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Friday, 29 August 2014 11:54

Crop farming update from USDA National Ag Statistics Service-Great Lakes Regional Office

(AREA) -- Despite a brutal winter, a long, wet spring and a cool summer, Michigan's big-acreage field crops are on pace for better overall production than last year. A summary of the statewide crop production report recently released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service's Great Lakes Regional Office predicts better than expected production in corn, soybeans, sugar beets and dry, edible beans.

Dry, edible beans like kidneys, pintos and great northerns are projected to yield 2,000 pounds per acre, up 100 pounds from last year. That's notably higher than the national average of 1,784 pounds per acre.

Bean growers in Michigan got their acres planted ahead of schedule, finishing in late June. Conditions have been favorable for plant development, and by August 1 three-quarters of the crop was rated good to excellent.

Corn growers expect yields averaging 161 bushels per acre, six bushels more than last year and about seven bushels fewer than the national average of 167.4 bushels. Corn's long road to maturity and farmers' late start planting it this year-as much as a month behind schedule-has growers concerned about the onset of autumn.

Michigan soybean production is projected to best last year by 21 percent, totaling 100.76 million bushels. Unchanged from 2013, the yield forecast is 44 bushels per acre.

In alfalfa hay-the primary forage for dairy cattle-increased planting acreage and improved yields of 3.3 tons per acre are adding up to a total production of 2.1 million tons statewide.

Across the Thumb and Saginaw Valley, Michigan's sugar beet growers estimate a yield of 26.5 tons per acre, up 0.3 tons from last year. Only wheat fields are underperforming compared to last year, yielding 73 bushels per acre, down two bushels from 2013. Michigan's total winter wheat crop is expected to total 37.2 million bushels.