Despite a challenging 2018 planting season, it appears Michigan farmers made good use of limited planting opportunities to get corn and soybeans planted this past spring. According to USDA’s, National Ag Statistics Service (NASS), planted corn acres in the state were up 50,000 from last year, while soybean acres were also up another 20,000 total acres.
Michigan Farm Bureau Fields Crop Specialist, Kate Thiel, says Michigan farmers made good planting progress in the late-April/early May timeframe, but above-normal precipitation for most of May – considered prime time for planting corn and soybeans – brought farming to a virtual standstill in southern Michigan.
“Based on these figures, it’s safe to say that once drier conditions allowed fieldwork to resume, Michigan producers made rapid progress in completing fieldwork and planting,” said Thiel. “Ironically, this year’s weather patterns has been one of extremes within the state, particularly in the Saginaw and Thumb regions, where farmers have been begging for rain.”
|Heavy rains delayed planting across southern Michigan.|
How those weather-related challenges ultimately play out in final yields remains to be seen. Although many farmers were not able to complete planting until mid-June, Thiel says most of the planted acres have emerged. With frequent showers and above normal temperatures, conditions are currently ideal for rapid growth and plant development.
Thiel speculates that the late planting season also motivated Michigan farmers to plant more acres to soybeans than originally planned. “Planted soybean acres actually match total corn acres at 2.3 million total acres for both commodities,” she said. “But if you consider just corn acres planted for grain, the trend since 2016 continues - soybean acres actually outpaced corn by a significant margin within the state and the gap continues to widen.”
That’s consistent with national trends as well. U.S. corn planted area for all purposes in 2018 is estimated at 89.1 million acres, down 1 percent from last year. Corn acres harvested for grain, at 81.8 million acres, is down 1 percent from last year, compared to soybean planted acres for 2018, estimated at 89.6 million acres.
Winter wheat growers planted 550,000 acres in Michigan, up 15 percent from 2017. Harvested acres of winter wheat for grain are anticipated to be 500,000 acres, up 75,000 acres from a year ago.
U.S. winter wheat planted area for 2018 is estimated at 32.7 million acres, up less than 1 percent from last year and up slightly from the previous estimate, representing the third lowest planted acreage on record for the United States.