From Across the Field – 2/8/2020

Taste of Spring

Well I guess the groundhog wasn’t all wrong when he didn’t see his shadow over the weekend. This Monday was as nice of an early February day as I can remember. However, it appears that we will encounter a cold snap or two going forward. Thus far it’s almost like 2020 has been the winter that never was.

Over the weekend I ventured back down to southern Ohio after the first session of our Ohio Beef Schools in Licking County. Excessive moisture has made things muddier in that part of the state, especially where livestock are being fed hay. On a positive note the family sheep flock has all lambed with the exception of three stubborn ewes that are holding out for the next 17 day cycle.

There is still time to attend for NW Ohio Crops Day in Deshler. We will be down that way this afternoon getting things set up. There is plenty room for walk-ins tomorrow morning. So, come on down, hopefully learn a thing or two, and visit some of the sponsors of the day’s event. It would be remiss of me if I did not thank those sponsors who make NW Ohio Crops Day and all of our Extension events possible. As a reminder there are private and commercial applicator credits available. Also, new this year there will be Bavarian Haus coffee cake for breakfast (which I hear is tremendous). 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

Be Alert to Bagworms

By: Joe Boggs, Assistant Professor, OSU Extension

Overwintered common bagworm (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis) eggs are hatching in southwest Ohio.  The 1st instar caterpillars are very small with their bags measuring around 1/8″ in length.

The overwintering eggs have a low-temperature survival threshold and there was speculation that the late-January Polar Vortex would put the kibosh on bagworm populations.  However, based on what I’ve observed thus far, this did not appear to have happened; at least in southwest Ohio. Continue reading

From Across the Field – Yard Work Ahead

Hopefully everyone had a good holiday with friends and family. I traveled to southern Ohio for the weekend and I can report that it is not any warmer or drier in the opposite corner of the state. Had the weather been fit I’m sure would have been building fence or putting in a new seeding of hay instead of watching basketball. It’s tough to do but we have to remind ourselves that it is only the first week of April and there is still plenty of time to finish preparations for field and yard work. As long as soil temperatures are at or near 50 degrees there is no need to be in too big of a rush. Continue reading