From Across the Field – Can’t Escape It

As I write this column after finishing up a weekly agronomy conference call, I feel like we are stuck in déjà vu during those weekly calls. For about all of 2019 it has been: “Good morning from (insert western Ohio county) it is wet with minimal field work,” in addition to any variation of weather-related issues, including prevented planting. The heavy rains this past Saturday evening may very well be the final nail in the coffin for many corn acres in NW Ohio.

Driving back from a teaching event on Friday, I even had to turn off the radio in my truck as I came across a couple of county songs that were rain related. Looking at long term weather projections it looks like 2019 will go down as the year of the duck, as they may be the only ones enjoying this weather. Even the earthworms have come up to the surface to prevent drowning.

The large amount of rainfall this spring has also been noted in the most recent Western Lake Erie Algal Bloom Projection from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric and Administration (NOAA). They project that the bloom will have a severity greater than 6.5 (much greater than 2018). There is still uncertainty to how sever the size of the bloom could be due to wetter than average forecasts for part of the month of June. As they have in the past, NOAA severity forecasts do not indicate potential for toxicity.

This will be an interesting year in terms of monitoring run-off and water quality considering there could be a significant of fallow or cover crop acres in the watershed as a result of farmers electing to utilize prevented planting.

We are entering the time of year we where we traditionally get a few questions regarding bees. In late spring carpenter bees are out and about, looking for nests to make in the wood of buildings, but also foraging on spring flowers. Close observations will reveal new holes being chewed into boards on houses, out-buildings, railings, and other wooden structures. These large bees cause a lot of excitement around their nesting sites, but rarely sting.

The other bees causing concern are ground dwelling bees (Andrenids and Anthophorids). New “colonies” of these bees are being established in preferred soils, especially well drained sandy soils. Sometimes these colonies are located in high human traffic areas (playgrounds, backyards, etc.). Some people have been stung as a result, but most of the time, these bees are relatively docile and will simply fly around people who wander into their nesting area. If the bees are in an area that are causing problems to humans, insecticides are extremely effective, otherwise if we leave them alone, they should leave us alone. Most of our native bees also do a good job pollinating plants.

Once again, it looks like this next week is going to be a challenge to do outdoor activities with the rain and storms predicted, so if there is a chance to do work outside like mowing grass and pulling weeds, make the opportunities count. I’ll end this week with a quote from Warren Buffett: “Predicting rain doesn’t count. Building arks does.” Have a great week.

Garth Ruff,
Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator
OSU Henry County Extension

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