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High Humidity Challenges Michigan Forage Harvest
Michigan Ag Connection - 08/04/2020

Soil moisture levels increased last week as timely rains fell in many areas of the State, according to Marlo Johnson, director of the Great Lakes Regional Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan during the week ending Sunday. Crop conditions held steady as various precipitation events helped maintain adequate moisture. Corn and soybean progress continued to move along, aided by rain and warm temperatures. Wheat harvest neared completion as oats and barley neared full maturity. The second and third cutting of hay continued to progress as weather was generally cooperative for haymaking in between showers. High humidity continued to pose some challenges to dry down and forage quality. Sugarbeet condition deteriorated slightly as the area did not receive as much rain in comparison to the rest of the State. The drought condition monitor updated with data through July 28, 2020 reported Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola counties in moderate drought. Other activities included crop scouting, spraying herbicides, and assessing crop-marketing strategies.

Irrigations systems continued to run last week as soil moisture levels were inadequate in most areas of the State. Apples on the Ridge continued to grow quickly. Second generation codling moth flight was well underway and growers applied cover sprays to prevent damage to fruit. In the Southwest, apples were 2 plus inches in diameter. Peach harvest on the Ridge was in full swing. Red haven harvest was expected to begin the week of August 1 in the Southwest. Brown rot was becoming more evident on fruit with insect damage or split pits. Blueberry harvest in the West Central was in full swing with Spotted wing Drosophila being the major threat. Early season varieties were being machine harvested to collect remaining fruit. Mid-season varieties were being hand harvested for the fresh market. In the Southwest, Bluecrop was being machine harvested. Elliot was beginning to color there. Tart cherry harvest in the Northwest was going full bore. Fruit quality was excellent.

Sweet corn harvest was ongoing in the Southeast. Early cucumber, yellow squash, and zucchini harvest concluded in many areas. Post-harvest plant removal was a priority for producers following harvest through either cuttings or chemical burn down. Pumpkins and winter squash were setting fruit and some pest pressure had been observed in the Southeast. In the South, tomatoes were in varying stages of ripeness and producers were preparing for harvest, while field tomatoes, peppers and eggplants were all being picked in the East. Cucumber, pickle and melon operations continued to treat fields with fungicides as additional cases of cucurbit downy mildew were confirmed across the State. Cole crops were both harvested and planted in the East.

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