A DAY in the WOODS

Our next A DAY in the WOODS program “Identifying the Trees in Your Woods” will be offered at the Vinton Furnace State Forest on Friday, August 12.

Registration information and details about this program can be found at: Identifying the Trees in Your Woods                                     

Also don’t forget to remember to check out our tree identification videos at: go.osu.edu/treeid

Information about our remaining A DAY in the WOODS programs for 2022 can be found at: u.osu.edu/seohiowoods/brochure

Livestock News

Beef Cattle

Six new articles have been posted in this week’s issue number 1305 of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter: http://u.osu.edu/beef/

This week Vic Shelton discusses the ages-old question . . . should pastures be mowed, and if so, when . . . or, is there a better way?

Articles this week include:

  • What’s your baled forage worth?
  • When should I clip . . . or, should I?
  • Beef calf weaning management to prepare your calves for future success
  • Impact of a cattle brush on feedlot steer behavior, productivity and stress physiology
  • Mid-year Cattle Report Continues to Show Decreasing Cattle Inventory
  • Feeder Cattle Futures Market Prices

Small Ruminant Livestock

Ohio Farm Custom Rates 2022

Farming is a complex business and many Ohio farmers utilize outside assistance for specific farm-related work. This option is appealing for tasks requiring specialized equipment or technical expertise. Often, having someone else with specialized tools perform tasks is more cost-effective and saves time. Farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply, “custom work”. A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.

Ohio Farm Custom Rates

The “Ohio Farm Custom Rates 2022” publication reports custom rates based on a statewide survey of 223 farmers, custom operators, farm managers, and landowners conducted in 2022. These rates, except where noted, include the implement and tractor if required, all variable machinery costs such as fuel, oil, lube, twine, etc., and labor for the operation.

Some custom rates published in this study vary widely, possibly influenced by:

  • Type or size of equipment used (e.g. 20-shank chisel plow versus a 9-shank)
  • Size and shape of fields,
  • Condition of the crop (for harvesting operations)
  • Skill level of labor
  • Amount of labor needed in relation to the equipment capabilities
  • Cost margin differences for full-time custom operators compared to farmers supplementing current income

Some custom rates reflect discounted rates as the parties involved have family or community relationships, Discounted rates may also occur when the custom work provider is attempting to strengthen a relationship to help secure the custom farmed land in a future purchase, cash rental, or other rental agreement. Some providers charge differently because they are simply attempting to spread their fixed costs over more acreage to decrease fixed costs per acre and are willing to forgo complete cost recovery.

New this year, the number of responses for each operation has been added to the data presented. In cases where there were too few responses to statistically analyze, summary statistics are not presented.

Charges may be added if the custom provider considers a job abnormal such as distance from the operator’s base location, the difficulty of terrain, amount of product or labor involved with the operation, or other special requirements of the custom work customer.

The data from this survey are intended to show a representative farming industry cost for specified machines and operations in Ohio. As a custom farm work provider, the average rates reported in this publication may not cover your total costs for performing the custom service. As a customer, you may not be able to hire a custom service for the average rate published in this factsheet.

It is recommended that you calculate your own costs carefully before determining the custom rate to charge or pay. It may be helpful to compare the custom rates reported in this fact sheet with machinery costs calculated by economic engineering models available online. The following resources are available to help you calculate and consider the total costs of performing a given machinery operation.

Farm Machinery Cost Estimates, available by searching the University of Minnesota.

Illinois Farm Management Handbook, available by searching University of Illinois farmdoc.

Estimating Farm Machinery Costs, available by searching Iowa State University agriculture decision maker and machinery management.

Fuel price changes may cause some uncertainty in setting a custom rate. Significant volatility in diesel prices over the last several months has caused some concern for custom rate providers that seek to cover all or most of the costs associated with custom farm operations. The approximate price of diesel fuel during the survey period ranged from $4.50 – $5.25 per gallon for off-road (farm) usage. As a custom farm work provider, if you feel that your rate doesn’t capture your full costs due to fuel price increases you might consider a custom rate increase or fuel surcharge based on the increase in fuel costs.

For example, let’s assume the rate you planned to charge for a chisel plow operation was based on $4.50 per gallon diesel costs and the current on-farm diesel price is $5.50 per gallon. This is a $1 per gallon increase. The chisel plow operation uses 1.15 gallons of fuel per acre so the added fuel surcharge could be set at $1.15 per acre (1.15 gallons x $1 gallon).

The complete “Ohio Farm Custom Rates 2022” publication is available online at the Farm Office website:




What do Master Gardeners Love about the Fair?

We love sharing our gardens with you.

Again this year, the Master Gardeners are working with straw bales in the garden.  We have a beautiful demonstration garden located near the Boy Scout Cabin.  We are growing several of our standard vegetable selections this year along with a few new varieties.  In addition, we are participating in an OSU Home Garden Trial.  The trial consists of two varieties of bush beans and two varieties of cucumbers.  The trial is to determine which grows best in our area and is a selection we should suggest to you your own garden.  We will let you know which variety is a success.

Our Sensory Garden, located along the 4-H hall is something to see. We began this garden last year but this year it has come into its own.  The Iron Weed is sky high and the Chocolate Mint is very tasty.  We have a few new additions to this garden also.  Check out the Peek-a-boo plant and the Stevia is so sweet. And don’t forget to find the Apple Mint!

Containers are another wonderful way to grow vegetables and herbs when you don’t have garden space.  Our containers have several varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers along with herbs like borage, thyme, oregano, and dill.

If you aren’t into vegetables but want to plant for pollinators, stop by our perennial garden further down the office building.  Stop and watch the pollinators as they buzz from flower to flower.  The plantings vary from Blackeyed Susans to Bee Balm and Mountain Mint.

Don’t forget to visit our booth in the Floral Hall during the Fair.  The Master Gardeners love to talk about our gardens! Maybe we can show you how to start a new garden.

——Deb Garner, Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator

Livestock News

Beef News

Six new articles have been posted in this week’s issue number 1300 of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter: http://u.osu.edu/beef/

With respect to concerns for the quality of this year’s first cutting hay, and now what might appear to be a reversal in rainfall pattern, this week we focus much of our attention on forages.

Articles this week include:

    • Alfalfa Fertility Needs
    • What Was That Early Maturing Grass In My Hay Fields?
    • Horse Tales About Horsetails
    • Supplemental Forages to Plant in July After Wheat
    • Assessing Calf Death Losses in a Beef-Dairy Crossbreeding Program
    • Feedlot Inventories at Another Monthly Record High

Small Ruminant News

  • Iodine Deficiency in Small Ruminants
    • Lucienne Downs, New South Wales Government District Veterinarian, Central Tablelands Local Land Services (Previously published online with New South Wales Government Local Land Services)…
  • Wrangling More Days out of the Grazing Season for Sheep and Goats
    • As the weather in Ohio continues to not only challenge our agricultural operations but also the activities of our daily life, it reminds us that…
  • Nutrient Value of Wheat Straw
    • Dr. Laura Lindsey, Associate Professor, Soybean and Small Grains Specialist Lee Beers, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Trumbull County Ed Lentz, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Handcock…

Ohio Coyote Ecology and Management Project

Few animals elicit such strong and opposing, emotions as the coyote. But love ‘em or hate ‘em, after decades of range expansion across the United States, coyotes are an established predator throughout Ohio. So, the question we can all agree on is: How do we minimize potential conflicts with coyotes in this state? And to answer that question, we need data.

Livestock production is a cultural and economic staple in Ohio but it differs in many ways from production in the western US, where most of the coyote research has been done. Although Ohio produces more sheep and lambs than any other state east of the Mississippi River, the average flock size is 36 head, which means the loss of even a single animal exacts a disproportionate financial toll on local operators. Additionally, ecosystems in the Midwest are vastly different than those in the west. For any management strategy to effectively protect against coyote predation in Ohio, we need to know more about Ohio coyotes.

Some basic questions include: What do Ohio coyotes eat, and how does their diet change throughout the year? Do males and females eat the same things? Which coyotes are a bigger threat to livestock? How many coyotes are living in a given area? We can make educated guesses based on expert opinion and the research from other regions, but without local data it is speculation.

With support from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, our team at The Ohio State University has begun a multi-year study 1) to provide unbiased data on the extent to which coyotes consume livestock in Ohio, and 2) to identify strategies for managing the conflict. For this project to be successful, we aim to form partnerships among Ohio livestock producers. We want to provide a clear picture of the coyote-livestock situation and evaluate some management strategies that have shown promise in other regions of the US. We are collaborating with the US Department of Agriculture/Wildlife Services and OSU Extension to reach out about this project and help us identify some potential partners.

The overall purpose of this project is to provide practical information to minimize the livestock-coyote conflict in Ohio. If you are interested in contributing to the project, as a producer partner or with assistance collecting samples, please contact us for more information.

Principal investigator: Dr. Stan Gehrt, Professor and Wildlife Extension Specialist

Interested? Contact the OSU Coyote Project at:


  • Dr. Brady Campbell at campbell.1279@osu.edu

Farm Pesticide Disposal Dates

The ODA has announced the 2022 pesticide disposal dates and locations for farmers.

“The program assists farmers with a free of charge, safe, and environmentally responsible disposal of unusable, outdated pesticides. No household or non-farm pesticides are accepted, nor are pesticides accepted from commercial companies.”

For more information see the link:  https://agri.ohio.gov/divisions/plant-health/pesticides/disposal

Livestock News

Beef Cattle News

Six new articles have been posted in this week’s Ohio BEEF Cattle letter: http://u.osu.edu/beef/

As recent as the past two days I’m still seeing lots of planters in fields in Fairfield and neighboring counties. If rain materializes across Ohio today as forecast, unplanted acres will likely remain in parts of the state tomorrow. This week we talk about one of the prevalent weeds were seeing in some of those fields, and also a forage production alternative for any insured acres that might not yet be planted.

Articles this week include:

    • Less Than Sweet Honeysuckles
    • Be Mindful of Heat Stress to Maintain Stocker Calf Gains
    • Beef Business Foundations; Understanding Calf Price Differentials
    • Feeder Cattle Lot Size
    • Kentucky’s PVAP Program; Lesson learned about adding calf value
    • Cover Crop ‘Forage’ an Option for Prevented Planting Corn or Soybean Acres
    • Relentless Canada Thistle
    • Impact of early calving replacement heifers on cow-herd production and longevity
    • Ohio Beef Day to be held in Muskingum County
    • Data That Delivers
    • The Impact of Dairy Cow Slaughter on Cull Cow Markets

Small Ruminant News

  • Using Ram Lambs for Breeding
    • Ted H. Doane, Extension Sheep Specialist, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Previously published online the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: August 1986) Although this publication is a bit …
  • Solar Grazing 101
    • Currently, Ohio is slated to have approximately 85,000 acres of land put into photovoltaic (solar) energy production over the next decade. As our society continues …
  • Broomsedge is Talking: Are you Listening?
    • Mike Rankin, Hay and Forage Grower managing editor (Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: June 14, 2022) Among humans, most communication is accomplished by speaking…
  • Ohio Coyote Ecology and Management Project
    • OSU Coyote Project, Few animals elicit such strong, and opposing, emotions as the coyote. But love ‘em or hate ‘em, after decades of range expansion ..
  • Lamb and Goat Production Seminar: Facility Design
    • Although a bit lengthy, this video highlighting concepts for improved feeding systems and converting existing structures to house small ruminants by Mike Caskey from Southern..
  • Keeping your Vaccines Viable
    • Tracey Erickson, former South Dakota State University Extension Dairy Field Specialist (Previously published online with South Dakota State University Extension: November 18, 2021) Vaccines are..

Straw Bale Gardening is Back!

Last year the Clermont County Master Gardener Volunteers were able to donate 275 lbs. of produce to the community from the straw bale garden at the Clermont County fairground.  This year we have increased the number of bales and have added some new crops and different varieties of vegetables.  Some of the new additions are acorn squash, pie pumpkins, blue potatoes, peanuts, gourds, Roma, Korean long, early doll, bush, celebrity, and big beef tomatoes.

One of the raised beds will not have straw bales but will trial two varieties of green beans and cucumbers this growing season.  The varieties were selected by the Athens County, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences-Extension, The Ohio State University.

The Speedway and Raider cucumber varieties will grow side by side to compare throughout the growing season. The same is true for Savannah and Aldrin green bean varieties.

The following information and data will be collected and submitted in the fall to the agricultural program to assist home gardeners in Ohio to select the best vegetables for their home gardens:

  • Soil type
  • Fertilizer used
  • Date planted
  • Date first harvested
  • Factors that may have prevented a good crop
    • Human error ( timing, watering, and site location)
    • Insects or diseases
    • Wildlife issues
    • Weather

A comparison  of the  2 varieties of cucumbers and green beans will be based on

  • Germinated best
  • Had healthier plants
  • Produced first
  • Produced higher yields
  • Had more attractive fruits/plants
  • Tasted better

The Clermont County Master Gardener Volunteers will keep you informed of the progress and recommend which cucumber and green bean varieties rank the highest comparing the above factors.

Presently, the cucumbers have a net over them to prevent cucumber beetles and squash bugs from infesting the early plants.  After rabbits have nibbled on the green beans, a 2-foot fence was constructed around the bed.  A mixture of egg and cayenne was applied to the leaves to ward off deer.  We will let you know if this is effective.