West Central Michigan vegetable update

Weather continues to improve, increasing vegetable production, but high winds have limited crop spraying and are causing some soil erosion.

Weather improved in the West Central Michigan area this week. Less than a tenth of an inch of rain has fallen in Hart in the last week. Temperatures have also warmed up to more normal levels. Unfortunately, continued high, easterly winds have limited crop spraying and have caused some problems with wind erosion. With the high winds, many soils are now getting quite dry and are susceptible to wind erosion when tilled.

West Central Region of MichiganWest Central Region

Asparagus harvest should kick off in our area in the next couple of days. Some 2010 asparagus plantings were picked yesterday. Full-season fields, in very sandy areas or in the more southerly part of the county, will be picked today (May 11), but the majority of fields will wait until Thursday (May 12) or even Friday for a first picking.

Growers seem to have successfully killed most of the rye cover crops on asparagus, but it is too early to tell whether residual herbicides will be effective. Many growers are still planting new asparagus fields, since the soil was too cold and wet earlier. Primus GAP audits, which are simple “ranch” audits for asparagus, are mostly complete. USDA GAP audits, which require a harvest audit, have not yet begun. The market for both processed and fresh asparagus appears to be strong, and unlike last year, the prices for both are attractive.

If serious rain holds off for a couple of days, carrot growers should have pretty much caught up planting. High winds have caused fields without good small grain cover crops to blow somewhat, but it is too early to assess damage since even the earliest planted fields are just beginning to emerge.

Farm marketers have begun setting transplants under row covers and a little early sweet corn has been planted. Larger acres of annual vegetables including zucchini, winter squash and pumpkins won’t go in for a couple of weeks.

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