Field Focus- November 15, 2018
Farm News Media
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 is a fifth-generation fruit grower from Grand Rapids. He farms apples, peaches and cherries with his father Ed, and two uncles.
We are finished with our apple harvest for the season! Recent rains did not present much challenge to us finishing our harvest, however we did have a bit of a scare as we had a small hailstorm come through recently. Luckily there was no visible damage done to our crop or trees.
At the time of writing this, we are working on winterizing our irrigation lines, and building additional deer fences to protect our younger trees. As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, our focus will shift to shipping fruit in gift boxes all across the country.
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 fall weather has been fairly cooperative with the exception of a couple days of light rains, about a quarter inch on two occasions. Corn, squash and carrots rule the roads. There are a lot of Christmas trees being cut now as well.
Asparagus growers that elect to chop fern in the fall have their mowers busy. Much of the migrant community has left, and housing units are being winterized. Apple trimming is underway, and along with that, brush grinding.
And at home, we have ourselves a walker. Luke is loving life and his newfound mobility!
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 are at the height of our season now and the fields are full of flowers. Our season is around eight weeks long, but the peak is September. The last two years, because of a late frost, we have managed to harvest into mid-October.
We are still in rough shape when it comes to rain, now around 8 inches behind, but we have been managing with our irrigation system that we set up. It is not a perfect situation, but it is keeping everything looking good! Now if Mother Nature would just cool things down a bit!
Updated as of September 30, 2018
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’ve been doing a little bit of everything lately! Around here we’re just trying to finish up as much as we can before it gets too cold. The weather hasn’t been that bad, better than October was. We’re still combining corn and delivering potatoes, cleaning calf pens, hauling out manure, picking up stone piles left in the field after digging potatoes, and emptying the slurry tank again. I just emptied the slurry in August so it wasn’t that full, but usually we empty it out once in the fall and once in the spring and sometimes it’s just about running over.
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.
Not sure what we have had for rain for October, since our rain gauges were put away in case of freezing, but had few rain delays. Been seeing many flocks of geese headed south. It’s definitely the heart of harvest season as I write this.
Soybean yields were very good in area, better than expected. Test-plots had few in the 80s bushel per acre range. Couple of our seed beans varieties that we grew were in the 65-70 range.
Got some winter wheat is planted and also trying to get cover crops planted.
Corn harvest is underway in the area with yields ranging across the board depending on if you got rain or not. Test weights have been decent too. Sugar beets were also a good year if you got the rains just like corn.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
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.
Fowlerville is moving right along. Beans are starting to be wrapped up if we can keep the elevator taking them it would be easier but tis the season.
There is a lot of corn being done inches area between rain drops. We have gotten a couple 1/2” rains and a bunch of mists. We just barely started on corn, but everything is halted with the broiler contest. The crop quality has been good, test weights are a little low but given the year we’ll take it.
All of our rye is planted and most of it is up already. Pumpkins are done and Ch————mas trees will be coming soon (I didn’t want to say it yet!). Turkey season is ramping up to be busy as always.
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.
Soybean harvest is finished and we are now plugging away at corn. Our soybean yields were better than anticipated and caught us by surprise. It has been a busy few weeks as we harvested the majority of our soybeans in two weeks.
Corn also appears to be doing fairly well but it is still early as we only have a few acres off. As usual the weather decides what we accomplish in a day and looking ahead it looks like it’s going to be wet. We caught about an inch of rain on Oct. 31.