Home News Michigan Ag News Dry Weather Causing Drought Stress on Michigan Field Crops

Dry Weather Causing Drought Stress on Michigan Field Crops

Field Crops

A hot and dry week had many producers wishing for rain, according to Marlo Johnson, Director of the Great Lakes Regional Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan during the week ending July 5, 2020.

Daytime high temperatures across the state averaged from the mid-80s to the upper 90s while almost no precipitation fell during the week. Late planted crops with short root systems were beginning to show signs of stress as topsoil moisture levels decreased significantly over the past week.

There were several reports of corn leaves rolling from the heat while both soybeans and dry beans were showing signs of stress from lack of moisture. 55 percent of corn and soybeans are rated in good to excellent condition. 98 percent of dry beans are planted, 84 percent are emerged, and 54 percent are in good to excellent condition.

Oats continued to head out while wheat was maturing quickly in the heat; some producers expressed concern that the lack of rain could negatively impact grain weight in small grain crops. First cut hay was winding down, and while second cut has begun, reporters noted that regrowth has been poor. Other activities included scouting for pests and spraying herbicides and insecticides in row crops as conditions allowed.

Fruit

Hot, dry weather was the norm last week and while good for disease management, it was not particularly good for fruit size development. Growers applied supplemental irrigation to help in this regard. Peaches in the Southwest were 1.75 inches. The estimated harvest date for Red Haven in central Berrien county was August 4. Early season varieties were expected to begin harvesting soon. In the East, peaches were 1.25 to 1.38 inches; pit hardening was beginning and thinning continued.

Tart cherries in the Southwest were red and harvest was beginning. Some growers have no crop or a crop that was so light that there will be no harvest. In the Northwest, tart cherries continued to size. The crop was varied with some growers having a full crop while others had a crop that was lighter than they had previously expected.

Apples in the Southwest ranged from 30 to 45 millimeters. In the Northwest, growers wrapped up thinning their apple crop; growers were happy with their thinning this season. In the East, apples were 1.38 to 1.5 inches; June drop had nearly ended. Apple maggot and apple rust mites began to show up; growers controlled these insects. Potato leaf hopper counts also rose last week.

In the Southwest, early blueberry varieties like Bluetta and Duke had ripe berries and harvest was underway. In the West Central, blueberry harvest for the fresh market began in Weymouth and Duke; fruit quality was excellent.

Vegetables

Irrigation and scouting activities were prevalent this week, as sustained hot, dry weather increased pest pressure and moisture stress in crops. Early sweet corn was silking in the South and some corn earworm was detected in low numbers. In the East, sweet corn planting came to a close.

Pepper planting neared completion in the South, while some early peppers began flowering. Cole crops continued plant development, with the canopies of early plantings coming together. Early garlic harvest began in the East.

Hoop house cucumbers and tomatoes were harvested in the East and limited snap bean harvest began in the Southwest. Cucurbit downy mildew remained a concern for melon and cucumbers.