Michigan farmers dealing with weather fluctuations

Some plants sprouted during last week's warm-up and this week's cool-down could pose a potential problem for many Michigan farmers.
Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) - Some plants sprouted during last week’s warm-up and this week’s cool-down could pose a potential problem for many Michigan farmers.

A mid-Michigan agriculture expert said farmers shouldn’t have to worry as long as the temperature doesn’t drop any further.

“You definitely need the soils to be dry, and in some respects, it’s not really been the winter or early spring for that. We’ve got a lot of precipitation,” MSU field crop educator Eric Anderson said.

From snow to rain to sunny 80-degree weather, then back to more snow and rain, it has certainly been a roller coaster ride, especially for farmers.

“All that warm temperature that you just mentioned, that was great,” Anderson said.

Because it was able to quickly dry out all the water that the rain brought. Anderson said the cold temperature isn’t as much of a concern as the precipitation is.

“Our winter wheat that was planted in the fall and then also all the forages and that can be all the grasses or alfalfa. Both of those could be subject to winter kill from either an early green-up followed by a really strong cold front that comes through where you’d have temperatures dropping below 28 degrees or even colder. We haven’t seen that,” Anderson said.

But it’s Michigan, and knowing the fluctuating weather, that can quickly change. Anderson said farmers are used to it and try to plan accordingly.

“Any year is going to have sort of that shoulder season where you’ve got highs and lows, even summer-like temperatures like we saw last week. So, they’re kind of used to that,” he said.

In addition to the weather, he said they are also keeping an eye out for the emergence of certain insects that feed on plants.

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