Skip to main content

Michigan crop update: Rain helps crops, slows planting

LANSING, MI -- There were 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan during the week ending May 17, according to the Great Lakes Regional office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Most areas of the State received at least a half inch of rain this week, while some stations in the Central Lower Peninsula reported receiving more than two inches.

While the rain was beneficial for all planted crops, planting pace was held back this week. Early planted corn and soybeans were emerging; some growers expressed concerns about possible root rot in soybeans and frost damage to early emerged corn. Oat planting was winding down with the crop mostly in good to excellent condition,

Sugarbeet planting was nearly complete, and emergence has been very good. Hay was reported as growing well, and the first cut should begin soon. Wheat continued to look good except where winterkill was reported. Major field activities for the week included planting crops between rain showers and spraying herbicides and fungicides as weather permitted.

Overall, most fruit crops looked good as bloom ended in stone fruits and apples in the south, although recent rain events provided challenges for disease control. Apricots were out of the shuck and fruit were 12 millimeters in diameter. Peaches were at late bloom to in the shuck. Sweet cherries were at petal fall in the north and were at shuck split in the south. Tart cherries were in full bloom in the north and were at petal fall to in the shuck in the south; growers were spraying to protect against cherry leaf spot. Japanese plums were coming out of the shuck and European plums were still in the shuck. Apples began to flower over the weekend in the north, while in the south, early blooming varieties were completely out of bloom while late blooming varieties were just past full bloom. Pears were at late bloom to petal fall. Juice grape shoots were three inches long with flower clusters exposed.

In wine grapes, bud break has occurred and there was 1-2 inches of shoot growth. Winterkill in grapes is a concern for many wine grape producers. Blueberry bloom was widespread, with shoot growth and leaf emergence well under way. Raspberry canes continued to show leaf growth with rain and warmer weather and flower clusters were emerging. Strawberries were in bloom; some growers were monitoring and protecting their crops from frost the night of May 14.

Despite the delay in planting due to rain and wet soils last week, potato planting continued to progress and early planted potatoes were emerging in central Michigan. Sweet corn planting was on schedule in the Bay area.

Onions, lettuce and spinach were being transplanted, and carrots were coming up. Asparagus harvest was underway. Carrot planting was starting to wrap up with some emerging. Pepper transplanting was expected to commence in a few weeks in the west central region. Tomato transplanting continued in the southwest. Early seeded slicing cucumbers, yellow squash, and zucchini were emerging.