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Rain Slows Michigan Harvest in Some Areas
Michigan Ag Connection - 10/11/2017

There were 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan during the week ending Sunday, according to Marlo Johnson, director of the Great Lakes Regional Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Light to moderate showers occurred in certain pockets statewide, especially in the central and southern regions. While the rain was beneficial for field growth, it also slowed down harvest activities in certain areas, especially around the central part of the State.

Corn silage harvest was nearing completion at 85 percent, which resulted in many farmers gearing up for the grain harvest. Due to the statewide high temperatures and dry conditions, crop maturity and the drying process have both been accelerated. Some producers in western Michigan nearly completed their Soybean harvest. However, statewide harvest progress surpassed the halfway point, well ahead of last year and the 5-year average. Unusually low crop moisture levels created harvest challenges in some locations.

Hay harvesting progressed throughout the week. The fields and pasture growth were boosted by the rainfall that occurred. Winter wheat planting continued this week. The rainfall was a welcome sight as it improved planting conditions and provided moisture for plant germination, and the warm temperatures aided crop emergence. However, these warm temperatures slowed the sugarbeet harvest. Other activities during the week included getting ready for winter, repairing machinery and equipment, and performing fall tillage operations.

Unseasonably warm weather in recent weeks has sped up apple maturity and moved harvest along at an accelerated pace. Starch indices and sugar levels have also been pushed forward more quickly than expected, but firmness was holding in all varieties across the State. Although harvest labor has been sufficient in most areas, accelerated maturity has meant that harvest crews have been challenged to work with an overlap in maturity of multiple blocks and varieties. In the Southwest, harvest of the major apple varieties was winding down and in the West Central region, most growers were finished with harvest except for late seconds, juice picks, and some late season small acreage varieties such as Fuji and Evercrisp. In the Southeast, several varieties were being harvested, including Golden Delicious, Northern Spy, Crispin and Fuji, but Red Delicious were slow to mature. In the Northwest, most growers were finished with Honeycrisp and McIntosh while Jonagold and Ida Red harvests were underway; growers in the Northwest also reported increased damage from brown marmorated stink bugs and sunburn damage on lighter skinned varieties of apples. In grapes, harvest of early ripening hybrid and vinifera varieties was under way in the Northwest while juice grape harvest continued in the Southwest.

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