Spring Planting Is Late In Michigan

Richard Shields (WKZO, Kalamazoo, MI) reports, “Temperatures here in the Kalamazoo area of southwest Michigan have been consistently 15 to 20 degrees below normal in early to mid-April with highs in the low 60s and freezes each night.  Soil temperatures were running far below the low 50s we’d like for corn planting.  Even with moderation in air temperatures there’s, for sure, going to be little or no early planted rows this year.  Given several dry days in a row and readings in the mid-60s for many of April’s closing days, we may be in better shape come May.  The extended outlook calls for a cool May – hopefully, not as cold.  We’re running about two weeks behind on heat units at this point.”  Richard adds, “Temps have been consistent and that’s good news for our fruit growers right now.  The ‘green tip’ stage in apples is running behind, so no freeze worries yet.  Fruit growers are hoping for a smooth transition into the growing season.  A big challenge has been getting the word out to a lot of listeners in town concerned about what they’ll find or not find at the local farmers’ market or roadside stand.  Extension folks tell me growers at spring meetings ask them ‘why are we talking about planting with snow coming down?’”