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Michigan crop update: Cool days slow crop development

EAST LANSING, MI -- There were 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan during the week ending May 24, according to the Great Lakes Regional office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Cold mornings and cool days slowed crop development across the state. Except for a frost the morning of May 23, conditions were dry and mild throughout the week. By week's end, corn planting was more than 90 percent complete; some yellowness in stands was observed due to cooler weather. Soybean planting continued where field conditions allowed, however, dry bean planting had not yet begun in most areas as soil temperatures remained too cool. Wheat was at Feekes 7 to 8; some nitrogen and micronutrient deficiencies have been observed. Oat and barley stands were uniform with no problems observed. Cereal rye was heading. First cutting of dry hay was just getting under way in central and southern counties. In the north, growers reported that hay was short and in need of rain.

Frosty conditions during the week were reported at many orchards and vineyards this week; although it is too early to tell if there was any significant damage to fruit crops. Apricots were out of the shuck, with the largest fruit about 20 millimeters in diameter. Peaches were at shuck split or out of the shuck; some orchards in the southwest have been slow to develop foliage. Sweet cherries were 10-14 millimeters in diameter. Some spotty winter damage was reported to tart cherries in the north. In the south, tart cherries were 6-10 millimeters in diameter; Leaves have emerged and trees have greened up. Japanese plums were at shuck split in the southeast and at 6 to 10 millimeters in diameter in the southwest. European plums are 5 to 7 millimeters in diameter.

Early apple fruits were 5-9 millimeters in diameter, while late blooming varieties were in petal fall; some fruit drop was already observed in the southwest. Pears were 7-12 millimeters in diameter. In wine grapes, shoots were in the 3- to 4-inch stage, while juice grapes were in the 6- to 10-inch range with flower clusters growing. Saskatoons were past full bloom and into petal fall. Blueberries were at full bloom in the southeast and the west central region, while in the southwest, leaf emergence and shoot growth were well underway; more winter injury became apparent in blueberries as green tissue developed. Strawberries were blooming with thimble-sized fruit in the southwest. Bramble shoots were 4-6 inches long with flower buds separating in the clusters.

Frost threats in the Bay Area and central region last week had growers more cautious in transplanting frost-sensitive vegetables. Asparagus harvest in southwestern Michigan was about halfway done, but cool temperatures have slowed progress. In central Michigan, potato planting was ongoing with early plantings emerging. Slow emergence of sweet corn due to cool soil temperatures was observed. Onions, table beets, and peas had emerged and stands were good.