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Michigan's Dry Areas Receive Much-Needed Rains

Published: Friday, September 11, 2020

The following is from the Michigan Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week ending Sept. 6.

Timely rainfall continued to provide relief from the hot and dry conditions seen across much of the state in previous weeks. There were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork.

The U.S. Drought Monitor indicated that approximately 20 percent of the state was experiencing abnormally dry conditions, down from 34 percent in the previous week.

Hay and pasture conditions held steady, as the week's rains helped move corn and soybeans towards full maturity.

Corn silage harvest made significant progress in major growing areas.

Oat and barley threshing neared completion, as sugarbeet harvest continued as weather allowed.

Other activities included field preparation for seeding winter wheat and cover crops, installing and replacing drainage tile, and preparing crop storage infrastructure for harvest.


Cooler weather accompanied by some precipitation was welcomed. Most fruit growing areas remained in need of rain, with farms still in a rainfall deficit. Fruit harvest continued along unabated.

Recent dry conditions caused premature fruit drop in peaches in the Southwest. Late season varieties like Glowingstar and Cresthaven were harvested there.

Apple harvest continued in the southern Lower Peninsula. Ginger gold and early strains of Gala and Honeycrisp were harvested.

Some other later maturing varieties were harvested for processing or taffy apples. Codling moth and Oriental Fruit moth were active in orchards.

Apples in the Northwest benefitted from the return of cooler nights. Fruit was coloring and sizing well.

Blueberry harvest was nearly complete in Berrien and Van Buren counties. Growers closer to the Lake still had another picking of Aurora or Elliot to go.


Pumpkins and fall squash continued to mature and take on color; in a few areas, early harvest got underway. While downy mildew pressure had remained heavy in cucumbers, the variety that infects pumpkins and winter squash had not been reported in Michigan thus far.

Peppers in the East were ripening to colored stages. Pest pressure in sweet corn remained low and harvest activities progressed across much of the state. Post-season field clean up and fall-planted cover crop preparation continued.

Potato harvest was ongoing in most major growing areas as weather allowed. Late blight had not been detected in Michigan to date.

Topsoil moisture was rated very short, 7 percent; short, 19 percent; adequate, 70 percent; surplus, 4 percent.

Subsoil moisture was rated very short, 9 percent; short, 32 percent; adequate, 55 percent; surplus, 4 percent.

The crop progress schedule (last week, previous week, 2019 and 5-year average) showed: corn dough, 92, 85, 66, 82; corn dented, 63, 40, 23, 49; corn mature, 9, 1, 0, 5; corn harvested for silage, 33, 9, 2, 10; soybeans dropping leaves, 10, 9, 2, 9; barley mature, 97, 93, 92, NA; barley harvested, 84, 70, 56, NA; dry beans setting pods, 99, 97, 87, 89; dry beans dropping leaves, 37, 18, 15, 27; dry beans mature, 1, NA, NA, NA; alfalfa hay, third cutting, 81, 75, 53, 61; alfalfa hay, fourth cutting, 17, 9, NA, NA; other hay, second cutting, 93, 88, 73, 87; other hay, third cutting, 43, 25, 33, 35; oats harvested, 100, 95, 79, 89; sugarbeets harvested, 5, 0, 1, 6.

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