From Across the Field- March Madness is Here

Having grown up in a family of sports fans, few things capture my interest more than March Madness. From the Cinderella stories to the blue bloods of both college and Ohio high school tournaments, March is the highlight of the sports calendar, unless the Reds somehow reach the World Series in my lifetime. Watching high school games at various locations and filling out a handful of NCAA brackets is something I look forward to annually.

I think March in general is a time that we look forward to, get excited, or maybe a bit anxious for. Typically, March marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring and the coming growing season. As I talk to farmers around the county, the itch to pull the planter out of the shed is beginning to grow, and understandably so. In Extension, we just came out of Conservation Tillage Conference last week, and are discussing on farm agronomy research plans today. As those in the Twittersphere and on social media would say #plant18 is just around the corner here in Ohio. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Time to Think About Recertifications

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is looking forward into beginning a new year in the coming days. Well 2017 was certainly an exciting year both in the world of agriculture and for myself on a personal note. It has been great to be able to meet so many people and learn so much about agriculture here in Henry County. I look forward to continuing to do so in 2018.

Here in the next couple of months I will be highlighting the different Extension meetings and programs that will take place here in the county and NW corner of Ohio, so stay tuned for that information going forward. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Label Language Continues to Confuse Consumers

I have always been curious about what goes through a person’s mind while shopping at the grocery store. In the past couple of weeks, I have read several articles regarding consumer surveys, gauging consumer wants and purchasing habits when at the grocery store. I shared one such article in my weekly online newsletter titled, Informed Consumers Won’t Pay More For ‘Natural’. In this experiment researchers at Arizona State University polled 663 beef eaters about their willingness to pay for steak labeled with different attributes: one of which being natural. Half of the participants were provided with the definition of natural and half were not. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Home Holiday Hazards

Looking forward at the weather forecast, it looks like winter is finally going to take hold. It looks like daytime highs will only be in the 30s for quite some time. As the ground becomes frozen that will allow for any remain harvest to continue, while bringing a halt to tillage and manure application. The recent snow has helped put me in the Christmas spirit as long I don’t have to travel too far in it.  I am also looking forward to the shortest day of the year in a couple weeks, so at least we can start to have daylight. It will be nice to leave the office with some daylight to burn. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Revisiting an Old Foe

As we progress through the final month of 2017, field operations are winding down across the county. I estimate that there is around 1 percent of the corn crop yet standing and that soybean harvest is all but complete. Still quite a bit of tillage happening in parts of the county, otherwise the 2017 crop year wrapped up. From a very wet start to insect and weed pressure, mix in a dry spell, and finish with a wet end, this year figures to be one talked about for quite some time. Continue reading

From Across the Field: A New Agronomy Day in Henry County

What a great holiday weekend. You couldn’t have asked for better weather to toss the pigskin or to get a little farm work done. I utilized the opportunity to spend time with the extended family and the head south to work on a couple of projects on the home farm.

As we approach the winter meeting season here in Extension I have planned a full slate of educational events, that I hope you, the readers will find interesting and valuable to you and your agricultural enterprise. While there will be more details forthcoming I wanted to highlight one of the meetings in this week’s column.

How many of you remember Corn and Soybean Day as a Henry County event at the Bavarian Haus? That was a program that I have been told and reminded about countless times in the first six months on the job, and I am pleased to announce that it is back, sort of. Corn and Soybean Day will continue to be held at Founders Hall in Archbold in late January, however a new event, Northwest Ohio Crops Day will be held at the Bavarian Haus in Deshler on February 9th in 2018. Continue reading

From Across the Field 11-16-2017

From Across the Field

This is the time of the year where I’d like to take a minute to reflect. The growing season is over, harvest is progressing, trees are almost bare, it is getting cold outside, and winter is on the way. That was especially true this past weekend. It was refreshing to watch the sun rise over the horizon with a few trees still holding on to leaves. Coming off a Veteran’s Day weekend and heading towards the holiday season is when I reflect on the many blessings we have with faith, family, living in this area, and in this country. Continue reading

From Across the Field 11-2-2017

I feel like I am starting to sound like a broken record when it comes to the weather situation and harvest. At this point we are adequate to slightly above with regards to soil moisture going into winter.

A colleague of mine in his weekly column this past week, wrote about how there are really two seasons in Ohio, warm and cold. He differentiates the two based on whether or not, long johns are part of his daily attire. I agree with his assessment that we are in fact entering the cold season as I have found the need for a sweatshirt and jacket (rather than long johns) this past week. Continue reading

From Across the Field 10-26-2017

By Garth Ruff, ANR Educator OSU Extension Henry County

Another cool, soggy start to the week is not what the doctor ordered in terms of crop quality and standability. As noted by several educators across the region, there are a number of harvested soy bean fields that have a green hue to them. Upon further investigation it appears that the seedlings coming out of the ground are soybean plants. In some instances, the beans may have been sown out of the back of the combine, especially if the beans were small. Another more likely cause of the beans reaching the soil, is that the pods were shattering upon contact with the grain head. This current pattern of wet to dry will only increase the rate of shattered pods in any remaining beans to be harvested.

In past columns I have wrote about how the wind in Henry County is something that I am not particularly used to, and at this point the standing corn is less immune to it as well. A wind such as the one that blew Tuesday evening could be damaging as the harvest season progresses.

Last week I also promised a bit on fall lawn maintenance, and one thing you may want to do in the next month is a final lawn fertilizing. I would suggest to wait until we have had a couple good killing frosts in the coming weeks. At that point grass may be done growing, but the roots are still active. A shot of lawn fertilizer will help the roots to store carbohydrates and thicken, making a denser, healthier turf next year. In addition, the grass will green up after application and first thing in the spring. Fertilizing now will help, but may make the grass grow and not store as much energy in the roots, so the best time to fertilize is usually between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.

I recommend a high nitrogen fertilizer, and apply only ½ to 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet (which is not a lot). When you purchase fertilizer, the first number in the analysis is nitrogen expressed as a percent. So, a 50 pound of a 20-0-5 fertilizer will be 29 percent nitrogen or expressed in a different way, it will have 10 pounds of nitrogen in the 50 pound bag. This bag of fertilizer would then cover 10,000 to 20,000 square feet which would be approximately ¼ to ½ acre of lawn. In most ready to use lawn fertilizers, the middle number of the analysis will be 0, indicating there is no phosphorus fertilizer in the product. The third number represents the percentage of potash (potassium fertilizer) in the package. If you have questions about fertilizing, give me a call.

I’ll end this week with a quote from businessman Peter Drucker who said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things”. Have a great week.