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Michigan crop update: Rain delays corn, bean planting

EAST LANSING, MI -- There were 4.3 days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan during the week ending May 31, according to the Great Lakes Regional office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Final planting of corn and soybeans was delayed as most areas of the State reported receiving between one and three inches of rain this week. Some producers expressed concern that crops could be lost due to wet soils, and that weed control could be a problem as sprayers were kept off of fields and fields sprayed early would need to be sprayed again due to leaching of chemicals from the rain. Dry bean planting continued to be delayed due to cool, wet soil conditions. Winter wheat was heading this week, but fungicide applications were limited due to the rain. Some hay was cut this week, but much was cut for silage. Oats and barley continued to be in good to fair condition.

While cooler temperatures across the state have kept insect pressures in check this season, rain events throughout the week increased concerns for diseases, especially apple scab. In the northwest, growers reported significant damage to sweet cherries and wine grapes from the frost, which occurred the night of May 20-21. Damage to apples, tart cherries, and Saskatoons in the northwest were still being assessed, but initial reports suggest the damage to those fruits was not as severe. In the south, some fruit drop was reported in sweet cherries, but crop potential still looked good. Tart cherries looked good in the south, but growers hadn't seen the June drop yet. Also in the south, wine grape shoots were in the 6 to 12 inch range, while juice grape shoots were in the 8 to 18 inch range and flower clusters are elongating and separating. Initial crop potential for pears looked good in the south, while the crop load for apples in the southeast appeared mixed and extremely variable. In the southeast, growers continued removing dead and dying peach trees, while in the southwest, peaches were out of the shuck split. Japanese plums were 3-14 millimeters in diameter while European plums were 8 to 13 millimeters in diameter. Apricots were over an inch in diameter. Early blooming blueberries finished bloom in the south, while later blooming varieties were at petal fall. Strawberry bloom was winding down and there were thimble sized fruits in many fields. Bramble shoots were 8 to 12 inches long with flower buds separating in the clusters.

Most areas of the State experienced significant rainfall near the end of the week. Asparagus harvest continued in the west and central regions with picking nearly complete in the southwest. Slicing carrot varieties were being planted in Oceana County with earlier seeded dicing varieties showing good stands. Potato planting has been ongoing in the west and central regions with early plantings emerging. Sweet corn planting continued across the State with many early planted fields emerged and making good progress. Tomatoes, peppers, and cole crops were being transplanted in the Bay Area and the southwest. Cucumber planting continued in the eastern region as weather allowed. Onions were in various stages of development across the central and southern regions with some instances of downy mildew being detected.