From Across the Field – 5/21/2020

We’ve Been Here Before

After last week’s column showed some hope and optimism for the planting being wrapped up in a timely manner, I think this is a good week to start with a quote from Yogi Berra: “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” It feels like 2019 in some regards after a week of rain that now has brought field progress to a halt. The excess rainfall looks to make for another busy June for field activities, the second of which in two years.

This coming Memorial Day weekend is a great opportunity to spend time with family, especially if it is not fit to farm or garden. I will be heading south for the weekend to do just that. Memorial Day is also our annual reminder to vaccinate and trim hooves within our family’s sheep flock. We had a good spring with every ewe lambing, and most lambs have been weaned and started on feed. Before too long, it will be time to turn the rams back in with the ewes and start the process all over.

Some folks have been asking what the weather has been like in southern Ohio and it’s been almost like 2019 was here in the NW corner. During the stretch where it was fit to plant here, they had over three inches of rain. At this point nearly the entire state is experiencing excess soil moisture.

There has been some interest in the future of H2Ohio in the midst of budget cuts at the state level. Currently, $50 million has been preserved by the governor in efforts to implement those Best Management Practices outlined in the H2Ohio program. Also, CFAP (Coronavirus Food Assistance Program) program details have been released by USDA. Producers of soybeans, corn, and other eligible commodities can apply for assistance beginning May 26 through the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) Service Center.

As the soil begins to dry out we can go full bore planting our vegetables and annual flowers. The slightly improved weather a couple of weeks ago had allowed many to get into their gardens and plant, in those case plants may have experiences frost or flooding damage. Going forward tomatoes, peppers and cabbage can be planted, and pumpkins and sweet potatoes can be seeded as well. Besides managing weeds, other things we can do in the garden include putting down row covers for cabbage and broccoli to reduce insect problems, pruning tomatoes at first flowering, and staking them can be done as soon as they are large enough. Tomato plants can also be mulched. The season is changing fast so when you have a chance, plant!

On the crop disease front head scab in wheat and barley is of low to moderate concern. When considering to apply fungicide treatment for head scab, timing is critical as the ideal time is during anthesis or flowering. Have a great week and a happy Memorial Day Weekend!

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