By Frederick Springborn
For the most part the answer is yes, we are done planting corn for dry grain harvest in central Michigan. The latest USDA Crop Progress report issued June 17, 2019, indicated the Michigan corn crop is 84% planted. This likely includes acres that have been declared as prevented plant. I only know of a few producers that will still plant a small number of acres for grain production as uncertainty about the rest of the growing season, especially the amount of growing degree days available, looms. Changing to very early maturing hybrids, e.g., 79-day or less corn, should be done with some degree of caution. Some of these hybrids will perform very well for their early maturity and just like some of our full season hybrids, some may not.
Cattle feeders who still need forage and corn silage acres should consider continuing to plant corn for silage. The chances are increasing that the silage will be immature when harvested, but it may be as good of an option for tonnage per acre and quality, as is available. There are various cover crops that could also be planted such as sorghum-sudangrass, sorghum and small grains (oats and spring barley). Talk to your nutritionist about how these alternatives might fit in your ration. Early indications are that seed for some of these crops may be in short supply as they are popular options for many this year.
Cover crop seed should be selected with a degree of caution. Poor quality, unprocessed cover crop seed may not germinate and perform well. It may also carry with it multiple species of weed seeds that could introduce a new weed species to your farm. If you are considering planting cover crops on prevented plant acres
for forage harvest later, be sure to keep in touch with your crop insurance representative as to rules for harvest.
Soybeans will continue to be planted in the coming days as soil conditions allow. For producers with crop insurance, we have now passed the final plant date for soybeans in Michigan, which was June 15. We are now in the late plant period. As of the June 17 USDA Crop Progress Report, about one-half of the Michigan soybean crop is yet to be planted. Consider the impact on disease and nematode issues if you are considering planting soybeans on acres intended for corn that were soybeans in 2018.
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