Forage Options for “Prevented Planting” Corn and Soybean Acres

Stan Smith, PA, Fairfield County OSU Extension

Today, as we sit here on May 15, we know three things for certain:

  • Ohio has the lowest inventory of hay since the 2012 drought and the 4th lowest in 70 years.
  • Ohio’s row crops will not get planted in a timely fashion this year.
  • Grain markets have fallen to the point that in many cases – or, perhaps most cases – for those with coverage, Prevented Planting Crop Insurance payments will yield more income than growing a late planted corn or soybean crop this year.

Grazing oats planted on Prevented Planting acres in very late fall is an excellent alternative for harvesting this cover crop.

Prevented planting provisions in the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) crop insurance policies can provide valuable coverage when extreme weather conditions prevent expected plantings. On their website, RMA also says “producers should make planting decisions based on agronomically sound and well documented crop management practices.”

Today, insured corn and soybean growers throughout Ohio find themselves at the crossroads of a decision that pits the overwhelming desire to want to plant and grow a crop against the reality that financially and agronomically it might be a more sound alternative to accept a Prevented Planting insurance payment. Adding further support to the notion that today Continue reading

Control Pasture Weeds Now

Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension

Cressleaf groundsel is flourishing throughout Ohio this year in pasture, hay and crops fields!

With the combination of sunny warm days and more than adequate rainfall received so far in May, grasses and legumes in our hayfields are beginning to flower. Which means, according to our knowledge of grass maturity and forage quality, it’s already time to make hay. If the weather will cooperate, that is.

It’s also prime time to control pasture weeds. Thistles, docks, ironweed, asters, poison hemlock, and cockleburs are up and actively growing. Control on these species is most effective when they are small (less than six inches tall). Many are already past this point. The longer we wait, the greater impact they will have on overall production and the more difficult they will be to treat in both hayfields and grazed pastures.

The decision of how and when to wage war on damaging weeds is one based on many factors. Extension always recommends utilizing an integrated pest management program to control pests and weeds. The most effective programs are Continue reading

How Much Rest Does Your Pasture Need?

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

More residual left and more rest; more roots, more production and animal performance.

I took the time to walk through most of my pastures a few days ago. I recommend doing this fairly often to keep a mental forage inventory. It is best to record the findings. Some use fancy electronic data sheets, some track on paper charts, some just have notes in their pocket datebook or smart phone. I use a combination. I like the paper charts for long term planning, but for a quick assessment, I like a white board.

I have a white board, you know, one of those new-fangled chalk boards that you use erasable markers on. I took 1/8-inch black tape and used it to outline the boundaries of all the fields. If I get present yield estimates taken, I put those numbers on the board with the date collected. But I use the board more for tracking grazing patterns and, more importantly, rest.

Animal groups are color coordinated and enter and exit dates are marked on the board. If animals are strip grazed across the field, then Continue reading

Healing the Mess: Early Season Pasture Management

Chris Penrose, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Morgan County (originally published in the Ohio Cattleman, Expo issue)

This exhibits what seemed to be the rule rather than the exception last winter. Photo: Landefeld

For those with pastured livestock, this past winter is one we would like to forget, but damage done is preventing that from occurring. Many farmers talked about the loss of livestock due to the wet weather and mud. To make matters worse, more hay had to be fed to deal with the additional stress on animals from the muddy conditions. The result was animals in a lower body condition and fields in a mess from livestock, feeding hay in the fields, and equipment trying to get hay to livestock.

Damage to fields was worse than most can remember. What can we do to fix the problem? We can start off with these two options: doing nothing or working the ground and re-seeding. Doing nothing may not seem to be the best option but if the area was not damaged too bad, it may heal itself. I noticed in late March some areas where I had bale rings, grass was starting to grow where the bale was located. Where the cattle stood, it was bare and not rutted too much. In a situation like that, you may be able to take a Continue reading

Forage Focus – Pasture Fertility, Soil Testing and Grazing Management

In this month’s Forage Focus podcast, host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County, talks with Washington County ANR Educator Marcus McCartney about pasture fertility. They also discuss ways to use management intensive grazing and soil testing to improve pasture productivity.

Dealing with Winter Injured Forage Stands

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Reports from around the state suggest we have many injured forage stands.

I’ve been hearing more reports from around the state of winter injured forage stands, especially in alfalfa. The saturated soil during much of the winter took its toll, with winter heaving being quite severe in many areas of the state. So, what should be done in these injured stands?

The first step is to assess how extensive and serious is the damage. Review the CORN issue of the week of Continue reading

Establishing New Forage Stands

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

This month provides one of the two preferred times to seed perennial cool-season forages, the other being late summer. Two primary difficulties with spring plantings are finding a good window of opportunity when soils are dry enough before it gets too late and managing weed infestations that are usually more difficult with spring plantings. The following 10 steps will help improve your chances for successful forage establishment in the Continue reading

Spring Weed Control in Grass Hay and Pasture

– Dwight Lingenfelter, Extension Associate, Weed Science and William S. Curran, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Weed Science, Pennsylvania State University

Continuously grazed pasture allows for selective grazing, reducing desirable forage competitiveness against weeds and leading to weed encroachment and spread.

Now is the time to scout grass pastures and hay in search of winter annual and biennial weeds. Both of these types of weeds are potentially susceptible to control right now and an effective herbicide application will prevent flowering and seed production.

Management of perennial weeds such as dandelion, Canada thistle and the woody perennials such as multiflora rose and autumn olive is best performed a bit later in early summer after plants reach the bud-to-bloom stage. Winter annuals including the mustard species, common chickweed, horseweed/marestail, deadnettle/henbit, fleabane, etc. are growing rapidly and have already or will begin to flower and set seed very soon. Biennials including musk and plumless thistle, burdock, wild carrot, etc. should be treated before they Continue reading

Weed Management Considerations Following a Wet Winter

– Dr. J. D. Green, Extension Weed Scientist, University of Kentucky

Extensive wet weather conditions during the past fall and winter have resulted in pasture fields that have bare soil and thin vegetative cover, particularly in areas that have been used for winter feeding. Fields with thin stands of desirable pasture species are more likely to contain winter annual weeds such as chickweed, henbit, purple deadnettle, and mustard species. As these cool-season weeds die back, warm-season weeds such as common cocklebur and common ragweed will likely emerge this summer and take their place.

The first step in determining weed management options is to do a critical evaluation of pasture fields in the late winter/early spring. Scout fields looking for any developing weed problems. The primary question then becomes – does the existing stand of desirable forages appear to be healthy and potentially competitive against any emerging weed problems? If the forage stand is acceptable and weed pressure is light, then the best course of action may be to Continue reading

Time for Some “Defensive Driving”

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

The term “defensive driving” may seem like an odd choice of words to start an article about beef cattle. Stay with me on this one. When I think about defensive driving, I think about watching out for factors such as the surrounding traffic, weather conditions, time of day, driver fatigue, etc. and how they may affect your ability to travel safely from point A to point B. How does this concept relate to beef cattle production?

As we are in the midst of changing both weather and production seasons, now is the time to be analyzing your animals and the environmental conditions around them to make important management decisions that can impact your operation for the short- and long-term. Most of you are painfully aware that the beef herd has faced many challenges through the winter of 2018-2019. As we move into spring with green grass and warmer temperatures, do not get lulled into a false sense of security that any problems that we have been experiencing are going to magically disappear.

We fully realize the current situation. We have experienced months of cold, wet conditions that have resulted in excessive amounts of mud. Unless you have had a laboratory analysis of the forages fed your herd through the winter, we have to assume that forage quality of hay supplies is sub-par. Excessive moisture in the spring and early summer of 2018 simply did not allow for the timely harvest of forages to generate high quality feed. Based on my observations and conversations I have had with producers, veterinarians, and other industry representatives, the weather and feed quality has resulted in large numbers of Continue reading