Winter Application of Manure: Remember Setbacks

By: Glen Arnold, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Some Ohio livestock producers will be looking to apply manure to farm fields frozen enough to support application equipment. Permitted farms are not allowed to apply manure in the winter unless it is an extreme emergency, and then movement to other suitable storage is usually the selected alternative. Thus, this article is for non-permitted livestock operations.

In the Grand Lake St Marys watershed, the winter manure application ban from December 15 to March 1 is still in effect. Thus, no manure application would normally be allowed from now until March 1. Continue reading

Nutrient Movement off Frozen and Snow-Covered Soil

By: Emerson Nafziger, Department of Crop Sciences University of Illinois. farmdoc daily (9):238

Snow has now fallen throughout much of Illinois, and temperatures have dropped going into the last weeks in 2019. With the recent Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy biennial report highlighting P and N levels in Illinois waterways, this is a good time to review the application of nutrients on frozen and/or snow-covered soils.

Last spring, after a short and often-muddy fall fertilizer season, a considerable amount of fertilizer—mostly P in the form of DAP or MAP and K as KCl—was applied during the first week of March when the soil surface was frozen. Between March 3 and March 8, 2019, minimum air temperature averaged less than 15 degrees F, and maximum temperature averaged less than 30 degrees over most of Illinois. This was one of the few times last winter when soils were frozen and there was little or no snow; and many took the opportunity to apply P and K. Continue reading

2019 Ohio Water Quality Update

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Lake Erie wasn’t as bad as expected. What? We missed 1.5 million acres of crops, and from my eye mostly in northwest Ohio. But here is the deal: you did apply fertilizer last year, and probably the year before. We farm in a leaky system and I learned this week that entropy is working against us — meaning it will get more random. So, yes it’s leaky and will perhaps get a little more leaky. We did not plant as many crops and yes we applied less fertilizer in the Lake Erie basin, but the leaks still happen even without the crop because we still have rain, and rain moves that little tiny bit of phosphorus off your farm and downstream. Continue reading

Managing Phosphorus for Yield and Reduced Edge of Field Losses

By: Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA, Ohio State University Extension

A new factsheet highlights eight steps to reducing edge of field P losses while maintain soils for increase crop production. The Phosphorus Nutrient Management for Yield and Reduced P Loss at Edge of Field-AGF-509 (https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/agf-509) highlight practices that can be used to reduce edge of field losses of P. There are eight field specific steps to considered.

  1. Control erosion
  2. Identify surface inlets to tile and use appropriate practices to reduce surface losses
  3. Consider ground and weather conditions prior to application of fertilizer and manure
  4. Take a representative soil test
  5. Use soil test as screening tool to meet crop production and water quality goals
  6. With a soil test P value of 40 PPM Mehlich III or less, you can reduce risk of crop yield losses with nutrient application for crop yield.

Continue reading

Fall Fertilizer Considerations in 2019

By: Emerson Nafziger, Department of Crop Sciences University of Illinois. October 9, 2019. farmdoc daily (9):189

The high number of prevented-planting fields in some areas, the late start to harvest, and the inability to apply P and K fertilizer as planned last fall or this past spring combine to raise a number of questions about fall application of P, K, and lime over the next few months. Continue reading

Thinking about Cover Crops…… Thoughts to Consider

Decisions, decisions these days.  When it comes to selecting the right cover crop for your farm, there is no one-size-fits-all option. This document is to help those of you new to cover crops with the thoughts, questions, and decisions, one needs to make when selecting cover crops.  Planting cover crops on prevent planting acres protects the soil from further water and wind erosion.

This is here to help you make a plan and eliminate stress. Cover Crop selection is based on many different factors. What works on one field may not work on an adjacent field. Each farmer has different goals and ideal practices for their farms. Doing your homework prior to purchasing or planting cover crops can save you time and money. Continue reading

ODA Announces Ohio Working Lands Small Grains Program and Other Updates of WLEB Programs

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is announcing an additional assistance program for producers in the Western Lake Erie Basin funded by the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 299.

The Ohio Working Lands Small Grains Program is a voluntary program that will encourage producers in the Western Lake Erie Basin to plant small grains such as wheat, barley, oats, or cereal rye on eligible cropland. As the “working lands” name implies, participants must plant and harvest small grains, land apply manure, and plant a cover crop to receive a cost-share payment to help offset operating costs. The program benefits the planting of small grains not only for the conservation benefits, but to provide livestock producers with a longer application window to land apply manure and nutrients. Continue reading

Keep an Eye Out for Water Quality Risk This Spring

By: Greg Labarge, OSU Extension Field Specialist

Research measuring nutrient losses from surface and subsurface drainage in Ohio indicates that not all fields contribute equally to various water quality issues. Fields with higher than average potential losses have some characteristics observed during everyday field activities or when working with agronomic records.  For example, a stream bank collapsing and sloughing off is adding to downstream sedimentation issues, or a field with a soil test report showing phosphorus levels above agronomic need can result in higher soluble phosphorous losses. Continue reading

Keeping Phosphorus Out Of Waterways

Previously published by Ohio Ag Net

In a pit about 3 feet underground lies one possible solution to reducing a large amount of the phosphorus draining from some of Ohio’s agricultural fields.

At two locations in the state, researchers with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) are testing phosphorus filters that have removed up to 75% of the phosphorus running through them. Phosphorus can be found in commercial fertilizers and animal manure. Continue reading

OSU Looks At Options to Apply Manure When It’s Rained A Lot

Previously published by Ohio Farmer online

Throughout the growing season, and particularly this fall, there were a lot of rainfalls — off and on. Not only did fields fill up with water, but manure ponds and lagoons did also, and that might make some farmers a bit nervous.

Ohio had the third-wettest year ever in 2018, and there’s been little letup since then, leaving farm fields across the state saturated. For farmers with a lot of livestock, spreading manure onto wet or frozen land as fertilizer is not an option right now, and manure ponds are filling up fast. Continue reading