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Tuesday, 28 May 2013 10:44

Farmers able to catch up after unusually wet spring

(AREA) -- Michigan's row crop farmers had a lot of catching up to do early this month, and two weeks of seasonable weather helped them with planting as spring races toward summer. Most sugar beets are now planted, 80 percent of the state's corn crop is in the ground, and half of its soybeans were planted as of May 19, putting farmers back on a near-normal footing for this time of year.
According to the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service Great Lakes Region, relatively few areas are still lagging behind the curve because of overly wet fields.In the few areas where farmers were able to hit the fields early, sugar beets, corn and soybeans are already emerging. Planted in the fall and dormant through the winter, wheat is also in good condition. An overnight freeze May 12 did a number on some developing fruits and vegetables. The crops hit hardest by last year's balmy March and brutal April-apples, cherries, peaches and juice grapes-are mostly in fine form. Some damage has been reported to some young vegetable plants-tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, zucchini and yellow squash-but most other vegetables have gone unscathed. Sweet corn is emerging in the southeast, southwest and central parts of the state, and pea plants already exceeding six inches in height have been reported in southeastern Michigan.