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Michigan Farmers Have Rain, Cooler Temperatures

Published: Friday, September 14, 2018

The following is from the Michigan Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week ending Sept. 9.

Many counties in both the Upper and Lower Peninsula reported heavy rain showers and cooler temperatures during the early part of the week.

The precipitation was then followed by drier weather the last few days, which gave the fields time to dry out.

In the thumb, the sugar beet harvest continued; there were reports of yields improving due to the rain the last couple of weeks. However, there were also some reports of the sugar content dropping.

Corn and soybeans progressed. Spotters noticed that the overall hot, dry summer has had a negative effect on some corn ears.

In certain fields, the ears looked short, poorly filled, and light in weight. However, the rain did improve soybean conditions and allowed the crops to continue to fill pods.

There were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork.

Dry beans also continued to mature. Unfortunately, some fields began to get too wet, and more precipitation would have had a negative effects on overall plant health.

The corn silage harvest was underway in areas that were not too wet, but there were many reports of farmers not being able to get onto the fields as a result of the excessive soil moisture.

The rain had a positive effect on the hay and pastures. They looked greener and healthier.

Other activities included the spraying of herbicides and pesticides as weather permitted.


Cooler weather, and more importantly cooler nights, finally arrived at the end of the week. Moisture was ample and welcome at the beginning of the week.

Apples on non-irrigated sites responded favorably with increased fruit size. Cooler nights helped with apple color.

Honeycrisp and Gala were ripening ahead of expected harvest dates. Color had been slow to develop but was anticipated to improve with the cooler nighttime temperatures.

Insect activity slowed last week. Growers were encouraged to apply sprays to protect against sooty blotch and flyspeck. Gingergold, SweeTango and Premier Honeycrisp were harvested in the northwest. Gala and Honeycrisp harvest began in the East.

Paula Red and Gingergold harvest was complete on the Ridge. Jonathan, Gala and Honeycrisp harvests began in earnest there.


Tomato harvest continued in the Southwest as weather allowed.

Hop harvest was ongoing in the area and was approaching half completion. Weather in the West Central region was conducive for foliar disease development in carrots and celery.

Cherry tomatoes, peppers and beets were being harvested in the Southeast and going to area farm markets.

Potato harvest continued across the state as weather permitted.

Topsoil moisture was rated very short, 3 percent; short, 5 percent; adequate, 71 percent; surplus, 21 percent.

Subsoil moisture was rated very short, 3 percent; short, 14 percent; adequate, 72 percent; surplus, 11 percent.

The crop progress schedule (last week, previous week, 2017 and 5-year average) showed: corn doughed, 90, 84, 83, 88; corn dented, 67, 51, 60, 57; corn mature, 13, 7, 4, 8; corn harvested for silage, 26, 12, 10, 10; soybeans setting pods, 96, 94, 96, 99; soybeans dropping leaves, 21, 8, 19, 14; winter wheat planted, 1, 0, NA, NA; barley harvested, 95, 84, NA, NA; dry beans setting pods, 95, 92, 83, 94; dry beans dropping leaves, 47, 29, 29, 40; alfalfa hay, third cutting, 68, 62, 64, NA; other hay, third cutting, 51, 42, 38, NA; oats harvested, 96, 90, 88, 92; sugarbeets harvested, 12, 6,9, 5.

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