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.
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.
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 https://www.farmers.gov/cfap.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2020-14/scab-risk-low-keep-your-eyes-leaf-diseases.
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 https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2020-14/field-estimations-alfalfa-fiber-content 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 https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2020-14/ohio-corn-soybean-and-wheat-enterprise-budgets-projected-returns.
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: https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2020-13/burndown-and-residual-herbicide-issues.
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 https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2020-11/why-should-you-calibrate-your-sprayer-and-how.
Mark A. Badertscher
Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator
OSU Extension Hardin County
1021 W. Lima Street, Suite 103, Kenton, OH 43326