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Hot, Dry Conditions Add Stress to Crops, Livestock

Published: Friday, July 6, 2018

The following is from the Michigan Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week end-ing July 1.

Hot, dry conditions prevailed throughout the state, adding stress to crops and livestock, especially on dairy farms which reported lower production. However, isolated regions in the central part of the Lower Peninsula did receive some rain, and crops in these areas were able to benefit from ideal growing conditions. Warmer tempera-tures did allow the crops to progress substantially statewide.

There were 5.7 days suitable for field-work.

Winter wheat was maturing quickly as a result of the hot temperatures. There were also reports of some wheat fields being knocked down from heavy rain during a thunderstorm this past week.

Corn and soy-beans were doing well in areas where there was more rainfall, but in the dryer areas, conditions were declining. A few spotters reported leaf rolling. Concerns were greatest for the heat's effect on corn in fields that were mudded in, and other stands that were less than robust.

Hay growth has been slow as a result of the lack of rainfall. Some farmers reported having issues with alfalfa weevils, but for the most part they have been prevented from doing too much damage. Other activities included weed spraying and fertilizer applications.


Fruit continued to develop rapidly with the hot summer temperatures. Areas in the east, southwest and central Michigan remained in need of moisture despite occasional rain showers. Apricot harvest began for early varie-ties.

Peach pit hardening was complete in the southwest, while pit hardening began in the east.

Sweet cherry harvest began in the east and continued in the southwest; although some of the fruit was reported to be cracked, the overall color and size were good.

Cherry harvest for mid-season sweet varieties as well as for tarts is expected to begin after the holiday.

Apples and pears ranged from 1.25 to 1.5 inches in diameter for most varieties, with some apples reaching 2 inches; growers have been closely monitoring and controlling for pests in apple orchards.

Juice grape berries have reached buckshot size, while wine grape bloom was near-ly complete.

Blueberries have sized rapidly; in the southwest, harvest is expected to begin for early varieties soon. Limited rainfall in the west central region led to cane collapse in some fields on light soils.

Strawberry harvest ended, with the exception of a few late season varieties.

Raspberry harvest was underway for early season varieties; berries are abundant thus far, but small in size. Blackberries have set small green fruits.


Warm-weather crops including cucumbers and zucchini, as well as cool-weather crops like cauliflower, were being harvested in the east.

In central Michigan, early planted potatoes were blossoming. There have been no confirmed reports of late blight in Michigan, to date.

Asparagus harvest and sweet corn planting had been completed on most farms. Harvest volume of zucchini, yellow squash and cucumber was increasing as more fields came into production in the southwest.

Bacterial diseases were beginning to show in tomatoes.

The weather has made downy mildew challenging to control in hops. Urban and semi-rural vegetable farm fields, hoophouses and market gardens benefitted from great weather in the Flint ar-ea.

Topsoil moisture was rated very short, 7 percent; short, 21 percent; adequate, 64 percent; surplus, 8 per-cent.

Subsoil moisture was rated very short, 4 percent; short, 18 percent; adequate, 67 percent; surplus, 11 percent.

The crop progress schedule (last week, previous week, 2017 and 5-year average) showed: corn emerged, 96, 92, 100, 100; soybeans planted, 97, 92, 100, 100; soybeans emerged, 92, 85, 94, 99; soybeans blooming, 11, 1, 11, 7; winter wheat mature, 45, 11, 36, 26; barley planted, 100, 89, NA, NA; barley emerged, 89, 75, NA, NA; bar-ley headed, 50, 22, NA, NA; dry edible beans planted, 90, 78, 90, 95; dry edible beans emerged, 78, 57, 80, 84; alfalfa hay, first cutting, 84, 74, 78, 68; alfalfa hay, second cutting, 18, 2, 20, 15; other hay, first cutting, 69, 54, 57, 51; other hay, second cutting, 5, 1, 12, 5; oats emerged, 96, 90, 95, 99; oats headed, 66, 42, 59, 72.

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