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Warm Weather Progresses Crops

Published: Friday, August 11, 2017

The following is from the Michigan Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week ending Aug. 6.

The week's warm nights and hot, humid days progressed crop maturity at an accelerated rate. Excessive rainfall in parts of central and northern Michigan aided crop development, but hampered small grain and hay harvest activities.

In the southern region of Michigan, insufficient rainfall caused some moisture stress to crops. Corn development continued at a rapid pace in areas where adequate soil moisture levels prevailed, but the dry weather was reported to have taken a toll on the corn crop.

Soybeans were recovering nicely from flood conditions earlier this year in central Michigan while producers were hoping for additional moisture in parts of southern Michigan to help the crop set pods.

Dry bean development still lagged behind the previous year and 5-year average pace.

Winter wheat harvest seemed to be coming to a close in most areas as producers turned their attention to baling straw and tilling wheat stubble.

Dry conditions earlier in the week provided favorable conditions for harvesting hay. Some producers have just about wrapped up first cutting of hay, while others were on their third cutting.

There were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork.


Harvest of early peach varieties continued; quality has been generally good, and growers have noted that peaches have been sizing and coloring well despite recent dry weather.

Tart cherry harvest was finished in southern counties while harvest was winding down in the northwest; recent rains have raised concerns about disease and insect control in the remaining cherries to be harvested.

Japanese plum harvest continued while European plums are starting to color.

A number of summer apples were being harvested in the east, while later season varieties were sizing and coloring well.

Wine grapes in the northwest were at pea-sized berries, with some varieties at berry tough; in the southwest, grape clusters were tightening with veraison expected to begin in the next week or two.

Blueberry harvest continued for many varieties this week; growers in the southwest were expanding use of machine harvest due to a shortage of hand pickers.

Summer red raspberry harvest was past its peak while blackberry harvest was underway.


In the east, carrots and cantaloupes were being harvested. Pepper harvesting was just beginning with a report of phytophthora leaf blight. Watermelons were still sizing, and winter squash and pumpkins were still setting fruit.

Producers were advised to top Brussels sprouts in order to stop upward growth and focus on bulking up the sprouts.

Sweet corn harvest continued. Cabbage harvest and planting was still ongoing.

Processing tomato harvest was expected to begin soon.

Small aphid infestations in celery fields were detected in Van Buren and Newaygo counties. Also, cucurbit downy mildew spore counts in Muskegon County suggested presence of the disease.

Vegetable growers in the southern Lower Peninsula were advised to scout and actively prepare to manage brown marmorated stink bugs this season.

Topsoil moisture was rated very short, 7 percent; short, 37 percent; adequate, 51 percent; surplus, 5 percent.

Subsoil moisture was rated very short, 7 percent; short, 35 percent; adequate, 54 percent; surplus, 4 percent.

The crop progress schedule (last week, previous week, 2016 and 5-year average) showed: corn silking, 86, 71, 90, 91; corn dough, 17, 4, 23, 20; soybeans blooming, 88, 80, 88, 91; soybeans setting pods, 59, 44, 57, 64; winter wheat harvested, 94, 88, 98, 96; dry beans blooming, 66, 55, 82, 84; dry beans setting pods, 22, 12, 37, 43; alfalfa hay, second cutting, 77, 70, 85, NA; alfalfa hay, third cutting, 22, 14, NA, NA; other hay, first cutting, 86, 80, 100, NA; other hay, second cutting, 59, 51, 68, NA; other hay, third cutting, 11, 4, NA, NA; oats harvested, 33, 17, 31, 40.

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