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September to Remain Cool, Dry


Published: Friday, September 8, 2017

The following is from Eric Anderson, Michigan State University Extension Southwest field crops educator.

According to the September NOAA monthly climate outlook, cooler temperatures from August are carrying over to September. This will slow crop develoment even further, which may be important particularly for fields that were already one to two weeks behind. We will need at least a near average (or later) freeze date for corn in order for the crop to finish out.

We will not be in danger of freezing temps this week The average date when we see our first freezing temps is Sept. 21 to Oct. 10, depending on what part of the Michigan you're in, so we'll need to see whether this cold trend persists.

September is forecasted to be drier than normal, so that should help with dry-down on more advanced fields, but the drought this season has taken its toll on non-irrigated crops. The rain that was predicted over the weekend did not materialize, with precip totals of less than .25 inch and most locations receiving less than .10 inch.

Much of our region remains abnormally dry according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Bruce MacKellar estimates we could see as much as a 30 percent yield loss in the most severely-impacted areas.

If you are planning on either interseeding a cover crop or planting after harvest this fall, check out the Midwest Cover Crop Council website—it is a wealth of information and includes a useful selector tool. Another resource I found last week is a booklet called Cover Crop Basics put out by Grassland Oregon. One tip they include is to be sure to compare "apples to apples" when looking at costs of cover crop seed.

For example, clover A and clover B may be priced at $1.80 per pound and $2.60 per pound, so clover A looks like the better deal, right? But, when you take into account the number of seeds per pound and the recommended seeding rate for each, the actual cost per acre is cheaper for clover B.

Something to keep in mind, especially when shopping around for new products or companies this fall.

With less than two weeks until the St. Joseph County Fair, the volunteer schedule for the AgCiting program is filling in, but we still need more help. We especially need help with the following: dairy, goat and rabbit resource people; tractor drivers; and tour guides on Wednesday and Friday. If you are interested and available, please contact me for details.

Ag-Citing is a program where third graders from area schools come to the fair and learn, among other things, where their food comes from and how crops and animals are grown. They come in for a morning or afternoon, hear several brief talks on different animals and crops, take a hay ride, tour the Master Gardner plots, have lunch and head back to school. Don't worry about not knowing enough about a given topic—remember, these are third graders and most are not from the farm.

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