Mother Nature decided to give our local farmers a chance to get some fieldwork done with the warmer temperatures and drier conditions. This has enabled a good start on fertilizer, manure, and herbicide burndown applications. Tillage is going on in several fields around the county and some planting of corn has begun. Rainfall reports are coming in for the second half of April to begin our annual township rainfall reporting, but let’s hope it doesn’t start out like last year. In case you are interested, I attached the Hardin County Rainfall Report for 2017. It has township rainfall amounts for each month of the growing season as well as the ten year average for each month. Last year we ended up with 28.25 inches of rain compared with our ten year average of 23.35 inches as reported by our township rainfall reporters for the period of April 15-October 15. If you are interested in the Ohio Crop Weather Report, I have attached it as well. It shows only 1% of the Ohio corn and soybeans planted as of this past week with only 2.6 days of suitable weather for field work. If you want to know how Ohio crop prices fared, March corn, at $3.79 per bushel, increased $0.15 from February and increased $0.10 from last year; March soybeans, at $10.10 per bushel, increased $0.28 from last month and increased $0.18 from last year; March wheat, at $4.90 per bushel, increased $0.44 from February and increased $0.68 from last year; March milk, at $15.80 per cwt., increased $0.10 from last month, but decreased $2.70 from last year according to the attached USDA report released April 30.
If you were one of the people who attended fertilizer recertification this past March in Hardin County, you might remember taking a fertilizer survey. Several applicators are taking a look at their fertilizer use, and in some cases making changes based on what OSU Extension has been teaching the past three years. There is still much work to do in order that the nutrients we apply stay in the field and not end up in our waterways. One thing that I have been doing related to this issue is on-farm nutrient management research in the county. If you look at the Ohio No-Till News that is attached, you will see that Hardin County OSU Extension has been awarded a Conservation Tillage Conference mini-grant to continue this research into 2018 with a nitrogen timing trial. This past year we did a nitrogen rate trial with the 2017 mini-grant, and in 2016 we did a nutrient placement trial with a mini-grant from the CTC. Thanks to the cooperating farmers who helped make this happen. Currently, research reports are going through a peer review process before being released to the public. I have also attached a copy of the Master Gardener Volunteers Plant Sale news release and flyer for this annual event that is coming up May 12 at the fairgrounds, along with this season’s schedule for the Scioto Valley Produce Auction in Mt. Victory.
Other local upcoming events include a Fairboard meeting tonight (5/2) starting at 7:00 pm in the fair office. Feel free to join us Friday morning (5/4) for Ag Council breakfast starting at 7:00 am at Henry’s Restaurant. In addition to our monthly roundtable discussion, I will have information to share about soil temperatures and growing degree days for corn. Hardin County Farm Bureau will be having a Legislative Dinner with an Energy Policy question and answer session with Ohio Farm Bureau Energy Specialist Dale Arnold about wind, solar, and pipeline energy policy on May 9. Call the Hardin County Farm Bureau office at 419-447-3091 if you are interested in attending this program which includes dinner. It starts at 6:00 pm at the Plaza Inn Restaurant. I have included some agronomy articles below if you are interested in reading them.
With below average temperatures and snow, wheat growth and development is slower this year compared to the previous two years. Last year, wheat in Pickaway County reached Feekes 6.0 growth stage the last week of March. Remember, exact growth stages cannot be determined by just looking at the height of the crop or based on calendar dates. Correct growth identification and knowledge of factors that affect grain yield can enhance management decisions, avoiding damage to the crop and unwarranted or ineffective applications. Go to https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2018-08/wheat-growth-stages-and-associated-management-feekes-60-through to finish reading this article.
Spring Warm-Up: How does 2018 Soil Temperature Compare? – Aaron Wilson, Elizabeth Hawkins
The calendar says it’s time for spring field activity in Ohio and farmers are eager to prep fields and plant this year’s crops. However, average temperatures across Ohio have remained cooler than usual with the previous 30-day period (March 16 – April 15, 2018) running 2 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit below normal (based on 1981-2010). Combined with precipitation up to twice the normal amount in some areas, the weather is certainly not cooperating with ideas of an early jump on planting. Read more about this spring’s soil temperatures at https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2018-09/spring-warm-how-does-2018-soil-temperature-compare.
Seed is Precious – Anne Dorrance
We are off to a rough start again, as we saw the pictures on Facebook of replanting. So I thought I should chime in here about how precious this seed is and what a seed treatment can and cannot do. In this eastern soybean belt – we have a lot of poorly drained soil. More importantly, we also have a lot of inoculum and a great diversity of watermolds, Pythium and Phytophthora, that can infect both corn and soybeans. When soils are saturated – like today and tomorrow, these watermolds will form swimming spores that are attracted to the young seeds and seedlings. Based on the past 10 years of research we only see a benefit of the seed treatments when there is soil saturation, typically 2” of rain within 2 weeks of planting. Sometimes it only takes an inch of rain if the soils are “just fit” and it rains again immediately after planting. Go tohttps://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2018-09/seed-precious to finish reading about seed and seed treatments.
When to begin Alfalfa Weevil Scouting – Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon
The larvae of alfalfa weevil can cause considerable damage, especially when alfalfa is just starting its growth in the spring. When temperatures are greater than 48 degrees F, the adults become active and start to lay eggs. After hatch, the plump and green larvae (which resemble little worms) feed, with 3rd instar (mid-aged) larvae being the hungriest. The heaviest feeding can occur between 325 and 500 heat units. As of the time of writing this article, the heat units (base 48 degrees F) for the Western Ag Research Station in South Charleston are 98, and for the South Station in Piketon is 175. Scouting for larvae should begin at around 250 heat units.
OARDC Branch Station Two Inch Soil Temperatures – Greg LaBarge
The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) Agricultural Research Stations located throughout the state have 2 and 4 inch bare surface soil temperatures monitored on an hourly basis. The chart provided here summarizes the average daily two inch bare soil temperature from several stations. More complete weather records for the just passed day as well as long term historical observations can be found at http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weather1/ . Observations include temperature, precipitation, different measures of degree day accumulation and other useful weather measures.
Mark A. Badertscher
Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator
OSU Extension Hardin County
1021 W. Lima Street, Suite 103, Kenton, OH 43326