May 22, 2020

Good evening,

While temperatures remained cool throughout the state, farmers made good planting progress, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office.  Some damage was reported to winter wheat from freezing temperatures early in the week while rain activity late in the week may have caused damage to crops not yet emerged.  Average temperatures for the week were below historical normals and the entire state averaged close to 1-inch precipitation.  There were 3.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 17.  Farmers continued tillage and spraying activities.  Large increases in corn and soybeans planting were reported in the Northwest portion of the state.  Corn planted progress was 57 percent, 8 percentage points ahead of the five-year average.  Soybeans planted progress was ahead of the five-year average while soybeans emerged was behind the five-year average due to recent cooler than normal temperatures slowing germination.  Sixty-six percent of pasture and range was considered good or excellent compared to 53 percent last year.  See the attached May 18 USDA Ohio Crop Weather report for further information.

Ohio Crop Weather

During the time period of April 15-30, Extension rainfall reporters recorded an average of 1.54 inches of rain in Hardin County.  Last year, the average rainfall for the same time period was 4.08 inches.  Rainfall for the April 15-30 time period is 0.83 inches less than the ten-year average rainfall during the same dates.  McDonald Township received 1.98 inches for the April 15-30 time period, followed closely by Pleasant Township at 1.95 inches for the most of any of the township sites.  Blanchard Township received 0.70 inches for the April 15-30 time period, the least of any of the township sites.  Limited field work occurred in April with regular rains and cool temperatures early keeping soils wet until late in the month for most of the county.  Early May brought warmer and drier weather allowing for the planting of corn and soybeans until the recent rains.  Wheat fields showed slow growth due to the cool temperatures in April and early May.  Spring forage planting was also delayed by wet field conditions.  Read more about current crop conditions and local township rainfall amounts in the attached Extension Rainfall Report for April 15-30.  I have also included an article I submitted to the local media titled “Cold Weather Impact on Corn and Soybean” that you may be interested in reading.

April Extension Rainfall Report

Cold Weather Corn Soybean News Release

Details have been released from USDA for direct assistance to farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.  Covered commodities include: Non-specialty crops, Wool, Livestock, Dairy, and Specialty Crops.  See the attached Sign up for USDA-CFAP Direct Support information sheet for more details.  The application period is May 26 through August 28, 2020.  Payments are limited to $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined.  Applications can be made by appointment through your local Farm Service Agency office.  Please read and gather the needed information before you make an appointment.  A handy spreadsheet tool to enter your information will be made available once the sign-up begins.  More information about this program can be found at

CFAP Payment Direct Support

A research team at The Ohio State University is currently working on a project that assesses the importance of soil health when facing variable weather, especially heavy precipitation.  As part of this study, they would like to collect soil samples and interview farmers across the state to understand how heavy precipitation is impacting soil management and soil health.  They would also like to understand which soil health indicators farmers find most valuable when making management decisions.  All participating farmers will receive two free soil health tests and $75 for their participation.  So far there are about 25 confirmed farmer participants, and they are looking for 5 more.  They are reaching out to ask if I know of any farmers who might be interested in participating in this study.  Please see attached the study description for more details and if you are an interested farmer, please share your name, email, phone number directly to Christine Sprunger at

Soil Health – Precipitation Study

In closing, I realize this is a very stressful and trying time.  Not only is it planting season and the weather is continuing to make it a challenge, but the current COVID-19 pandemic has also added additional issues to the mix.  I have added the “Ohio Farmer Mental Well-Being COVID-19 Resources” information sheet to this edition of the Hardin County Agriculture and Natural Resources Update for those who are looking for help.  For those of you who are interested in reading Ag Crops information, I have included the usual CORN Newsletter highlighted articles below.  Have a nice Memorial Day weekend.

Farmer Mental Health Resources











Scab Risk Low, but Keep Your Eyes on Leaf Diseases – Pierce Paul

According to the FHB forecasting system, the risk for head scab continues to be low across the state of Ohio, for wheat flowering (or barley heading) today, May 18. In spite of the wet weather we have had, it has been very cold over the last week to 10 days. Cold temperatures between heading and flowering usually reduce the risk for scab, as the disease develops best under warm, wet, or humid conditions. However, you must continue to be vigilant as the crop in the northern half of the state approaches heading and anthesis. If it continues to rain and stays wet and humid over the next few weeks, the risk for scab and vomitoxin will increase as the temperature increases. Be prepared to treat fields with Prosaro, Caramba, or Miravis Ace.  Find out more at









Field Estimations of Alfalfa Fiber Content – Angela Arnold, Mark Sulc, Jeff Stachler, Will Hamman, Dean Kreager

Ohio has seen its 5th warmest winter on record but spring temperatures across the state have consistently been 2-6° F below long-term averages. Climatic variations every year make it difficult to know the exact date to determine harvest of our first alfalfa crop. Research has shown % Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF) can vary up to 10 units on the same calendar day from one year to the next, therefore making harvest decisions based on calendar date is unreliable. Many producers also base harvest decisions primarily on alfalfa maturity. Variable weather conditions affect the rate of bud and flower development in alfalfa, thus relying solely on maturity can be misleading. Go to to read more and watch a video demonstrating measurement of alfalfa NDF.









Ohio Corn, Soybean and Wheat Enterprise Budgets – Projected Returns for 2020 – Barry Ward

COVID-19 has created an unusual situation that has negatively affected crop prices and lowered certain crop input costs. Many inputs for the 2020 production year were purchased or the prices/costs were locked in prior to the spread of this novel coronavirus. Some costs have been recently affected or may yet be affected. Lower fuel costs may allow for lower costs for some compared to what current budgets indicate. Production costs for Ohio field crops are forecast to be largely unchanged from last year with lower fertilizer expenses offset by slight increases in some other costs.  Read more at









Burndown and Residual Herbicide Issues – Mark Loux

Depending upon where you are in the state, it’s possible right now to be experiencing delays in getting anything done, progress in planting but delays in herbicide application, weather too dry to activate residual herbicides, and/or reduced burndown herbicide effectiveness on big weeds due to cold weather.  What’s become a typical Ohio spring.  Residual herbicides and rainfall, Residual herbicides and crop injury, Cold weather and burndown herbicides, and a Reminder about the value of fall herbicides are some information relative to questions that OSU Extension educators have passed on to us that you can read about at:









Why should you calibrate your sprayer, and how? – Erdal Ozkan

This is the time to check the accuracy of your sprayer. While applying too little pesticide may result in ineffective pest control, too much pesticide wastes money, may damage the crop and increases the potential risk of contaminating ground water and the environment. The primary goal with calibration is to determine the actual rate of application in gallons per acre, then to make adjustments if the difference between the actual rate and the intended rate is greater or less than 5% of the intended rate. This is a recommended guideline by USEPA and USDA. I get this question all the time: “Why should I calibrate my sprayer? I have a rate controller on the sprayer. I just enter the application rate I want, the controller does the rest.”  Find out the answer to this question and much more at


Mark A. Badertscher

Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator

OSU Extension Hardin County

1021 W. Lima Street, Suite 103, Kenton, OH 43326


May 8, 2020

Good evening,

The May 4 Ohio Crop Weather Report showed about 2.5 days suitable for field work this past week with 10% of corn and 7% of soybeans planted statewide.  About 63% of wheat has jointed and 67% of oats have been planted according to this attached USDA report.  Locally in Hardin County field activity had been less according to reports from our Ag Council Virtual Coffee Hour held May 1.  Although there was fertilizer spread and some burndowns completed, planting had been slower due to wetter soils but has picked up recently.  Further north in Hancock County where it is drier, farmers have been planting daily for over a week and a half.  If you have wheat growing in your fields, you might want to scout it for early season diseases such as Septoria leaf blotch and possibly Powdery Mildew as the news release that I have attached explains some fields may have the diseases pictured below as a result of the cool temperatures and wet conditions.  Read the attached news release about these possible timely issues.

Ohio Crop Weather Report







Septoria on wheat











Powdery Mildew on wheat

Early Season Wheat Diseases News Release

 The current pandemic has brought up a lot of uncommon issues to agriculture.  One of these issues is a result of some meat processing plants closing or not operating at full capacity due to labor issues brought about by COVID-19.  See the attached news article published in the Kenton Times that I contributed to about how Hardin County pork producers Mark Watkins and Doug Heilman are adapting to this situation.  The food supply chain issue has caused people to rely more on local foods in some areas so I have included “Talking Points: COVID-19’s Effect on the Meat Supply” and “Buying from a Local Meat Processor and Why it Matters” to this e-newsletter.  Still other families are considering on-farm processing of livestock so I have included an article entitled “What You Need to Know About Animal Processing on the Farm in Ohio.”  Several homeowners have increased vegetable production in their own gardens as well, including our own OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers who you can read about their efforts to help with food insecurity in Hardin County with the Grow Ohio news release that I have attached.

Swine Producers COVID Article

Talking Points Impacts of COVID 19 on Meat Industry

Why Buying Local Matters

What You Need to Know About Food Animal Processing in Ohio

Grow Ohio News Release

Other information that you may find interesting that has been included with this email includes the mid-May edition of the Ohio No-Till News that includes no-till and cover crop tips along with instructions about how to access the free videos on the Conservation Tillage Conference website that can be found at  Marion County Extension has an upcoming online series on Growing Food Justice which I have attached a flyer for further information that begins on May 13.  Understanding Credit and Debt is the final fact sheet from a series that I have been providing over the past several weeks from Michigan State University Extension.  Be sure to check out the articles below from the CORN Newsletter and most of all, take a peak at the OSU Extension Ag Appreciation Video that we put together for you by clicking here, after all you might recognize someone you know.

Ohio No-till News

Growing Food Justice May Series

Understanding Credit And Debt









How Late Can I Plant Forages? – Mark Sulc

The Ohio Agronomy Guide states that most cool-season perennial forages should be planted by the first of May. While some of you reading this article were able to plant forages by now, many of us (myself included) once again were not able to meet that deadline due to wet weather. So how hard and fast is the May 1 deadline, especially in a cold spring like we have experienced? Don’t we have a little more time to plant forages? I hate to say this, but the answer is neither simple nor clear cut.  Finish reading this article at







Economic Assistance for Agriculture during COVID-19 – David Marrison, Ben Brown, Barry Ward, Peggy Hall, Dianne Shoemaker

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly altered all our lives. The impact is being felt by families, businesses, governmental agencies, and civic organizations. To help families and businesses alike, various levels of government have passed legislation to help lessen the economic blow of COVID-19. This article provides a brief overview of some of the assistance which has been made available. These include tax deadline provisions, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation rebates, unemployment compensation, and Wind and Hurricane Indemnity Program, Plus (WHIP+).  Click on to read more.







Managing stored grain into summer – Jason Hartschuh, Elizabeth Hawkins

If you are storing more grain on farm this spring than usual, you are not alone. Over the last few weeks, we have heard from more producers who are considering holding grain longer into summer months than they normally would. We have also heard a few reports of spoiled grain as producers fill April contracts. Carrying graining into summer has been done for many years successfully but requires much more intensive management than winter grain storage.  Learn more about managing stored grain at







Alfalfa Weevil Update – Kelley Tilmon, Aaron Wilson, Mark Sulc, Rory Lewandowski, Andy Michel

Peak alfalfa weevil feeding damage occurs between 325 and 575 heat units (based on accumulation of heat units from January 1 with a base of 48°F).  Locations in red are there, and locations in orange are getting close.  Now is the time for most alfalfa growers to step up their alfalfa weevil scouting.  For more details on alfalfa weevil scouting and thresholds please see our April 13 article







USDA Announces Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) – Ben Brown, David Marrison

On April 17, the preliminary details about the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) were released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program aimed to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CFAP provides $19 billion in funds authorized through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).  The $19 billion program includes two major elements. The first element is for Direct Support to Farmers and Ranchers. This program will provide $16 billion in direct support to farmers based on actual losses where prices and market supply chains have been impacted by COVID-19. The program will also assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19. It has been reported, although not confirmed by the USDA, that in the direct support program, $5.1 billion will be allocated to support cattle producers, $3.9 billion for row crop producers, $2.9 billion for dairy, $2.1 for specialty crops, $1.6 billion for hog producers and $500 million for other commodities. Go to for more.


Mark A. Badertscher

Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator

OSU Extension Hardin County

1021 W. Lima Street, Suite 103, Kenton, OH 43326