From Across the Field – Biosecurity Basics 7/25/2019

A moderate cool down after last week’s heat was much needed across the region. Once temperature reach levels greater than 86F crop growth and development slows and water intake increases. In checking IPM insect traps this past week, it appears the Western Bean Cutworm moths are in or near peak flight. Trap counts ranged from 53 moths in Pleasant Township to 131 in Liberty. That said, from a pest management standpoint, damage risk is minimal as most of the corn in the county is yet to tassel. Corn that has tasseled should be scouted for egg masses.

As we approach the county fair and with the state fair in full tilt this is a good time to review biosecurity. For many fairgoers it may be the only time of the year that they are exposed to livestock or animals at all. After touching the animals be sure to take the time to wash your hands and the hands of children. While fair food is a highlight for many fair attendees, eating and drinking should occur in other place on the fairgrounds rather than in the livestock barns. If bringing breeding stock back from an exhibition the best thing one can do is to isolate those animals from the rest of the herd until any potential illness has passed.

Biosecurity also applies to plants with regards to transporting invasive insects and disease.The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has announced in an official press release a confirmed interception of the plant disease-causing pathogen Phytophthora ramorum in Ohio

  1. ramorumis a water mold organism that causes ramorum blight on over 100 host plants, including rhododendron and lilac, and sudden oak death (SOD) in coastal areas of California and Oregon.  SOD has proven to be deadly in California and the Pacific Northwest on oaks (Quercus) and tanoaks (Notholithocarpus). On other hosts, this pathogen causes leaf spots and branch dieback.

A shipment of infected plants, including numerous rhododendron types and lilac, from a nursery in the Pacific Northwest, was sent to a nursery in Oklahoma and subsequently shipped to Walmart and Rural King locations in a number of eastern U.S. states, including Ohio. Though this pathogen was found on rhododendrons and lilacs intercepted here, there were no shipment of oaks with SOD.

Let us proceed with caution. If your customers have rhododendrons or lilacs purchased at Walmart or Rural King between March and May of this year and you suspect they may be infected, drawing from the ODA Press Release, “Plants can be destroyed by burning, deep burial or double-bagging the plant, including the root ball, in heavy duty trash bags for disposal into a sanitary landfill (where allowable).  Consumers should not compost or dispose of the plant material in municipal yard waste.”

Tomorrow is the 4-H Livestock judging contest at the Ohio State Fair. Good luck to the group of 4-Hers participating in the contest. I’ll end this week with a quote from Jack Lemmon: “If you think it’s hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.” Have a great week.

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

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