Michigan Farm News

Field Focus from Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers

Columnists, Field Focus

2018-09-15 176 Farm News Media 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.

Fall is finally here and the crowds have arrived with it. 

We are offering U-Pick to customers now that we’ve got our Honeycrisp picked.

Our cider mill is up and running and we’ll be selling pumpkins soon.

Crop yields on apples are above average for us this year, and that is a welcome change from last year.

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. 

We went from one extreme to the other with all the rain we’ve been getting. Our sandy soils that left us so dry in the drought are draining well and progress in the fields hasn’t been hindered too much.
 
The most violent winds missed our farms, but unfortunately north of us five miles sustained severe damage with downed trees and tipped-over pivots. We had to straighten some apple trellises where trees had tipped, and some varieties did lose a fair amount of fruit to the ground. 

Apple harvest is underway now, with McIntosh done, Gala in progress, and Honeycrisp beginning

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. 

Things have finally cooled down and we have received a bit of rain on the farm. The dahlias are pumping out more blooms than we can handle, and the farm is full of color.
 
Normally we would only have a few more weeks in the season, but if the weather holds out we will continue to harvest until mid-October. Honestly, I am looking forward to a little break. Unfortunately, that won’t be until after Christmas! 

Once we dig the dahlias, Christmas tree season will start up. Can’t wait to wear a hoodie again and for some R & R in January!

JASON VANDRESE | Delta County

Vandrese FF_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’re harvesting potatoes in full force now. We only grow about 100 acres, but we’ll dig every day until we’re done. We put them all into storage, and are usually done harvesting around the first week of October. But if it keeps raining here, we’ll have a lot of fun playing in the mud.
 
We planted all our rye cover crop for next year. All irrigation pipe is picked up, straw is done, and third-cutting hay is done. Corn looks good. Some people have already started chopping it, but we have to get all the potatoes in first and then switch to corn.

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.

The harvest has been really picking up in the area. Corn silage and sugar beets are underway in our area. Dry beans and soybeans are really starting to mature too, and I’m guessing by the end of the month we will be close to running. And wheat will be getting planted.

The rains have really been nice to get. I wish it was couple months earlier, but everything still looks promising for good crops.

Have a great and safe harvest.

 

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. 

In Fowlerville the beans are starting to turn fast and some corn is drying down and ears are tipping down.

Corn is starting to be chopped and we’re starting to move. Some bunker covers and baggers are going out. It’s nice to know there are some small farms left. Seems all you hear about are the big ones.

Pumpkins are starting to ripen, and we will open our stand on the 15th of September. So come and get all your fall decorations. We are still busy with chickens as growers are stocking up for winter. Have a safe harvest.

 

CODY FERRY | Genesee County

Ferry_FF_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.  

Soybeans have started changing over. The rains have been very beneficial in filling pods. I believe we will be very pleased with our early planted bean yields this year.

Corn is a toss-up. After walking a few fields, I’ve noticed some ears had pollinated really well and others not so much. But corn plant heath appears to be really good as we come into fall.

Our farm, along with other farms, are already looking into what seed we are going to plant and what can we change for next growing season. The last couple of weeks I have been busy meeting with my Beck’s customers to start discussing seed orders for next year. One thing we have noticed this year is weed pressure, and resistant weeds have been an issue.  So I think going into 2019 planting season we will see a change in gears in soybean technologies and herbicide programs being used.

Columnists, Field Focus

2018-08-15 176 Farm News Media 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.

We’re getting ready for our busiest time of year at the orchard.

Soon we will have apples available for U-pick and a small amount of pears for sale.

We are just finishing up our peach season, and will harvest some plums soon.

As fall approaches, I’m hoping for good weather and lots of customers.

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.  

We are finally getting rain. Peach and zucchini harvest are winding down. A few early-season apples varieties are being picked, but most need another week or two.

We’re establishing cover crops and getting the grass drive rows seeded in the orchards we planted this spring.

Around the county, there are a number of cherry orchards being removed and ground cleaned up. The shift from summer to fall is near.

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 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!

JASON VANDRESE | Delta County

Vandrese FF_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 have all our potato equipment ready to go and have been harvesting, only digging out about a cart or two a couple times a week, just to get some moving before we start harvesting at full force in September. It’s always nice to try everything and fix any problems we have before we put anything into storage.

We’re still picking up irrigation pipe, hauling manure, and working up fields to plant rye in. Still have some straw left to do, and started on third- crop hay too. Looks like it’s going to better than second crop.

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.

Things are beginning to look better with the late rains.

Corn is starting to dent and dairy guys will soon be taking corn silage off.

Early sugar beet harvest have been underway. Hoping for some good tonnage and sugar content.

Soybeans are looking very good for the small amounts of rain we’ve had.

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. 

In Fowlerville we are all done with oats, rye and straw, which is good because we lose our help when they return to school.

We still have a little hay to bale, but that is where the round baler comes in handy. We have been busy cleaning seed rye and tying cornstalks so they will dry green and be ready for the fall market.

With the recent bit of moisture, the corn and beans are coming along great, given the summer we had. Pumpkins are turning orange and we will start picking the middle of September. We have a small bit of powdery mildew starting, but nothing that should affect us too bad.

The sunflowers have been in bloom the last couple weeks but are done now. It’s amazing the things we take for granted. We had people from Grand Rapids to Port Huron come and take pictures of them along with 40-50 passing cars or more a day for two weeks. Yet we just think it’s just a sunflower field. 

No one is chopping corn silage here yet, but probably any time now.

Elnora is12 weeks old and doing great, she is growing like crazy we are very excited for the upcoming holidays. My wife Amanda was off all summer but had to go back to work, so that took a little adjustment. With all that been said, with the upcoming harvest season upon us, don’t forget to be safe and watch out for others.

CODY FERRY | Genesee County

Ferry_FF_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.  

This is the month that soybeans are made, and the weather has been cooperating with us the last few weeks.

We have caught good rains in the area that have helped tremendously with filling pods and with grain fill in corn. 

Right now it’s the calm before the storm around the farm. We all know harvest will be here really quick and we can all hope we are ready for it. I will begin to really walk fields again to get a better idea how the crops are developing and looking at plant health.

From the few fields that I have been in, whether it’s been our farm or my customers fields, things still look really good considering this year’s dry conditions up to this point.

Columnists, Field Focus

2018-08-15 176 Farm News Media 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.  

We are gearing up for our busy season at our farm market. As fall marches closer, we are harvesting peaches and nectarines, as well as our early apple varieties.

Our peach trees have given us a disappointing crop this year, with one variety not producing fruit at all.

Our apple crop continues to show promise. With the early varieties picked and on the shelf, we look forward to harvesting our Honeycrisp and other peak-season apples.

In the meantime, we continue to count our blessings and pray for rain.

 

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 hot, dry summer of 2018 continues. We’ve been teased with small rains and pop-up showers that have been for the most part inadequate.

Wheat and rye have been combined. Area zucchini growers are harvesting full swing. Green bean harvest is underway, and peaches will be starting soon.

We are catching up on maintenance both in the shop and in the orchards while preparing for the upcoming apple harvest. The apple crop is variable by variety.

Some rain would help sizing, and we’ll look forward to some cooler nights to help coloring as we get into September.

 

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 have started to harvest our first dahlias! Here in Lower Michigan, our harvest season runs from early August until our first frost, which is normally late September to early October. We pick everything by hand six days a week.

Things have still been incredibly dry on the farm. We are around seven inches of rain behind for the last three months. We finally had to rig up an irrigation system where we are pumping from a pond on the property.

Through all the heat and drought, the flowers are looking really good though! For photos of our flowers, check us out on Instagram and Facebook!

 
JASON VANDRESE | Delta County

Vandrese FF_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’ve been getting good amounts of rain, and as a result we’ve also been picking up irrigation pipe whenever we have spare time.

There is no need to water the potatoes anymore since we’ll be harvesting them soon (just let the vines die, makes it easier to dig them).

We finished second-crop hay and are waiting for third crop. Didn’t get as much hay as we had hoped of the second cutting, but maybe third can make up the difference since we’re actually getting some rain.

We combined our barley and oats and started square baling all of it.

 

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.  

We finally got an inch of rain the first week of August that was much needed. For the minimal rains we’ve had, we are looking good in the area compared to other spots in the state.

We had some bean leaf beetle and spider mite pressure in our soybean fields in the area that needed spraying.

Manure has been applied to the wheat ground and getting ready for next spring’s crops. Wheat prices next year are looking good, and we’re doing some contracting for next year too.

We’re getting ready for Sanilac County 4H and FFA fair in a couple weeks. Then before you know it, we will be in fall harvest.

 

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. 

Everything is moving along in this area except the rain gauge. Corn is tasseling and soybeans are flowering. Both are short but most still have good color. There are areas of light sandy ground that might not make a comeback.

We are all done at the county fair. Elnora was a hit and enjoyed being held by everyone. The nieces and nephews did well with their market animals and Kaylee won the fair queen title.

So now we are all back home ready to bale straw before they go back to school.

Prices have made a little rebound but still have ways to go before I would consider them good, but it could be worse.

Hay is looking like it will be a hot commodity this winter with the lack of rain. Hopefully everyone will get to take a little time off before harvest starts.

 

CODY FERRY | Genesee County

Ferry_FF_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.  

Wheat quality and yields were better than anticipated this year. Test weight was excellent and combining it was easy. We are still looking for a good shot of rain. We are dry and this is the month where beans really start putting on and filling pods.

Corn around the area seems to be faring well with the lack of rain, but it too needs a good shot of water.

Other than just getting caught up on summer projects and shipping out corn, nothing too exciting is going on around the farm.

Index

 

Blogs & Columns

 

Columns

Market Outlook: Cash rent determination: Do you and a gentleman farmer-economist agree?

Dr. Jim Hiker | September 15, 2018

 Jim Hilker png(1)David Ricardo came from a London stockbroking family, made most of his considerable fortune from speculation during the financially turbulent Napoleonic war-era, cashed in and retired to an English country estate.

Weather Outlook: More rain in September; mild winter?

Jeff Andresen | September 15, 2018  

Jeff Andresen pngA broad upper-air ridge across the Upper Midwest led to a very active weather pattern across Michigan and the Great Lakes region during the last week of August and first week of September, with significant rainfall across most areas of the state.

Field Focus- September 15, 2018

Your Field Focus reporters are busier than ever now that the dog days of summer have yielded to the harvest season. Before long, they’ll be wrapping things up and looking for a paycheck, which under current economic conditions might be a little shorter than expected. But like farmers twice their age, they’ll persevere and give you a fresh harvest report in a couple weeks…ime to send you these reports.

Weather Outlook: Chances of rainfall increasing?

Jeff Andresen | August 30, 2018

Jeff Andresen pngOccasional rounds of scattered showers and thunderstorms brought welcome moisture to sections of Michigan during the first half of August, but most areas received only limited relief from prolonged dryness.

Market Outlook: Real tariff farm

Dr. Jim Hiker | August 30, 2018

 Jim Hilker png(1)The harm from the tariffs is real, whether the trade war is justified or not. And there is a possibility of longer-run effects as well, such as an increase in the investment in agricultural infrastructure in other parts of the world.