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Michigan Apple Harvest Excellent, but Labor Shortages Persist
Michigan Ag Connection - 10/10/2018

There were 2.9 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. Temperatures averaged below normal in the Upper Peninsula and above normal in the Lower Peninsula. Ample rains delayed or stopped harvest in most areas.

Corn continued to mature, but excessive rainfall slowed the harvest. In the few areas that were dry enough for farmers to work the field, the moisture content of the grain at harvest was around twenty-five percent, showing no significant dry-down over the week. There were also some reports of corn fields that were originally planted for grain being cut for silage due to poor crop conditions.

Soybeans continued to drop leaves, and the harvest continued in areas that were dry enough. The estimated moisture content of the grain at harvest was around seventeen percent. Spotters noticed that some beans were beginning to rot in the field due to lodging and excessive soil moisture.

Despite the rain, the sugarbeet harvest continued; yields were reported to be looking fair.

Cattle on pastures continued to look healthy, but there were reports of some supplemental feeding being undertaken.

Other activities included farm machinery repairs and the planting of winter wheat.

Apple harvest last week was delayed by poor harvest conditions. Rain kept pickers out of blocks on multiple days. On the Ridge, harvest was more than half complete. Fruit quality has been excellent and fruit size has been good. Gala and Honeycrisp harvest was completed. Golden Delicious harvest continued. In the East, growers harvested Golden Delicious, early strains of Red Delicious, Empire, Cortland, and Fuji. Some blocks were picking out lighter than expected due to smaller fruit size caused by the dry summer. Labor has been difficult to find and some growers were falling behind on harvest.

Some growers applied insecticide to control Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs.

In the Southwest, growers were harvesting Red Delicious heavily. A few Honeycrisp were also harvested. Empire harvest was complete, as was Golden Delicious. In the West Central, final picking of Honeycrisp was underway. Empire and Golden Delicious was also harvested. Fruit coloration was very good across all varieties. In the Northwest, Gala and McIntosh for the processing market were harvested. Honeycrisp harvest wound down. Wine grape harvest in the Northwest was underway. Cool, wet conditions this fall provided many challenges. More late season heat units than normal coupled with rain have caused some fruit rot, especially in Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc.

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