Cause and Effects of Moths in Hay

Christine Gelley– OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, OH (this article originally published in Farm & Dairy)

Clover Hayworm Moth Photo: ODNR pub. 5467

Leave a porch light on one warm summer night and you will either be dazzled or disgusted by the creatures that fly in for a visit. From May to October, we avoid going out our front door at night to reduce the number of nocturnal flying insects that fly uninvited into our home. In the Southeast corner of Ohio, the biodiversity of critters found on chilling the front door and fluttering around the porch light have brought joy and wonder along with fear and furry to get through the door without a fleet of invertebrates coming along. Of the many insects available for viewing, the most common by far are moths.

Moths are among the most diverse groups of animals on Earth. Over 160,000 species are recorded globally and over 3,000 species are known to live in Ohio. All are nocturnal and all start as caterpillars feeding on plant material. From dull brown to brilliant pink colors and patterns, moths of Ohio are fascinating and important to the ecosystem as pollinators and a primary food source either as caterpillars or as adults for bats, birds, and spiders. Forested and prairie settings are home to the most diverse populations of moths. While most moths are considered beneficial organisms, some are considered major agricultural pests in their caterpillar stage.

OSU Extension has recently had a couple questions come through our system about moths in stored hay. Although the Continue reading

Seeding Perennial Forages in Late Summer

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

August is ideal for establishing perennial forage stands in Ohio.

The month of August provides a window of opportunity for establishing perennial forage stands or filling in seedings made this spring that have gaps. The primary risk with late summer forage seedings is having sufficient moisture for seed germination and plant establishment. The decision to plant or not will have to be made for each individual field, considering soil moisture status and the rainfall forecast. Rainfall and adequate soil moisture in the few weeks immediately after seeding is the primary factor affecting successful establishment.

No-till seeding in August is an excellent choice to conserve soil moisture for seed germination. Make sure that the field surface is relatively level and smooth if you plan to no-till, because you will have to live with any field roughness for several years of harvesting operations.

Sclerotinia crown and stem rot is a concern with no-till seedings of alfalfa in late summer where clover has been present in the past. This pathogen causes . . .

Continue reading Seeding Perennial Forages in Late Summer

Manure Science Review Coming August 10th

Register by August 1 and save $5

Manure Science Review will be held August 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at MVP Dairy near Celina, Ohio. This annual event includes educational sessions, field demonstrations, and a tour of MVP Dairy, including their 80-cow rotary milking parlor and manure handling system.

Registration is $25 by August 1 ($30 after that) and includes lunch. For details, go to or contact Mary Wicks (; 330.202.3533).


Steps to Speed up Field Curing of Hay Crops

Mark Sulc, Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Allen Gahler

Wide windrows are one or several techniques to speed hay drying

The rainy weather in many regions of Ohio and surrounding states is making it difficult to harvest hay crops. We usually wait for a clear forecast before cutting hay, and with good reason because hay does not dry in the rain! Cutting hay is certainly a gamble but waiting for the perfect stretch of weather can end up costing us through large reductions in forage quality as the crop matures.

As we keep waiting for perfect haymaking weather, we will reach the point where the drop in quality becomes so great that the hay has little feeding value left. In such cases, it may be better to gamble more on the weather just to get the old crop off and a new one started. Some rain damage is not going to reduce the value much in that very mature forage.

Before cutting though, keep in mind that the . . .

Continue reading Steps to Speed up Field Curing of Hay Crops as originally published in C.O.R.N.

Forage Fertility: Where We Are and Why it Matters

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension and Greg LaBarge, Agronomic Crops Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Hay and haylage crops are grown on just over 1 million acres in Ohio (NASS, 2019) and are grown on more Ohio farms (44% of all farms) than any other crop (Becot et al., 2020). In addition, there are over 1.3 million acres of pastureland on nearly 39,000 farms (50% of all farms) in the state of Ohio (NASS, 2017). Fertilizer costs represent 40 to 60% of the variable input costs of forage hay production (Ward et al., 2016, 2018), and so managing these costs is key to an Ohio forage producers’ ability to stay competitive. Furthermore, water quality issues in the state underscore the need for Ohio farmers to manage on-farm nutrients as efficiently as possible. A farmer’s ability to find this optimal balance between meeting crop nutrient requirements without over-application is highly reliant on the best available information.

In order to make better and up to date forage fertility recommendations, we want to hear back from producers as to what current practices are already implemented on farms across the state. Understanding current practices and limitations to forage fertility will guide us in determining the type and kind of related research to conduct in order to revise current recommendations.

Please take this short voluntary survey regarding current forage fertility practices. This survey is part of a Continue reading

Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me. Or my Cows!

Haley Zynda, AgNR Educator, OSU Extension Wayne County

Horn flies are considered the greatest pest of pastured cattle costing the U.S. beef industry about $700 million per year!

Farming in the winter is usually not a livestock producer’s favorite time of the year. But, if I must give it a positive aspect, the lack of flies and other flying pests make it somewhat enjoyable compared to when those same critters burst forth in full swing come summer.

Flies, mosquitoes, and biting gnats can cause a plethora of problems on the farm, including the spread of disease and causing undue stress to stock, leading to diminished performance. House flies are the benign, although annoying, fly species that you may encounter in confinement situations, such as freestall barns or covered feedlots compared to pastured animals. Sanitation is the main management strategy to keep them under control. Keep manure and old feed from remaining near animals too long. You may also choose to purchase a parasitic wasp kit for your region. These wasps feed upon the larvae of the flies, preventing the metamorphosis into adulthood. This strategy is to be done in conjunction with increased sanitation.

Biting flies are the major pests of cattle and can be split into Continue reading

Forage Focus; Consider the Benefit of Multi-species Grazing

In this episode of Forage Focus, Dr. Brady Campbell of the OSU Animal Sciences Department joins our host Christine Gelley for a discussion on forages for goats. While this is not necessarily a topic focused on cattle, multi-species grazing is often best accomplished with the addition of goats because their weed suppression ability is hard to beat.

Goats have distinctly different preferences and eating habits than other livestock. From water to fence and from meat goats to dairy, this episode covers the ins and outs of creating and maintaining pasture environments to keep goats productive, entertained, and healthy in any grazing system.

Timing Pasture Mowing for Weed Control

Pasture managers looking for answers on when the best time to mechanically clip pastures will find the answer in this episode of Forage Focus. This past winter, host- Christine Gelley- Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County connected with her neighbor- Ted Wiseman- Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources in Perry County on the topic over the phone. Together with complementary visuals, in this episode they discuss on-farm research and concepts that surround the decisions of when and how to clip/mow/bush hog/brush hog pastures to promote the growth of desirable plants in diverse pasture ecosystems.

You’re invited to direct your questions/comments to Ted or Christine at:

Ted Wiseman
Perry County Extension
104 S. Columbus St., Somerset, OH 43783
Phone: 740-743-1602

Christine Gelley
Noble County Extension
46049 Marietta Rd., Suite 2, Caldwell, OH 43724
Phone: 740-732-5681

Open and Late Calving Cows: The Conundrum

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Figuring out why we have a late calving female is important when deciding to keep or cull.

Being that most of the spring calving cow herds in Ohio and beyond have calved, and breeding season is upon us, there is a cow conundrum that we need to discuss. In the 9 or months that I have been in this position, my favorite questions to answer have quickly become “how quickly can I rebreed a late calving cow?” or “I have a spring calving cow that calved late or never calved at all, can I roll her over to the fall?”

The answers to both of those questions are yes, as I do not have the final say as to what cattlemen can or cannot do on their operations. As someone who is often asked for recommendations on this topic, the real question is should we hang onto those late calving and open females?

Open Cows

In most cases involving open cows the answer to that question is no, they should be in the cull pen. Open cows are a profit drain, no matter if we can roll them over or not. At the simplest form; Profit = Continue reading