due to cool weather.

Weather outlook

A persistent weather system bringing daily chances of scattered showers will likely persist through this weekend (May 3-4, 2014). After today, April 30, precipitation will be scattered with daily totals mostly below 0.25 inch. The greatest chances for rain will occur in the afternoon and early evening hours. Next week, the current weather pattern is expected to leave the state, bringing a return to west to east airflow. The next pattern will likely be an upper air trough, bringing a moderation in temperatures, but more chances of precipitation.

The National Weather Service’s 6-10 and 8-14 day forecasts call for a continuation of below-normal temperatures and normal to above-normal precipitation through May 13. Their forecast for the month of May also calls for cooler than normal temperatures, but does not provide any guidance about precipitation in the second half of the month. There is some evidence that early summer will continue to see cooler than normal temperatures.

Crop reports

Asparagus crown digging was largely finished as of late last week with the focus now shifting to planting new fields and killing the rye cover crop and applying pre-harvest herbicides in production fields. Scattered spears were up this week in research plots in Oceana County. As of Monday, however, there have not been any reports of spear emergence down the entire row in production fields. Local growers are expecting full harvest to begin during the second half of May.

Carrot planting started in Oceana County and will continue as field conditions permit.

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