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Michigan crop progress


The weather in Michigan continues to be positive overall, except many places could use more rain, according to the latest crop weather report from the NASS Great Lakes regional field office.

"Most areas need more precipitation, as some crops are showing stress and pastures and hay fields are beginning to decline," the report stated.

More than six days were suitable for fieldwork for the week ending Aug. 10. Field activities for the week included combining small grains, baling straw, spraying crops, spreading manure and baling hay. Corn condition was 73 percent good to excellent, the same as last year. Soybean condition was 63 percent good to excellent compared to 72 percent last year.

Kif Hurlbut, acting director of the Great Lakes region field office, said "nothing much has changed" in the week succeeding Aug. 10, except that a pattern of cooler weather seems to have set in.

"I know sometimes these cool mornings stress out the vegetable crops some," he said. "It’s something vegetable growers are keeping an eye on."

Other crops included sugar beets, which were 82 percent good to excellent; barley, 85 percent good to excellent; oats, 69 percent good to excellent; dry beans, 75 percent good to excellent; and range and pasture, 53 percent good to excellent.

For fruit, tart cherry harvest was completed in west-central Michigan. The crop volume was just below what was predicted. Harvest was in full swing in the northwest. Fruit quality was good. Insect and disease problems have been better than normal. As grapes approached veraison, thinning has been recommended for vineyards with heavy crops.

For vegetables, watermelon harvest was set to begin in the southwest. Pumpkins were developing well, with some early-planted fields beginning to turn orange. Field-planted tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are being harvested in the Saginaw Bay area. Sweet corn harvest continued in the northwest but has been slowed as early-season varieties have matured slightly behind schedule.

Vine crops have experienced ongoing pollination problems attributed to below-average temperatures. Overall, disease pressure remains high in vegetable crops across most regions of Michigan, and many areas are still in need of rain.

By Kevin Walker

Michigan Correspondent