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Abnormally Dry Conditions Across Michigan
Michigan Ag Connection - 09/10/2019

Cool, dry conditions have slowed maturity progress in most parts of the State, and many crops finished the week in need of precipitation and warmer temperatures. According to Marlo Johnson, director of the Great Lakes Regional Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, there were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan during the week ending Sundat. The U.S. Drought Monitor, released mid-week, showed abnormally dry areas throughout much of the Lower and Upper Peninsula. Portions of Huron, Sanilac, Cheboygan, Emmet, and Chippewa counties were reported to be experiencing a moderate drought. Corn and soybean fields continued to be negatively affected by the dry conditions. The sugarbeet harvest got underway in the Thumb. Producers expressed concerns about yield loss due to the prolonged drought in the area. Farmers also began to harvest corn for silage in certain areas of the State. Yields were variable. Pasture and range conditions declined slightly due to the dry weather. Other activities included insecticide applications, and preparation for the planting of winter wheat.

Pumpkin season is entering the final stretch and in many fields, vines are dying down and cutting has begun. Carrot and potato harvest continued in most growing areas. In the Southwest, some abandonment is being seen in pepper and tomato fields due to bacterial disease. Across the state, producers are preparing for plantings of fall cover crops and starting on other post-season activities. There have been no know reports of Phytophthora Infestans (Late blight) in Michigan to date.

Early apple variety harvest continued. Fruit maturity was generally delayed a week across the State. In the Southwest, Zestar, early Fuji and early Honeycrisp was harvested. Growers anticipated beginning Macintosh and Gala soon. In the East, early summer variety harvest continued. Macintosh and Gala harvest was still at least a week from beginning. In the West Central, there was some hail that caused damage to fruit in the Fremont area. Gingergold, Zestar, SweeTango, and early Honeycrisp were harvested heavily there. Color was excellent on these early season varieties due to favorable weather conditions. In the Northwest, Gingergold was spot picked. Peach harvest was wrapping up in most areas. Cherry leaf spot was taking a toll on tart cherry trees that had not had cover sprays. Blueberry harvest was beginning to wind down in the Southwest. Late varieties like Elliot and Aurora were harvested.

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