Field Focus - May 15 | Michigan Farm News
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Field Focus - May 15, 2018

2018-05-08 176 Field Focus_MFN_2018 Welcome to the 2018 Field Focus feature. This year, six of our seven reporters are members of ProFile, a leadership development program of Michigan Farm Bureau. In each print edition of Michigan Farm News through the growing season, these young farmers will tell you about conditions on their farms and their regions.

ALLAN ROBINETTE | Kent County

Allan Robinette_MFN_2018Allan is a fifth-generation fruit grower from Grand Rapids. He farms apples, peaches and cherries with his father Ed, and two uncles.  

These past few weeks have been all about planting trees for us. We are in the process of replacing our existing peach orchard and have more than doubled our number of sweet cherry trees. In addition, we’ve replaced a thousand Honeycrisp trees with a newer variety that will ideally be fully red in color.

Spring has been kind to us. We had concerns about frost damage to our trees recently, but the cold weather we’ve had for most of the spring has delayed bloom enough that we made it through the frost event seemingly unscathed.

CALEB HERRYGERS | Oceana County

Caleb Herrygers_MFN_2018Caleb and his family raise primarily tart cherries, asparagus, and apples on their centennial farm. He and his wife Andrea have one son, Luke.  

The late start to spring gave everyone adequate time to finish trimming trees. The new orchards are planted, and new asparagus fields are going in now.

Asparagus harvest is coming up fast. Early reports indicate the labor supply is improving, much in part to another increase in the use of H2A. Although it is Michigan and the weather can change in a hurry, the general consensus is the later start to the growing season should lead to a lesser chance of a freeze and more successful fruit sets.

 

MICHAEL GENOVESE | Oakland County

Micheal Genovese_MFN_2018Michael operates Summer Dreams Farm, specializing in Dahlias for cut flowers and tubers. Michael also works with his parents, Frank and Cathy, on their Christmas Tree Farm.  

We had one of the coldest and wettest springs in memory here on the farm this year. Temperatures were running 10 to 15 degrees below normal and things didn’t start warming up until the end of April.

The weather pushed our schedules back by around three weeks and we ended up planting Christmas trees later than we have in the last 30 years. I am expanding our cut flower production to six acres this year, tripling what we did last year. I hope to start planting in the next few days once the risk of frost is over.

 

JASON VANDRESE | Delta County

Jason Vandrese_MFN_2018Jason works at VanDrese Farms in Cornell, which has been family owned and operated since 1914. He works with his grandma, dad and two uncles. They work 750 acres and grow alfalfa, oats, barley, corn, and potatoes (russets & whites). They also milk 140 Holstein cows twice a day in a free-stall barn.  

We are still delivering potatoes to local stores, but it’s almost done. Right now we’ve just been pulling our planting equipment out and getting all of it ready to go. Looks like the ground is pretty dry here and temperatures are warm.

We’ve got a lot of manure to spread, so we’re going to do that until we’re done, pick up all the rock piles, work up the fields and then start planting. We’ve also put duels on tractors, potato seed cutter ready and waiting to get our seed in.

 

SCOTT THOMAS | Sanilac County 

Scott Thomas-MFN_2018Scott works at Eager farms in Brown City, where he farms corn, soybeans, sugar beets and wheat. He also works the family farm along with his mother.  

Finally weather is in our favor! Nitrogen is on the wheat and looking good. Planting is in full swing with sugar beets being planted. Many guys started the last week of April planting corn and soybeans in the area. Hopefully everyone has safe and great spring.

 

MATT MUNSELL | Livingston County 

Matt Munsell_MFN_2018Matt farms with his family on their centennial farm in Fowlerville where they grow hay, oats, sunflowers, pumpkins, rye, soybeans and corn. They also have greenhouses and a road side market where they direct-market most products. He also owns Munsell’s poultry processing, which operates under full USDA inspection.

Spring planting is in full swing, our oats are all planted and we’ve started planting soybeans. We will start planting corn and sunflowers as soon as the planter parts come in (it is fun waiting on parts).

Neighbors here are moving right along, we all started the last week of April without many wet spots.

Greenhouses are starting to fill with blossoms in preparation for Mothers Day, and vegetable plants are enjoying the long-awaited spring sunshine. Pumpkin seeds are waiting for Memorial Day week.

Thinking about contracting some corn and beans with recent slide up in prices

Hopefully planting continues without many setbacks because my wife and I are waiting for our first baby the end of May. So far everything is on track and we are excited to meet our new baby girl.

 

CODY FERRY | Genesee County

Cody Ferry_MFN_2018Cody is farm manager for a large cash-crop farm which grows corn, wheat and soybeans. In his spare time he is a Beck’s Hybrid seed dealer.  

We are off to a slow start, but have worked a few acres. We have planted a few acres of corn and soybeans and have been applying dry fertilizer. Field conditions have a ways to go but we are able to find ground that is ready to go!

 

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