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Michigan Ag News Headlines
18 Percent of Michigan Abnormally Dry
Michigan Ag Connection - 09/15/2020

Much of the State experienced rainfall and cooler temperatures throughout the week, according to Marlo Johnson, director of the Great Lakes Regional Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 3.9 days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan during the week ending Sunday. The U.S. Drought Monitor indicated that approximately 18 percent of the State was experiencing abnormally dry conditions, down slightly from the previous week. Pasture and range conditions showed improvement as timely rains helped maintain growth. Corn and soybean conditions held strong as both crops began to reach maturity. Corn silage harvest continued to make significant progress despite rain events. Sugarbeet harvest continued as weather allowed. Other activities included seeding winter wheat and cover crops, installing and replacing drainage tile, and preparing crop storage infrastructure for harvest.

Apple harvest began to pick up speed last week. Precipitation early in the week helped with fruit sizing and cooler weather helped with coloring. Wooly apple aphid has been problematic in the Southern Lower Peninsula this season. In the East, growers harvested Gala and McIntosh. Overall fruit yields were very good. Fruit finish has been excellent. On the Ridge, growers were harvesting Gala and color was reported to be good to very good this year and continued to improve. Size was also very good. McIntosh harvest has not yet started on most farms there, but Premier Honeycrisp harvest was underway. Spot harvest of traditional Honeycrisp was anticipated to begin in a week or so. In the Southwest, growers were harvesting Gala, Empire, and Jonathan. Blueberry harvest was about complete. There were a few growers making one last pass for processing berries.

Across the State, pumpkin, gourd and fall squash harvest began in earnest and produce was available for both markets and local sales. Powdery mildew pressure had remained low this season, and overall fruit looked good. Many growers in the East were seeing a bumper crop of pumpkins and winter squash, and in some cases, peppers and eggplants as well. In the Southeast, cole crop harvest continued and growers maintained scouting and pest management programs to combat ongoing pest pressure. Unseasonable cool weather caused blemishes in eggplants and discoloration in peppers in a limited number of fields. Watermelon and cantaloupe harvest were also ongoing, although ripening had slowed with recent cooler temperatures. Sweet corn harvest was winding down in some areas and many growers continued pest control measures in response to a recent uptick in pest pressure.

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