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Harvest of Small Grains, Hay Benefits from Dry Spell

Published: Friday, August 9, 2019

The following is from the Michigan Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week ending Aug. 4.

Warm, dry conditions benefitted those harvesting small grains and hay, but other crops finished the week in need of precipitation.

Most regions across the state experienced near normal temperatures with little to no rain.

The U.S. Drought Monitor, released mid-week, showed abnormally dry areas in a large portion of the western Upper Peninsula. Portions of Sanilac, Lapeer, Saint Clair, Oakland, Macomb and Lenawee counties also had abnormally dry areas.

Much of the corn crop was in the critical phase of pollination. Earlier planted fields were starting the dough phase.

Soybeans progress continued to be well behind the five-year average, however, more fields continued to set pods.

The winter wheat harvest continued; yields were variable. Pasture and range conditions declined slightly due to the dry weather.

There were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork.


Downy mildew was confirmed in some Southwestern vine crops. Weather conditions in the area were also conducive for powdery mildew in cucurbits.

Potato harvest began in the South with most growers reporting good yield and quality.

Sweet corn, zucchini and squash harvest continued in the Central region. Insect pressure in Southeastern cole crops was increasing.

Late blight (Phytophthora infestans) has not been detected in Michigan to date. Weather has been favorable for disease development in most major growing areas. Growers are advised to be vigilant in scouting efforts as the season progresses.


Spotted wing Drosophila numbers climbed sharply again last week.

Peach harvest in the Southwest continued. Garnet Beauty, Sentry and Risingstar were harvested. Growers there reported a very short crop due to very cold temperatures associated with the polar vortex in January. In the West Central, harvest was expected to begin soon.

In the East, peach harvest began on early varieties. Mid and late season varieties were beginning to color.

Tart cherry trees in the Southwest were starting to look better after harvest. Defoliation ceased and most yellow leaves had fallen. Growers needed to keep cover sprays up to guard against leaf spot. Tart cherry harvest was complete in Oceana County and nearly complete in Mason County. Fruit quality was excellent. In the Northwest, harvest began. Quality has been very good to date.

Apple harvest in the Southwest was expected to begin about a week later than last year on most varieties. In the East, very early varieties like Lodi were harvested.

Blueberry harvest in the Southwest continued. Growers were still harvesting mid-season varieties.

Topsoil moisture was rated very short, 11 percent; short, 43 percent; adequate, 42 percent; surplus, 4 percent.

Subsoil moisture was rated very short, 7 percent; short, 36 percent; adequate, 53 percent; surplus, 4 percent.

The crop progress schedule (last week, previous week, 2018 and 5-year average) showed: corn, silking 44, 20, 79, 83; corn, dough 2, 0, 20, 16; soybeans, blooming 57, 42, 83, 86; soybeans, setting pods 20, 15, 52, 55; winter wheat, mature 95, 86, 100, 100; winter wheat, harvested 74, 45, 92, 92; barley, headed 93, 77, 99, NA; barley, mature 28, 11, 70, NA; barley, harvested 3, 0, 19, NA; dry beans, emerged 97, 90, NA, NA; dry beans, blooming 43, 18, 74, 74; dry beans, setting pods 4, 0, 30, 27; alfalfa hay, second cutting 64, 49, 81, 76; alfalfa hay, third cutting 2, 0, 20, NA; other hay, first cutting 95, 89, 99, 95; other hay, second cutting 33, 19, 66, 59; oats, headed 96, 89, 100, 100; oats, mature 51, 27, NA, NA; oats, harvested 8, 1, 38, 25.

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