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Rain Provides Boost to Late Crops in Michigan

Published: Friday, October 4, 2019

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

Warmer, wet conditions continued to advance maturity progress, but also slowed crop harvests in most parts of the state.

There were 4.2 days suitable for fieldwork.

Counties in both the Upper and Lower Peninsula received rainfall throughout most of the week, with some areas receiving over 2 inches of precipitation.

Reporters noted that the combination of warmer temperatures and rainfall helped improve corn and soybean conditions in later planted fields. However, crops that had already reached maturity were minimally impacted.

The soybean harvest continued in areas that were dry enough, yields were reported to be variable.

In the Thumb, the sugarbeet harvest continued to progress at a slow rate due to the wet conditions in the area. Producers expressed concerns of interference with fall activities due to all of the delays.

Pasture and range conditions continued to slightly improve as a result of the wet weather. Other activities included the planting of winter wheat and fungicide applications.


Brown marmorated stink bug catch numbers remained very high everywhere but in the Northwest.

Apple harvest continued at full tilt throughout the state. In the Southwest, Gala, Empire and McIntosh harvest was nearly complete. Honeycrisp, Empire and Golden Delicious were harvested. Dry conditions allowed harvest to move quickly. Labor supplies were adequate.

In West Central Michigan, Gala and Honeycrisp were harvested heavily. Apple harvest for processing began with McIntosh and Jonathan. Fruit quality, firmness, brix and size on both fresh and processing apples was excellent. Orchards are picking out higher than farmers anticipated.

On the Ridge, Gala, McIntosh and Honeycrisp were harvested. Bitter pit and water core were not problematic. Apple maturity was running slightly ahead of predicted dates.

In the Northwest, harvest of early apple varieties like Ginger Gold, Zestar and SweeTango was complete. Growers moved onto midseason varieties. Color was good across the region and firmness was holding well.

In the East, Jonathan, Jonagold and early Golden Delicious were harvested. Gala harvest was wrapped up at most farms. The Gala crop was spectacular with good color and size. The final picking of Honeycrisp was occurring. Cider demand was excellent.

Topsoil moisture was rated very short, 1 percent; short, 4 percent; adequate, 62 percent; surplus, 33 percent.

Subsoil moisture was rated very short, 3 percent; short, 11 percent; adequate, 71 percent; surplus, 15 percent.

The crop progress schedule (last week, previous week, 2018 and 5-year average) showed: corn, dough 95, 87, 100, 100; corn, dented 72, 53, 94, 90; corn, mature 17, 8, 61, 53; corn, harvested for silage 32, 18, 78, 64; soybeans, dropping leaves 56, 35, 77, 77; soybeans, harvested 7, 1, 10, 10; winter wheat, planted 23, 10, 19, 22; winter wheat, emerged 2, 0, 5, 3; barley, harvested 84, 79, NA, NA; dry beans, dropping leaves 86, 74, 94, 92; dry beans, harvested 19, 4, 45, 46; alfalfa hay, third cutting 73, 66, 90, 87; other hay, second cutting 95, 90, NA, NA; other hay, third cutting 41, 34, 69, 70; sugarbeets, harvested 10, 8, 30, 21.

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