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Spotty Rains Were Helpful, but Some Areas Still Dry

Published: Friday, August 3, 2018

The following is from the Michigan Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week ending July 29.

Sparse rain showers occurred in isolated pockets across the eastern counties of the Lower Peninsula, and the operations lucky enough to receive rain reported improved crop conditions. However, dry weather persisted in most of the other areas of the state.

Spotters noticed that the dry weather continued to take a toll on the crops. Corn progressed, but still showed signs of heat stress. Soybeans continued to set pods, but reporters noted pods were slow to fill due to lack of moisture.

Winter wheat harvest neared completion; there were few reports of quality issues or problems.

Hay growth was slow due to lack of precipitation; yields and quality for second cutting were variable.

While the hot, dry summer has so far limited pests and diseases, there were reports of grasshopper damage in some alfalfa fields.

There were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork.


Scattered rain showers provided fruit growers temporary relief from the abnormally dry conditions. Growers in some areas of Western Michigan received too much moisture while several growers in the East received too little rain.

The rain along with cooler temperatures brought about a resurgence in insect activity, particularly with spotted winged drosophila (SWD) and the brown marmorated stink bug.

Apples continued to size well despite the dry summer. Apricot, sweet and tart cherry harvest ended in the southwest. Cherry harvest continued in the northwest.

Peaches and pears remained approximately the same size as last week. Dry soils were reported to have impacted the size of fruit in peach orchards. Strawberry leaves continued to emerge after renovation.

Raspberry harvest continued for summer raspberries. In areas with dry soils, berries have been small and misshapen.

Blueberry harvest continued at a good pace. Berries in the east have not sized well from drought conditions; however, berries in the southwest have been reported as good quality.

Grapes have put on good growth and were at the cluster tightening stage.


Pumpkins and winter squash were setting fruit and sizing nicely in the East. Cantaloupe and watermelon were also making good progress with reports of good quality thus far.

Bell pepper and sweet corn harvest was ongoing in the Southeast. Pea harvest was winding down in the Central region.

Carrots in the West were showing strong growth, although disease pressure is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

Late blight has not been reported in any Michigan potatoes or tomatoes to date. Growers are encouraged to be vigilant in scouting efforts moving forward.

Topsoil moisture was rated very short, 19 percent; short, 40 percent; adequate, 40 percent; surplus, 1 percent.

Subsoil moisture was rated very short, 17 percent; short, 42 percent; adequate, 41 percent; surplus, 0 percent.

The crop progress schedule (last week, previous week, 2017 and 5-year average) showed: corn silking, 68, 46, 67, 71; corn doughed, 9, 1, 4, 5; soybeans blooming, 74, 61, 78, 79; soybeans setting pods, 37, 21, 42, 38; winter wheat harvested, 87, 70, 85, 82; barley headed, 96, 94, NA, NA; barley mature, 50, 5, NA, NA; barley harvested, 3, 0, NA, NA; dry beans blooming, 63, 36, 50, 54; dry beans setting pods, 26, 2, 11, 13; alfalfa hay, second cutting, 74, 63, NA, NA; alfalfa hay, third cutting, 11, 2, 13, NA; other hay, first cutting, 95, 94, 79, 92; other hay, second cutting, 57, 45, NA, NA; other hay, third cutting, 3, 0, 4, NA; oats harvested, 18, 2, 15, 10.

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