From Across the Field – Busy Times 7/10/19

Hopefully everyone had a great 4th of July weekend. I had an opportunity to catch up with some college friends that were back in the state for the holiday. A couple of the guys came in from Nebraska and South Dakota, and as expected, the story is the same out there as far as being excessively wet and crops are delayed in maturity.

Here locally, farm operations were extremely busy until we got some rain around the holiday. With the large number of unplanted acres and rapidly growing crops, weed control is a priority for many farmers. As there are a lot of large weeds in fields in unplanted, it is recommended to get those fields sprayed with a higher rate of herbicide that we would typically use. An herbicide program is still the best option for weed control. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Knee High by When 7-2-19

The old saying about corn being knee high by the 4th of July might be a stretch in many cases here in Henry County. Now that the ground has mostly dried out, this will be the busiest July 4th weekend, in terms of farming operations in recent years. With this spring’s soggy delay in getting farm work done, there are plenty of farmers who still have, side dressing, weed control, tillage, and cover crop planting still on the to do list.

Last week was no different as area producers capitalized on the warm dry weather to finish planting corn and soybeans and get a head start on the before mentioned tasks. Furthermore, the last 10 days have been the best hay making weather we have had yet this year. In general hay quality will be a big concern for livestock producers going into this fall and winter. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Managing Prevented Plant Acres

Summer officially began last week and for the first time in seemingly forever we had consecutive days with no rain. In all reality we have had the best week of weather for farm work of the year, too bad it wasn’t in mid May. In the past couple of days, I have seen some dust behind a few bean drills, in addition to tillage and herbicide application across the county. I also suspect that some hay was able to get made, which is a welcome sight to livestock producers. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Progress…Finally

With last Tuesday and Wednesday, being mostly suitable for field work, quite a bit of planting progress was made across the county. While the late planting date and wetter than average forecast made for some less than ideal conditions, it sure seemed like a now or never opportunity to get corn planted. In talking to farmers regarding planting progress, the range of progress made varies from around having 80 percent of their intended acres planted down to having no corn planted for the season. Going forward, I figure most of the corn to be planted will be for livestock feed, primarily silage for dairy and beef cattle. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

This spring has really been a moving target with many pieces of the farming puzzle not wanting to fit together in a timely manner. The last couple of days have been as good as any to get into the fields, at least those that are fairly well drained. There have been many discussions among the agricultural community about some of these moving parts; prevented plant, disaster relief, trade aid/Market Facilitation Payment, and switching acres to soybeans. As of today here’s some of what we do know: Continue reading

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

From Across the Field – Should I Plant?

Hopefully, everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend and got through the severe weather alright. We were fortunate to avoid the worst of it, which was primarily south of US 30. As I enjoyed the three-day weekend with my family it was evident that there is quite a bit of variation in planting progress across the state. South and east of Columbus, I estimate that 70% of corn and 25% of the soybeans are in the ground. That is certainly not the case here in the Maumee Valley.

In most years the question “Should I plant?” is often in the back of many farmer’s minds as raising a crop is what they do best; it’s how they make a living. With the calendar changing to June this weekend with minimal progress made in west and northwest Ohio, that question is more real now than ever. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Not So Fast my Friends

I often enjoy a Saturday morning in the fall getting geared up for college football by listening to ESPN’s College Gameday. If you haven’t tuned in, just prior to a noon kickoff each host makes picks of who they think who will win the biggest games of the week. Typically, one of the analysts, either Desmond Howard or Kirk Herbstreit make the first selection only to be rebuked by Lee Corso and his trademark, “Not so fast, my friends.”

I feel that how this spring has been. Just when Mother Nature gives us a couple of decent drying days, she pulls a Coach Corso. There have been a few acres planted across the area, but much of the seed for this year’s crop remains in a bag. Continue reading

From Across the Field – In Bloom

Every now and then I get asked about how I come up with some of the topics that I write about each week. The answer is usually simple I either write about what I see or what I know is going be happening next as the year progresses. Whether for the farmer or the home gardener, being as current as possible allows for any potential management decisions by you the readers, to be made. Other than that, from time to time I try to mix in a bit about what is happening in my world to further connect with you the audience.

As for I have seen in the past week, about 3 things, stand out in my mind; poor alfalfa, dandelions, and blossoming flowers. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Bring On the Mayflowers

At this point of the year, I think I speak for more than myself when I say that I am sick of the rain and mud. That said there is not much we can do about other than be patient and continue to wear rubber boots, as I did over the weekend.
With my brother being an auctioneer, I rode with him to a two-day consignment machinery auction over the weekend. On Saturday, they sold about 30 wagonloads of “merchandise”, some good, some not so good and small yard equipment. I thought the prices of some of the better mowers and rototillers were fairly strong. Sunday however, was a different story with the larger farm equipment. Rain and mud may have been a contributing factor, but the used and antique tractor market was soft. Nowadays with the financing available through equipment dealers on compact tractors, it seems that the market for those older tractors less than 50 horsepower has really declined in the last 10 years. Continue reading