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Rain, Even Snow, Prevents Fieldwork in Michigan

Published: Friday, May 10, 2019

The following is from the Michigan Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week ending May 5.

Most regions across the state experienced high amounts of precipitation and cooler temperatures. Reporters noted that some areas in the Upper Peninsula received up to 8 inches of snowfall.

In the Lower Peninsula, frequent rain showers continued to oversaturate the soil, causing fieldwork to come to a standstill in many areas.

Prevailing cooler soil temperatures have slowed emergence and growth of alfalfa, oats and sugarbeets and delayed corn and soybean planting.

Winter wheat has been slow to break dormancy; growers expressed concern of nitrogen shortage and disease in some wheat fields that are unable to be treated due to wet field conditions.

Pasture conditions were reported to be looking good, but in some areas were too wet to put cattle out.

There was an average of 1 day suitable for fieldwork.


Hops in the Southwestern region were showing progress with shoots 14-18 inches reported in some yards. Some potatoes have been planted, although there were no reports of emergence yet.

Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower were being transplanted as weather allowed. Asparagus harvest was off to a slow start in the West Central region.

Early sweet corn plantings in the Southeast were beginning to emerge. Peas in the area were showing strong growth.


Apples in the East were at half-inch green. There was a wide variability of flower bud development. On the Ridge, almost all apples were in the tight cluster stage. Zestar was at first pink in the Southwest.

Peaches in the East were mostly at red calyx to first pink. The polar vortex in January appears to have killed most peach blooms; growers in the Romeo area reported having a nice crop of flower buds while growers in outer areas report fewer viable buds, and growers in Southwest Michigan report very little bloom.

Tart cherries in the Southwest appear to be in good shape with little to no winter damage; Montmorency was at first white and a few trees were in early bloom. In the Northwest, tart cherries were in side-green; cooler than normal spring weather has caused the crop to be somewhat delayed.

Blueberry buds burst in the Southwest and flower buds were at tight cluster to early pink. Growers were able to plant new trees and bushes a few days last week, especially towards the end of the week when warm, sunny, dry days returned.

Topsoil moisture was rated very short, 0 percent; short, 1 percent; adequate, 38 percent; surplus, 61 percent.

Subsoil moisture was rated very short, 0 percent; short, 2 percent; adequate, 48 percent; surplus, 50 percent.

The crop progress schedule (last week, previous week, 2018 and 5-year average) showed: corn planted, 3, 2, 12, 16; soybeans planted, 2, 2, 5, 6; winter wheat jointing, 22, 14, 23, 26; barley planted, 4, 2, 10, NA; oats planted, 33, 23, 36, 45; oats emerged, 9, 1, 8, 11; sugarbeets planted, 27, 24, 70, 64; sugarbeets emerged, 4, 0, NA, NA.

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