From Across the Field 7-2-2020

Wheat Harvest Begins

Another week of hot weather has sped up dry down of the winter wheat crop across the state. It’s not too often that we have a July 4th holiday harvest in Northern Ohio.

This is quite a bit different that last year for sure, where I wrote “The old saying about corn being knee high by the 4th of July might be a stretch in many cases here in Henry County.” This year there are many fields of corn that are waist high and a few closer to chest high. Amazing what can change in a year’s time.

After harvesting barley in the county last week, I am curious to see how wheat yields look given the severity of the Army Worm damage to the barley crop. Across Fulton, Henry, and Wood counties, I’ve heard a range of 20-40 percent yield loss in barley due to clipped heads. This has been an interesting wheat crop, one that had high yield potential until a few nights of cold weather this spring, coupled with the Army Worm pressure. Continue reading

From Across the Field – 6/25/2020

Dealing with Landscape Pests

Had a chance to go back to southern Ohio for Father’s Day and I can report that it is just as hot and humid down there as it is here other than the have had about an inch more rain in the past month. I spent Saturday with my brother at a large farm machinery consignment sale. The used equipment market has appeared to gain some strength as things sold very well, and higher than I would have anticipated.

Here locally everyone is dealing with dry conditions. I was in a barley field where the cracks in the ground were large enough to swallow a cell phone. After a week with many calls regarding Army Worm, it appears that they are on the tail end of the caterpillar cycle. I have set Western Bean Cut Worm traps across the county and will begin monitoring the flight of adult moths this week. Continue reading

From Across the Field 6-18-2020

Bugs, Birds, Busy Days

The past week has been prime time to complete many field operations in the county and across the state. The dry weather has kept machinery in farm fields as producers side dress corn, apply pest control, and cut hay. Before long wheat harvest will be upon us as we are usually a couple weeks behind southern Ohio, where they are getting close to harvest.

We received many reports of true armyworm infestations in wheat, barley, and corn in NW Ohio. The following is from this week’s C.O.R.N. newsletter on the pest. “These are black or green caterpillars with stripes along the side and orange heads.  In the spring, true armyworm moths migrate from the south and lay eggs in grasses such as forage and weed grasses, winter wheat and barley, and rye cover crops.  When the eggs hatch, the larvae can significantly damage wheat and barley before then moving to young corn. Continue reading

From Across the Field – 6/11/2020

Beware of Poison Hemlock

Last week I finished up with a paragraph on Poison Hemlock, a noxious, invasive weed that is starting to be more prevalent across the county. Perhaps it is coincidence, but the majority of questions this past week have been about Poison Hemlock, the challenge it presents, and control. So let’s review:

Poison Hemlock is a noxious weed that is extremely toxic to livestock. It looks like wild carrot or “Queen Ann’s Lace”, however it can grow to be 6 to 10 feet tall. Poison Hemlock is toxic to both people and livestock, often leaving serious blisters on those who come in contact with the plant. Ingestion of the any part of the plant can be fatal. Continue reading

From Across the Field – 6-4-2020

Summer Is Here

Monday marked the meteorological start of the summer season and by driving around the county, it is evident that there was a need for some summer-like weather. Corn is beginning to develop and with a few nice days most of the soybeans have been able to be planted, some hay has been made, and if all goes right we will get to finish some manure trials on growing corn yet this week.

Last week I had a chance to walk some fields of barley with Eric Richer and a small grains agronomist. In those fields freeze and frost damage was low, which is a good sigh for producers who may have been worried about their small grain crop. I was also able to finish harvesting a winter forage trial at the Northwest Ag Research Station in Hoytville. With being out of the office, it feels good to back into a routine.

I noticed over the weekend that poison ivy is growing fast right now. Along with other weeds, poison ivy is also showing up in ornamental shrub and perennial borders, probably seeded through bird droppings. When growing among desirable plants, poison ivy is a challenge to control. Continue reading

From Across the Field – 5/28/2020

From Across the Field

Coronavirus Assistance Program Details Released

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend and was able to celebrate the unofficial start of summer in some capacity. Last week’s steady rain continued to slow farming operations. As I drive a around the county it is evident that there were some small grains that had fungicide applied for head scab prevention. This week’s wheat scab forecast puts the crop at high risk across much of Ohio.

As we all know COVID-19 has hit the agricultural industry hard. Market prices for major commodities have fallen sharply since COVID-19 reached the United States back in early January. The following is a summary of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program from David Marrison, Extension Educator in Coshocton County.

Milk and cattle prices have declined over 25 percent and corn and hog prices are down 19%. At one time during the pandemic, these prices had dropped over 40 percent. Currently corn prices are down 22% and soybeans are down 15%. Early projections suggest total net farm income could be down 20% or more over in 2020. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

From Across the Field: 5/14/2020

It’s amazing how much different this year is compared to last. In 2019 our greatest amount of planting progress was made in mid June, and this year we are nearly complete in Henry county. My colleagues to the south of I-70 are facing wetter conditions similar to what we had here last May. The cold temperatures over the last week has slowed down crop emergence, which is good with regards to frost damage, however with low crop prices even emergence can be critical. Looks like we’re in for a few wet days and then finally some heat will arrive to help things along.

The frost has slowed down and stunted some of our forage crops in the area, alfalfa is relatively short and orchard grass may have took the worst of the freeze here in NW Ohio. Continue reading

From Across the Field 5/7/2020

Looking back at past columns that I have written since 2017, this past week has arguably been the best week in terms of row crop planting, we have experienced during my time in Henry County. Even with the temperature being on the cool side, tremendous progress has been made over the past week.

Saturday was a great day to work outside and I even sunburned by arms a little bit as I mowed the yard and fired up the weed eater for a bit. Later in the afternoon as I made a lap across most of the county, I saw more tractors and planters out at one time than I have during the past two springs.

At this point, I do want to give everyone an update on the status of our office operations. Ohio State University Extension will continue its teleworking plan for all employees and keep OSU Extension offices closed. While some businesses and organizations throughout the state are starting to reopen, the physical Extension office in each county will remain closed through July 6, unless a decision is made by Ohio State to return sooner. Continue reading

From Across the Field 4/30/2020

Thus far we have been fortunate to miss out on some of the heavier rain that has fallen a bit farther south. As soil conditions become fit, with the exception of temperature I suspect that we will see increased planting s. This is my annual reminder to be safe and careful on the roads, especially south of Napoleon where 108 is closed and traffic is routed down some of the county roads.

Here yet today, or tomorrow depending on the weather, I plan on mowing the lawn for the third time this spring, the frost a while back slowed up what was some nice lush growth after the first mowing. Remember starting out we should be mowing grass fairly short this time of year, about two and a half to three inches off the ground is about where I like to be.

The smell of fresh cut grass is an indicator that we are also closing in on barbecue and grilling season. This weekend if it isn’t too chilly I think I’ll fire up my charcoal smoker and experiment with a pork loin or in preparation for a brisket on Mother’s Day weekend. Continue reading