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Drought Monitor- Abnormal Dryness in the Region
Michigan Ag Connection - 09/15/2023

Temperatures last week were near normal, but we only accumulated 72 growing degree days (GDD base 50), which was nearly 20 units less than predicted. Much of the state is a week or more behind in heat units, although some portions of southwest Michigan are near normal or even slightly ahead.

Precipitation was also below normal last week, with most areas receiving a half inch or so. The Drought Monitor shows the northern half of Indiana and a portion of southern Michigan being abnormally dry, with D1 drought impacting a small pocket right along the state border.

The precipitation forecast for the coming week predicts less than 0.25 inches for southwest Michigan, all of which is predicted for this weekend. Warm and dry conditions are expected to persist through the end of the month.

Corn development is near the five-year average, while soybean development is behind. One corn field visited this week had just reached black layer (R6), while most others were still mid-dent (R5.5).

Once physiological maturity has been reached, all grain dry down occurs through the kernels themselves and is dependent on weather and factors related to the plant itself.

Knowing potential in-field dry down rates is helpful for planning harvest timing and bin drying. Corn dry down rates range from 0.4 to 0.8% moisture loss per day, while soybean dry down rates are much faster, averaging 3.2% per day during the first 12 days after maturity.

Irrigation is recommended to continue until black layer in corn and until half of a soybean field has turned yellow.

Warm and dry conditions are expected to persist through the end of the month, so it is important to monitor crop development and water needs closely. Irrigation may be needed to ensure that corn and soybeans reach maturity with adequate moisture.

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