Prevent Plant, Cover Crops, and More

Last night I was in attendance as a panel of experts talked us through a lot of the issues we are facing in agriculture this spring/summer.  The event was put on by OSU Extension and Ohio No-Till Council and held at the McIntosh Center on the campus of Ohio Northern University.  We’re also thankful that the Ohio Country Journal was on hand to record the panel and you can watch the video at their website, I’m going to try and summarize some of the issues, but if you have specific questions please get in contact with the extension office by calling 419-879-9108.

  1. If you have livestock and are running low on forages now, or anticipate a need before this winter what are your options? You can plant a forage crop on prevented plant acres and harvest it after September 1st under the new RMA/crop insurance guidelines. In this scenario corn is eligible to planted and chopped for silage.  However, you need to check with your crop insurance adjuster on what exactly is allowable so that you do not jeopardize your prevent plant payment. A common recommendation seems to be to plant the corn in 20″ rows or narrower and increase planted populations to 40,000 seeds per acre or higher.  Again, check with your agent/adjuster to make sure you are in compliance.  Other popular forage options are sorghum/sudan grass and oats.  If you are interested in either of these crops please try to get your seed ordered as soon as possible as supply will get tight.
  2. What can I do with treated soybean seed that is not returnable to the dealer? By far, the best option is to plant them, even as just a cover crop.  There are concerns about the insecticide used and what is the maximum rate that they can be planted at.  We would prefer rates of no more than 300,000 seeds per acre. This seed also needs to be covered so that it isn’t creating a harmful impact to wildlife or pollinators.  If you plan on broadcasting the treated seed you will need to incorporate it with either a disk or vertical tillage tool.  We do not recommend trying to carry seed over for planting in 2020.  The 2018 crop had some issues with poor germination scores already and those scores will only get worse even if the seed is stored under ideal conditions (less than 50 degrees and 50% humidity).
  3. What are my options on trying to kill some of these larger weeds that have grown up in preventive plant fields? Mowing them down would be the cheapest option, but most time consuming.  It will also scatter the weed seed and prolong your problem.  Tillage is an option, but it will probably take several passes to get everything killed.  There are lots of herbicide options available, but we need to be cautious on what the plant back intervals are for each herbicide used.  Most of the fields will have at least one species of weeds that is resistant to glyphosate so we need to be using higher rates and tank mix partners.  We also need to be aware of sensitive crops or gardens that might be impacted by drifts or temperature inversions if we are using Dicamba or 2,4-D products.  Mowing first will not make the weeds easier to kill with a herbicide later.
  4.  Are there any cost sharing opportunities for planting cover crops from soil and water districts or USDA – NRCS? The NRCS today has announced that they have $4 million available to producers that plant a cover crop.  Details are still coming out as far as payment amounts and eligibility requirements.  As more information becomes available it will be shared with producers.
  5. How has the excessive rain impacted my soil health? The rains have diminished our soil structure no matter what management practices are in place on your farm.  No air has been incorporated into the soil and this is greatly impacting the natural soil biology. We need to start the recovery process this summer on those acres.  Do not let them sit fallow until next spring.  Get your soils tested and then use this opportunity to apply lime and gypsum if needed.  This might also be an opportunity to apply manure on fields with low phosphorous levels.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Lima and Allen County community for the warm welcome I’ve received over the last couple of weeks.  I’m really excited to meet more of you in the ag community here.  I’m currently looking for some volunteers that would let me come out to their farm and pull samples for some research OSU is doing on soybean cyst nematodes. We need to stay ahead of this pathogen so we can continue to develop resistant varieties.  If you are interested please contact me via email at or by calling the extension office at 419-879-9108.

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