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Michigan Drought Index Unchanged from Last Week
Michigan Ag Connection - 09/22/2020

The State experienced generally drier and cooler conditions over the past week, according to Marlo Johnson, director of the Great Lakes Regional Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan during the week ending Sunday.

Cooler daytime conditions were accompanied by very low nighttime temperatures, resulting in the first frosts of the season. The U.S. Drought Monitor indicated that approximately 18 percent of the State was experiencing abnormally dry conditions, unchanged from the previous week.

Pasture and range conditions held steady despite cold and dry weather. Corn and soybean conditions improved although there were some reports of crop damage due to the hard frost. The extent of damage was mostly dependent on crop stage and maturity. Corn silage harvest continued to progress as conditions for chopping were nearly ideal. Sugarbeet harvest continued as weather allowed. Hay growth slowed slightly although harvest progress was still made in areas where conditions allowed. Other activities included seeding winter wheat and cover crops, installing and replacing drainage tile, and preparing crop storage infrastructure for harvest.

Apple harvest was in full swing in lower Michigan. Wooly apple aphid continued to be troublesome. Gala, Empire, Jonathan, McIntosh and Honeycrisp were all harvested with some farms finishing up their Gala harvest last week. Color on Gala was very good. Growers in the Southwest harvested Golden Delicious for processing.

As field work activities were beginning to slow down, growers took advantage of clear weather to harvest in the morning and remove stakes, string and plastic in the afternoon. Pumpkin and winter squash harvest continued, with some growers picking for covered storage to preserve the crop for fall sales. Local sales of pumpkins, gourds and fall squash continued. In the East, carrot harvest was ongoing. Potato harvest also continued in major growing areas. No Phytophthora infestans (Late blight) had been reported yet this season in Michigan. Predicted risk had remained medium across the state. This will be the last vegetable report for the 2020 growing season.


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