ALLAN ROBINETTE | Kent County
Allan 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 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
Michael 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 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 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 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 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!