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Parts of Michigan at Some Level of Drought Despite Rain
Michigan Ag Connection - 08/09/2022

Farmers welcomed several rain events across the State last week, according to Marlo D. Johnson, director of the Great Lakes Regional Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 4.6 days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan during the week ending Sunday. Rain came as a relief to crops in the Northern Lower Peninsula. According to the US Drought Monitor Keweenaw County and counties in the Southern Upper Peninsula and the Northwest and Central Lower Peninsula were reported as abnormally dry. Many counties in Central Michigan and the Thumb Region were reported as in moderate drought for the third week in a row.

Winter wheat harvest was ending and cover crop planting began. Oat and Barley harvests progressed behind last year's pace. Rain was beneficial for Soybean pod growth and dry beans were sprayed for insects. Alfalfa and other hay third cuttings followed historical progression, humidity from the rains prevented baling in the Southeast. Pasture growth has been short and feeding livestock supplemental hay increased. Disease and pest activity continued to pick up. Other activities during the week included spraying pesticides, applying manure to wheat stubble, harvesting hay, and baling straw.

A mixed bag of weather last week saw wide ranging temperatures and precipitation amounts; most areas of the State received at least some rain. Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) numbers increased though their numbers increased more slowly than anticipated. Michigan State University Extension, after a multi-year approval process, released a new biocontrol agent, a tiny wasp, Ganaspis brasiliensis, to help combat SWD. Japanese beetle populations remained high. Tart cherry harvest continued in the Northwest. Fruit quality was holding up, though fruit was softening somewhat. Brix levels were high this year, so fruit are sweet and delicious. Apples were sizing well across the State and beginning to color. Early varieties like Earligold and Pristine were harvested in the Southwest. Peach harvest continued. Red haven harvest began in the Southwest. Blueberry harvest was in full swing with mid-season varieties on their second picking in the Southwest.

Michigan vegetable producers were hard at work on harvest of their main-season vegetable crops. Among the crops being harvested were sweet onions in the East and green peppers and eggplants in the Southwest. Also in the Southwest, early plantings of cucumbers, pickles, and summer squash were being sprayed off to prepare for new crops. Meanwhile, powdery mildew had been reported on pumpkins and hard squash across the State, and downy mildew was spreading to additional cucumber fields. Insect presence also continued on various vegetables, such as cabbage and tomatoes. To counter these threats to their crops, growers were thorough in their application of fungicides and pesticides. Potato harvest was picking up, with the crop in good condition and no late blight having been reported in Michigan to date.

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