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Michigan Coping with Persistent, Excessive Rainfall
Michigan Ag Connection - 05/27/2020

Excessive and persistent rainfall prevented fieldwork in most areas, according to Marlo Johnson, director of the Great Lakes Regional Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 2.0 days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan during the week ending Sunday. In the Central region of the Lower Peninsula, heavy precipitation resulted in flooding, soil erosion and crop damage, although it appeared too early to tell how extensive the damage would be. Planting was slowed significantly in corn and soybeans, but some progress was reported as rainfall levels varied by region. Temperatures were generally warmer across the State, facilitating germination and emergence of corn and soybeans as well as growth in pastures, hay, and wheat.

Driving rains early in the week provided more than ample precipitation needed for fruit crops. The long wetting period was conducive to cherry leaf spot and apple scab infection. Fruit growth was rapid across the entire State due to warmer temperatures towards the end of the week. Apples in the Northwest were in tight cluster. In the Southeast, apples were in full bloom. Damage from freezes in the East was widespread though varies from block to block. Red Delicious was most impacted. In the Southwest, apples were blooming. Red Delicious, Gala, Pink Lady, Fuji, and Jonagold appeared to be most negatively affected by freezes. On the Ridge, apples appeared to have weathered the freeze events relatively well with only minor damage reported. Apples there were in pink with some bloom on earlier varieties. Tart cherries in the Northwest were at bud burst. In the Southwest, cherries were in shuck. Blueberries in the West Central suffered little to no damage from freeze events two weeks ago, though some frost damage is evident on some new shoots in Bluecrop and Duke. Blueberries were entering the early pink stage in the West Central. In the Southwest, blueberries were blooming. Early blooming varieties suffered some damage from freezes. It appeared that the damage will not significantly affect overall blueberry crop production in Michigan. Peaches in the East were in shuck. There was damage on poorer peach sites from the freeze. The best sites had little to no damage. Peaches in the Southwest were in shuck. There was a range of damage from the freezes with some areas suffering total loss while other areas suffered little damage.

Cucumbers were planted in the South, while direct seeded cucumber, zucchini and yellow squash in the Southwest all showed marked plant growth. Potatoes were in various stages of planting in the East, and producers were actively monitoring cull piles. Sweet corn planting resumed in the Southwest, where dry grounds allowed. Late in the week, asparagus harvest returned at full capacity in the Southwest, while limited rhubarb and asparagus picking began in the East.

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