Get Your Fertilizer Certification…Before Planting Begins

By: Eric Richer, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Ohio is now seeing full implementation of Ohio’s Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Certification regulation. The regulation was result of Senate Bill 150, which can be found at and The 2014 regulation required farmers to complete a fertilizer certification program if they applied fertilizer to more than 50 acres of land in agricultural production primarily for sale. Exemptions included fertilizer applied through a planter, individuals whose crops remained on the farm for their livestock and not sold, or fertilizer applied by a commercial applicator. Continue reading

Study Shows Most Farmers are in Compliance With Fertilizer Recommendations in Western Lake Erie Region

From Ohio Ag Net

As farmers prepare for their 2018 crop, newly released research shows that a large majority of those whose fields drain into western Lake Erie are adhering to ag experts’ guidelines for fertilizer rates and application practices. The study concludes, however, that the recommendations themselves should be re-examined to better protect western Lake Erie from pollution resulting from agricultural runoff.

The findings are presented in a special issue of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation published by the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS). Continue reading

A Look at Acid Rain and the Farm Phosphorus Conundrum with Water Quality

By Matt Reese, Ohio’s Country Journal

Farmers understand that Lake Erie turns green in the summer and that part of the blame is rightfully being directed at agriculture due to issues related to nutrient management, specifically phosphorus. What is less understood is why this is happening.

In a time period where on-farm phosphorus application levels have decreased substantially and recommended conservation practices have increased in the agricultural landscape, the troubling harmful algal blooms again started showing up in the Western Basin of Lake Erie after many thought the water quality issues had been corrected decades earlier. Continue reading

Revised Phosphorus Index Can Help Curb Agricultural Runoff

From Ohio’s Country Journal

Ohio farmers will soon have access to a newly revised tool that can quickly and easily tell them their risk of agricultural phosphorus runoff that could potentially move into Ohio waterways such as Lake Erie.

The revised Ohio Phosphorus Risk Index is a program developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service to help farmers assess their risk of phosphorus moving off farm fields. It will soon allow farmers to input their farm-specific data to generate their risk of phosphorus in agricultural runoff through an online program. Continue reading

Increased Rainfall for Ohio Has Ag Implications

Previously Published on Ohio Ag Net

Ohio receives 10% more rain per year, on average, than in the 20th century.

“You can think of it as the ‘new normal,’ ” said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.

Ohio’s current annual average is 42 inches, up 3 inches from the 39-inch average in the 20th century, Wilson said. Three inches may sound like just a drop in the, well, bucket, but “the problem is the intensity at which the rain is falling,” Wilson said. Continue reading

Manure and the Law

(Previously Featured on Ohio Ag Net)

Farmers who apply fertilizer to their fields, particularly manure, need to be aware that if the fertilizer winds up in a waterway, they could be facing fines as farmers in northwestern Ohio did last summer.

Applying manure can be particularly tricky because it’s often in liquid form and typically applied to the surface of fields, unlike most commercial fertilizers. So, if manure is spread and not fully incorporated into the soil before a heavy rainfall, the manure could run off a farm field and into a nearby body of water. Continue reading

Drainage Water Management (Controlled Drainage) Update

By: Norman Fausey and Larry C. Brown

In 2015 we estimated more than 200 Drainage Water Management (DWM) structures had been installed in Ohio. At this time we estimate as many as 500 have been installed or are to be installed this spring. Many of these are have been installed in Northwest Ohio, in the Lake Erie Basin. A substantial number of structures have been installed to reduce liquid manure discharges from the application of liquid manure on subsurface drained cropland all across Ohio.

The primary purpose of DWM is the reduction of soluble nutrients discharged from subsurface (tile) drainage systems to ditches and streams. Soluble nutrients move with the water, so to reduce nutrient discharges, it is necessary to reduce the discharge of water from the subsurface drainage system. Extensive research from Ohio and across the Midwest indicates that DWM can substantially reduce the discharge of drainage water during the non-growing season compared to free drainage at drain depth. DWM structures allow the drainage system outlet elevation to be raised or lowered rather than being unmanaged. Continue reading

Nitrogen Concerns for Ohio?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension

Over the past month or so, I participated in three conferences on nutrient loss. While many speakers addressed phosphorus concerns, several mentioned nitrogen as the next target. I focused on the nitrogen talks.

So lets talk about nitrogen management. It leaks, like everywhere. Up and down — up as a gas when the soils are saturated and moves down and out with water movement. By my estimate we mineralized 100 pounds of N per acre in 2017, and probably lost 100 pounds or more in many spots to leaching and to denitrification. Even though 80% of the atmosphere is N, we still have to supply it for our grass crops. And we add more than we need, because we don’t want to be short. That’s an economic concern. Continue reading

Winter Manure Application Reminders

From: Ohio’s Country Journal

The Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Soil and Water Conservation would like to remind producers and nutrient applicators of laws and restrictions on manure application.

Signed into law by Governor John R. Kasich in July 2015, Ohio Senate Bill 1 clarifies and enhances the restrictions on manure application within the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB). Continue reading

Free Nutrient Management Plans for Western Lake Erie Basin

By Jessie Schulze and Sarah Noggle, Ohio State University Extension

Nutrient Management Plan Writers are still working for the 2018 year in the Western Lake Erie Basin to write free plans for non-CAFO farmers. Our goal is to complete 65,000 acres for NMP’s in 2018. These plans are written free of charge to farmers and require a small amount of your time and effort. Continue reading