Field crop production highlighted at Ag Action Day

What if spring 2020 looks like 2019? Ag Action Day on Jan. 31, 2020, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, will explore ways to manage for increasingly wet periods of weather.

Equipment parked in a wet field
Photo by Bruce MacKellar, MSU Extension

Don’t like the weather? As the old adage goes in southwest Michigan, wait five minutes and it will change. That is just part of our Lake Effect heritage in the region. However, lately we have seen our weather trends increasingly follow patterns across the Midwest for wetter spring and fall seasons. While weather can change, it does mean Michigan field crop producers should be prepared for more weather conditions that step out of the bounds of our traditional patterns. This will be increasingly important with corn tar spot disease on the rise across Michigan. Weather conditions that create extended periods of leaf wetness during the growing season are likely to trigger infection periods for this tough fungal pathogen.

Ag Action Day is a diverse program jointly sponsored by Michigan State University Extension staff across the region. It is the area’s longest-running agriculture and natural resources Extension program, with its early roots dating back to the early 1980s. The program features a round robin format with three 90-minute sessions and 18 different sessions to choose from throughout the day.

The Ag Action Day program will be Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Main Campus, 6767 West “O” Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. Cost is $40 per person and includes lunch.

In the field crops program track, the first session will include a discussion of 2019 and outlooks for 2020 from Jeff Andresen, MSU Extension agriculture climatologist. Sarah Fronczak, MSU Extension environmental quality educator, will also be discussing considerations for crop producers when having manure applied to their fields to capture the best benefit of the nutrients. Eric Anderson, MSU Extension field crops educator, will share results from a soybean inoculation study.

In the second session, MSU weed specialist Erin Burns will discuss the impacts of wet weather and delayed application timing on herbicides and potential carryover issues for 2020. MSU Extension field crops educator Bruce MacKellar and irrigation educator Lyndon Kelley will discuss research results from 2019, including insights on managing for tar spot and soybean inoculation.

In the third session, MSU wheat specialist Dennis Pennington will discuss wheat production issues in 2019, as well as potential challenges caused by Fusarium head blight with wet conditions during flowering. And finally, MSU marketing economist Jim Hilker will talk about the market outlook for 2020 as well as some recommendations about which options to consider and potential benefits for updating yields for the Farm Bill Signup, which needs to be completed by March 15.

For more information on the sessions offered and to register for the program, visit Ag Action Day or call the Van Buren County MSU Extension office at 269-657-8213.


MSU Extension has compiled a list of resources that discuss different management considerations growers can use when dealing with immature crops resulting from planting delays. For more information, visit Delayed Planting and Harvest Impacts Resources.

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