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Michigan Gets Cooler Temperatures, Rain
Michigan Ag Connection - 05/14/2019

There were 1.5 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. Most regions across the State experienced cooler temperatures and varying amounts of precipitation. Reporters noted that many fields in the Upper Peninsula were still wet and had standing water, but in certain areas they were finally starting to drain. Reporters in the Lower Peninsula reported that some planting was able to occur on fields with drier sandier soil, but for the most part it was still too wet and cold for much fieldwork. Prevailing cooler soil temperatures have delayed corn and soybean planting. Growers also expressed concerns of nitrogen shortage and disease in certain winter wheat fields as a result of prolonged wet field conditions. Pasture conditions varied depending on the amounts of precipitation received. Cattle were out only on well drained pastures. Other activities included the spreading of manure and some herbicide applications where the weather permitted.

Historically, sugarbeet planting progress has been highly variable. The two slowest years in recent history were 2013 and 2014. These years were not, however, alike. Growers planted 57 percent of that year's acreage during the week ending May 12th. The 2014 crop year had no such jumps in planting, which was slow throughout the season and extended into the first days of June. By contrast, planting was virtually complete by the first week of April in 2012. The most planting progress in a single week was recorded for the week ending April 18, 2004, when planted acres jumped from just 22% to 90%. Last year saw a similar jump when planted acres jumped from 13% to 80% during the week ending May 6th

Sweet corn planting continued in the Southwest region as weather allowed. Bean and pea planting was ongoing in the Southeast. Most cole crop plantings in the area were making good progress, and transplanting was reportedly complete in the East. Asparagus harvest is slow but ongoing.

Cold weather last week continued to slow fruit crop growth. Apples in the East were mostly at tight-cluster with early pink on the king bloom for some early varieties. In the West-central, apples were in tight cluster. Bloom began in early varieties in the Southwest. Tart cherry flower buds in the West-central emerged and early bract leaves were unfolding. In the Southwest, tart cherries were in full bloom. Bloom appears to be very good with little to no damage from cold winter weather. There were a couple of warmer, sunny days last week which boded well for pollination. Peaches in the East were mostly at pink with a few varieties in early bloom. Crop potential appears to vary greatly depending on site. In the West-central, peaches were in first pink. In the Southwest, growers with no crop were evaluating best practices for insect and fungal control in barren blocks. Blueberries in West Michigan were developing. Some frost injury was observed due to below freezing temperatures in April. In the Southwest, blueberry flower buds were at tight cluster to early pink. Bloom began in some early varieties. There does appear to be some winter damage to flower buds though the extent is not yet known.

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