Why Should You Calibrate Your Sprayer, and How?

By: Erdal Ozkan, OSU Extension

This is the time to check the accuracy of your sprayer. While applying too little pesticide may result in ineffective pest control, too much pesticide wastes money, may damage the crop and increases the potential risk of contaminating ground water and environment. The primary goal with calibration is to determine the actual rate of application in gallons per acre, then to make adjustments if the difference between the actual rate and the intended rate is greater or less than 5% of the intended rate. This is a recommended guideline by US EPA and USDA.

I get this question all the time: “Why should I calibrate my sprayer? I have a rate controller on the sprayer. I just enter the application rate I want, the controller does the rest”. Continue reading

Get Ready to Plant

By: Mark Sulc, Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Rory Lewandowski, CCA, OSU Extension

The weather outlook for our spring planting season is not encouraging, as it is expected to be wetter than normal again, although hopefully not as bad as 2019. The purpose of this article is to stimulate our planning and preparation now so we will be ready to take full advantage of what are expected to be very short and few windows of opportunity to be in the fields this spring. In this article, we focus on planting forage crops, but the process and many of the ideas will pertain to other spring field work activities.

Begin your planning by mentally walking through what you will do the day you plant. It might even help jog your thoughts to physically “walk through” those activities. Continue reading

Ohio Farm Custom Rate Survey 2020

By: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, OSU Extension, Agriculture & Natural Resources

 A large number of Ohio farmers hire machinery operations and other farm related work to be completed by others. This is often due to lack of proper equipment, lack of time or lack of expertise for a particular operation.  Many farm business owners do not own equipment for every possible job that they may encounter in the course of operating a farm and may, instead of purchasing the equipment needed, seek out someone with the proper tools necessary to complete the job. This farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply “custom work”. A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider. Continue reading

Machinery Cost Estimates for 2019

By: Dale Lattz and Gary Schnitkey, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics University of Illinois. farmdoc Daily

Machinery cost estimates for agricultural uses have been updated for 2019. The last time machinery costs were released on farmdoc was in 2017.  Between 2017 and 2019, most per acre costs increased between 7 and 9 percent.

Machinery Cost Estimates for 2019

Estimated machinery costs often are used to set custom rates when one individual performs a field operation for another individual.  We provide machinery cost estimates which may be useful in setting custom rates.  An additional amount for profit should be added to our cost estimates, as we have not added an amount for returns.

Machinery costs estimates are available in the management section of farmdoc in five publications: Continue reading

2019 Planter Pre-Season Notes

By: John Fulton and Jenna Lee, OSU Extension Digital Ag Team

Spring planting is right around the corner and one wants to ensure the planter is at peak performance. Considering current seed costs and tight margins, getting seed placed right during planting is critical. Not getting it right at planting can impact yield, with university research on corn indicating: Continue reading

2019 Precision University: Ag tech for In-Season Management

By: Trey Colley, John Fulton, Jenna Lee, and Elizabeth Hawkins, OSU Extension Digital Ag Team

Digital agriculture technologies, connected devices, and sensor networks have enabled data-based decision making to be implemented at the farm level. The farm of the future will have increasing access to data and real-time analyses, allowing new insights related to in-season crop protection and nutrition management. Farmers of today already have many of these data sources at their fingertips through the use of connected smart phones. Continue reading

Properly Winterizing Sprayers Can Help Mitigate Costly Problems Next Spring

By: Erdal Ozkan, OSU Extension Specialist

This is a busy time of year for many farmers, but taking time to winterize your sprayer now can payoff in avoiding problems next spring.  Without proper winterizing before the temperature falls below freezing, you could end up with a pump that is cracked and/or not working at its full capacity.  Here are some important things you need to do with your sprayer this time of the year.


Make sure to rinse the whole sprayer thoroughly before storing. Continue reading

6 Pointers to Maintain, Adjust Corn Heads to Minimize Harvest Losses

By: Dave Mowitz
Previously published by Successful Farming

Corn head checkpoints.

Closer attention to combine settings and improvements in threshing and separation technology has worked wonders in minimizing grain losses in the combine. Dennis Bollig warns that corn heads contribute enormously to grain losses, however, citing an Iowa State University study that estimates 60% of all losses happen now at the corn head. Continue reading

Combine Maintenance: Inspecting The Cleaning Shoe

By: Dave Mowitz, Previously published in Successful Farming

 Inspecting the cleaning shoe is one of the dirtiest jobs of preparing a combine for harvest, Rodney Edgington admits. “Maybe for that reason, the shoe is often ignored,” the Successful Farming Combine Doctor believes. “Components in the shoe do wear out, and their failure can have a big impact on grain losses – let alone reducing combine capacity.”

Edgington offers the following five-step inspection guide that won’t make the job less dirty, but it will identify existing and future parts failures. Continue reading

Machinery Pete: 8 Machinery Trends For 2018

What’s there to expect in 2018 for the used farm equipment market? Well, that’s a good question, and here’s what my gut is telling me:

Soft Landing: Used farm equipment values fell like a rock in the second half of 2013 into mid-2015, then began to slowly solidify. In 2016, we saw used values level off and even, surprisingly, shoot up just a smidge late in the year. This past year, values have mostly been holding and perhaps moving a little lower.

Leasing Trend: What began in 2015 continues to become more popular. Leases work nicely from pencil to paper, which is a very good thing.

Price It Right And It Will Move: Continue reading