Michigan Agriculture Report


EAST LANSING, MI. — The good news for fall cereals and late gardens is that moderate temperatures should continue into early November. The bad news is a continued drier trend, although Eric Snodgrass says late fall weather tends to be more unsettled.

The Mississippi River “road” network

Why do we care about the Mississippi River system? It drains 42% of the lower 48 states, and 60% of all grain is exported from ports across the Gulf of Mexico, via the Panama Canal to Asia. One barge (of grain) is equivalent to 16 railroad cars or 62 tractor-trailers, so transporting goods by water is by far the cheapest and most efficient method. If the water levels of the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, Red and Illinois rivers are too low, navigation is severely affected, both upstream and downstream. Oil, gas, fertilizers, coal, chemicals, sand and gravel, salt and cement are some of the commodities moving upstream. Grain from our region is shipped by boat through the Welland Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway to Rotterdam, North Africa or the Middle East. By rail, grain is moved to the southeastern United States to supply the poultry or pork industries or to ports in Baltimore or elsewhere on the east coast. Soybeans from Ohio, Indiana and Michigan are sent to Southeast Asia for tofu because they like our larger seeds with a clear hilum.

Drones in agriculture

Drones are now being used in agriculture for crop scouting, spraying, field mapping, stand counting or other field recommendations, all offline at the edge of the field or offsite. Four years ago, I worked with BASF on a high-yield wheat project that included farms in our area and hired a Chicago-based company to send drones to those fields during the growing season. On Tuesday, November 10, the Monroe County Business Development Corporation will sponsor a 2022 Focus on Future Reunion at Monroe County Community College. The keynote speaker will talk about the use and success of drones in agriculture and other uses in the community. Interested persons can register at https://conta.cc/3TAxMLU.

The “hidden yield thief”

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is the most damaging pest of soybeans in Monroe County, Michigan and the Midwest. A local farmer watched his soybean yield drop to eight bushels per acre before he decided he better do something about it! However, even some of the winners of the Michigan soybean yield contest had soybean cyst nematode in their contest field, but managed to manage this pest. The soybean cyst nematode is a microscopic roundworm that penetrates the cell walls of soybean roots and disrupts the flow of nutrients to the plant. It can be especially devastating in a year with hot, dry weather like we had this summer. The first step for farmers is to test their soil for Soybean Cyst Nematode and can send up to 20 field samples to MSU’s Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic for free, paid for with their levy dollars on the soy. Farmers can visit the Michigan Soybean Committee website to download the form and instructions.

NEW Pesticide Applicator Credit Report

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced Sept. 12 that private and commercial pesticide applicators in Michigan can now view the number of recertification credits they have on their credential. The website is https://www.michigan.gov/mdard/licensing/pesticide. Access to this database will be very convenient for pesticide applicators who need to know their credit status. Private pesticide applicators (farmers) need 16 credits to renew their current certification within three years. Commercial applicators need eight credits in the basic category and eight credits in each commercial category in which they are currently certified. The credit renewal process does not apply to individuals wishing to become certified for the first time or wishing to add a new category. Questions can be directed to Lisa Graves of MDARD at 800-292-3939.

Update on Winter Meeting for the Great Lakes Cultures Summit

Registration is now open for the Great Lakes Cultures Summit Annual Convention and Trade Show to be held January 25-26, 2023 at the Soaring Eagle Resort in Mt. Pleasant. Sponsored by the Michigan Corn Marketing Program, the Michigan Soybean Committee and the Michigan Wheat Program, the entry cost is $150. For more information, visit www.greatlakescropsummit.com. This event started in 2013 and has been sold out for several years.

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