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Wheat Crop Responds to Warmth

Published: Friday, April 21, 2017

The following is from the Michigan Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week ending April 16.

For many in the state, persistent heavy rainfall kept producers out of their fields, as most ground was still too wet for planting or tillage equipment.

Areas with sandy soil saw the start of some preliminary fieldwork, and a few producers were able to spread manure and make progress on oat planting.

Overall, winter wheat had responded to the warmer temperatures and was beginning to green up and show growth where conditions were conducive.

Some wheat fields were dry enough to be sprayed for weeds and receive fertilizer applications.

Late in the week, producers in southern Michigan took advantage of the warm and windy conditions to begin planting sugarbeets on dry ground, while others prepared planters to be ready as soon fields were accessible.

Those producers awaiting drier weather kept busy tending cattle, hauling manure and cleaning up brush.

There were 1.8 days suitable for fieldwork.


Warmer weather advanced fruit tree development, but showers over the past two weeks saturated soils and brought about standing water in low lying areas. In the northwest, growers reported that hail may have injured some fruit trees.

Growers spent time applying fertilizer, spraying for apple scab, pruning young trees and removing brush from orchards.

Apricots in the southwest were at full bloom to early petal fall, about a week ahead of normal.

Peach and nectarine flower buds were at red calyx to first pink; fruit bud intensity was reported to be relatively high.

Sweet cherry buds were at tight cluster to first bloom in the southwest and at late side green in the northwest.

Tart cherry buds were at green tip in the southwest and side green in the northwest.

Japanese plums were at popcorn to full bloom while European plums were at bud burst.

Early apple varieties were at tight cluster to first pink in the southwest and at green tip in the northwest.

Pear fruit buds were at bud burst.

Blueberry buds were beginning to burst while brambles were at green tip.

Strawberry leaves were emerging and flower trusses were visible in the crown.

Grapes remained dormant, except at some warm sites where bud swell began in Concord grapes.

Topsoil moisture was rated very short, 0 percent; short, 0 percent; adequate, 44 percent; surplus, 56 percent.

Subsoil moisture was rated very short, 0 percent; short, 1 percent; adequate, 49 percent; surplus, 50 percent.

The crop progress schedule (last week, previous week, 2016 and 5-year average) showed: winter wheat jointing, 4, 1, 6, 2; oats planted, 7, 2, 3, 19; sugarbeets planted, 1, 0, 1, 24.

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