The week began with heat and humidity and ended with cool, dry temperatures and the beginning of wheat harvest. The combines are out and ready to roar as they have begun traversing the golden waves of grain in southern Michigan.
Second-cutting hay is nearly finished, corn is head-high and soybeans are catching up. Blueberry harvest has also begun in the southern tier of counties and is hoping to last through the end of July.
In the northeastern area, Michigan State University extension educator James DeDecker reported precisely 0.28 inch of rain fell July 8, ending a nine-day streak of hot, dry weather in northeastern Michigan. He also reported nearly all of first-cutting hay has been put into storage there.
With harvest delayed by weather in some areas, reported yields are quite high, but quality likely suffered. Harvest has eased the market slightly, but prices remain in the range of $130-$200 per ton for alfalfa grass hay.
Corn in the northeastern region ranges in development from five- to nine-leaf, and soybeans have 3-5 fully emerged trifoliate leaves. According to MSU extension educator Dan Rossman of the east-central region, wheat has turned color and is drying down. Corn growth continues at an accelerated pace, with early-planted corn over six feet high and tasseling soon.
Soybean conditions are varied. Some early plants have excellent growth and are now starting to flower. Some fields are still trying to recover from heavy, late May rains. Soybean aphids are easily found.
Alfalfa second-cutting is well under way here, with great yields.
Fred Springborn with MSU reported high temperatures ranged from the upper 70s to the mid-80s last week, while lows ranged from the mid-50s to upper 60s in the west-central area of Michigan. Variable rainfall amounts were recorded here, with many areas receiving 0.25-0.5 inch for the week while others received up to an inch or more from scattered thundershowers.
Corn ranges from knee-high to near tassel emergence. Soybeans are beginning to bloom in early-planted fields. There are a few soybean aphids in the early fields, but there is also an adequate supply of natural predators.
According to Springborn, wheat has turned in the west-central region and harvest should begin in 7-10 days, weather permitting. Alfalfa harvest continues, with many producers finishing second cutting. There is still first-cutting hay yet to be harvested, as some producers committed to putting up dry hay have been delayed many times by rain.
By Melissa Hart
The warmest and driest extended period of weather this year was seen across Iowa during the week ending July 7, with more favorable weather allowing field crops to develop, although some areas reported crops beginning to need moisture, according to the July 8 Iowa Crop & Weather report.
“The warm, dry weather last week was very welcome and crops responded and look much better,” said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey. “Everything has been delayed by the cool, wet start to the growing season, but the drier weather has helped both the corn and soybean crop, and allowed farmers to get back in the fields to finish any needed fieldwork.”
State Meteorologist Harry Hillaker said Iowa recorded its driest week in 13 weeks (early April), with most locations receiving no measurable rainfall.
The report stated with reports of corn beginning to tassel in scattered fields across the state, the amount of the crop in good to excellent condition increased to 58 percent. The report also stated 95 percent of soybeans emerged, with 94 percent of oats heading (and 23 percent turning color).
The report stated the first cutting of alfalfa, now standing at 97 percent complete, was almost done and farmers were beginning to harvest the second cutting, now at 8 percent complete.
In her July 10 crop report, Shannon Latham, vice president of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds in Alexander, said “after 10 days without rainfall and with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees at Latham headquarters, it’s almost hard to remember that earlier this season, Iowa received the most rainfall in a record-breaking 141 years.
“Given the amount of rain we received, it’s no wonder we’re now hearing reports of anthracnose leaf blight, common rust, gray leaf spot and Goss’ wilt in Iowa,” she added.
By Doug Schmitz
The University of Kentucky Agricultural Weather Observer for July revealed that for June there was an average of more than 6 inches of rain throughout the state. That was 1.5 inches above normal for the period.
On July 8 the Kentucky office of NASS reported another 3.55 inches of rain had fallen in the Commonwealth during the first week of the new month.
University of Kentucky grain crop specialist Chad Lee told reporters corn was in good to excellent condition. But, it was too early to count the yield.
“We are getting a lot of rain just now, when a lot of corn is pollinating,” he said. “Heavy rains and flooding could damage the corn. There might be some nitrogen lost in saturated soils and flooding could kill the corn, or bring in crazy top disease.
“We really need that rain to be spread over the next four weeks for it to help the corn,” Lee added.
The same NASS report said as of July 7 one-third of Kentucky’s corn crop has tasseled and one-sixth of it is silking. NASS also reported crop condition was mostly good to excellent.
State NASS said soybean planting had advanced to 95 percent complete. The crop was said to be 83 percent emerged and 4 percent was in bloom. Crop condition was rated at 60 percent good and 23 percent excellent.
NASS said there was damage to the tobacco crop reported throughout the state because of heavy rainfall.
At the same date, 84 percent of the winter wheat crop had been harvested, compared to 100 percent of it last year.
By Bob Riggs