MSUE SW MI Updates

Here are some important highlights from the MSU Extension field crops team this week.


This week’s meeting featured MSU agricultural economist Dr. Jim Hilker who talked to us about Grain Marketing Updates. He focused on the main drivers for the recent increases in corn and soybean prices, gave his projections for what the fundamentals are saying about how prices may move this year, and even offered some recommendations for what farmers should do with both old-crop and new-crop corn and soybeans. The article summarizing the talk will be available soon on the MSUE News website.

If you would like to arrange a time with one of the speakers following a given breakfast meeting, please contact me in advance so I can arrange a schedule, assuming each speaker has time to stay in the area after the breakfast.


Armyworm and black cutworm trap counts have decreased with the cool and rainy weather this past week. Cumulative counts from April 29–May 6 were 55 for true armyworm and 50 for black cutworm with three traps each in St. Joseph County. However, two counts this week have produced 0 or near-0 moths in all traps. We may be past peak flight, but just to be sure I reset traps with fresh pheromone caps and sticky trays and will monitor for two more weeks. Remember, when looking at Purdue’s trap numbers, since the traps I am using are sticky traps with pheromone caps, our counts cannot be compared to theirs or any other counts unless they also used a similar trap type.


I am hoping to conduct a mini-study to highlight the potential benefits of a PSNT (pre-sidedress nitrate test). I have a few fields signed up and would like 3-5 more fields. The test was originally designed to help growers gauge how much nitrogen would be available to this year’s corn crop from existing soil organic matter in manured fields. The criteria for fields include: 1) history of at least one manure application (any species) OR a field that has just come out of alfalfa OR had cover crops that had clover as a significant part; 2) must be planted to corn this year; and 3) must not have had a broadcast application of inorganic nitrogen prior to sidedress (banding or pop-up is OK). If you have one or more fields that meet these criteria, please contact me. I will come and pull soil samples and pay for the PSNT analysis, and you will receive the results, no strings attached. I will use the data from your fields, without any personal/identifying information included, in an article this spring/summer in the MSUE News.



· May 17 IPM Breakfast. Royal Café in Centreville, 7:00 AM. Join us for breakfast, an update from the field crops team, and a presentation from MSU Professor Dr. Christy Sprague who will talk to us about Field Crops Weed Issues…should be a really good discussion, be sure to bring your own questions and issues to ask. No registration required, public is welcome. CEU (IPM) and RUP credits available.

· May 25 Wheat Field Day 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Mt. Pleasant, MI. Agenda Items Include: Managing for High Yields; Weed Control; Disease Management Strategies; Wheat Market Update; Growth Regulators

· June 29 MSU Weed Tour 8:30 a.m,. Lansing, MI. Pre-registration for the tour is $25 per person which includes a tour booklet and lunch.


· Soybeans tolerant to growth regulator herbicides discussed at breakfast meeting. Eric Anderson. New herbicide-tolerant crops that will expand the weed control options for soybeans have been developed. However, they are not ready for the 2016 season.

· Scout for stripe rust and other wheat leaf diseases now. Martin Nagelkirk. Some leaf diseases in wheat developed early this season and bear watching, particularly stripe rust.

· Alfalfa weevil larval feeding starting in southern Michigan alfalfa fields. Bruce MacKellar. Alfalfa weevil threshold damage levels are low, however fields should be examined for signs of tip feeding from now until the first cutting is harvested.

· Web-based program to generate MSU fertilizer recommendations. George Silva. Use the MSU Fertilizer Recommendation Program to compare the fertilizer recommendations from your service provider with that of Michigan State University.

· Secrets in the soil – dig a little, learn a lot. Dean Baas. There’s a whole world beneath the surface. Learn more about soil health at MSU Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Soils on Aug. 24, 2016.

Eric Anderson

Michigan State University Extension

Field Crops Extension Educator – St. Joseph County

Check Also

US 131 construction project update

Michigan Department of Transportation’s Chris Jacobs has issued an update regarding the second phase of …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *