Fall Fertility – Crop Removal Rates

by: John Barker

As harvest winds down and “IF” the fields ever dry out many of us will turn our attention to fall fertilizer applications.  We can still submit soil samples.  The turnaround time is approximately 5 -10 days, usually closer to 5.  The cost for a standard Ag sample is $10 + postage.

We are always willing to help you with your fertilizer recommendations.  The following tables may also be of assistance.

Table 12 shows the approximate amounts of nutrients removed in each harvested unit of a crop.  A 60 bushel per acre soybean crop would need 48 pounds (60 bu. X .80) of Phosphorous and 84 pounds (60 X 1.40) of Potassium per acre just to replenish the nutrients removed this year.

Likewise, a 90 bushel per acre wheat crop with the straw removed (baled) would need 65 pounds of Phosphorus (90 X  .72(.63+.09)) and 115 pounds (90 X 1.28 (.37 + .91)) of Potassium.

Step Aside Pumpkin, Winter Squash is now All the Rage

Now that the Halloween rush is over, all those hard hours spent in pursuit of the perfect pumpkin to carve and seeds to roast, is in the history books for one more year. All of your hard work is now destined for the compost pile before it melts down on your porch, to be worked on by squirrels, chipmunks and whole raft of fungal organisms. While Halloween is over, the need for continued Fall decorations is still in full swing.

Winter squash fruit from trial at South Charleston.



Recognizing that there is more to Fall than pumpkins, the Integrated Pest Management Program planted a demonstration trial at the Western Ag Research Station in South Charleston to highlight the advantages of winter squash, perhaps the perfect Fall edible ornamental. Besides looking just as bizarre as some of the modern hybrid pumpkins and needing to carving to further enhance them, these multicolored fruits are highly edible and packed with vitamins, flavonoids, carotenoids, and loaded with fiber. For any pumpkin grower who hasn’t tried to grow these yet to spice up their market stand, they are just as fun as pumpkins and require exactly the same horticultural care.

There were 11 entries from two companies in the trial, with emphasis placed on winter squash that looked decorative, were rated as highly edible, and had storage life from 2-6 months. Disease resistance isn’t usually an option for most of these hybrids, but given that they are squash and not pumpkin, seem to be less prone to most diseases except for bacterial wilt. This trial was one of the highlights for growers who attended the annual pumpkin field day but due to some bad weather and mouse damage, we had to replant this trial which delayed mature fruit set in about half of the hybrids. So here is a look at the mature fruit and a few back of the envelope calculations as to number per acre and yield.

While specific trial data was collected, because it was not replicated or randomized, all calculations for yield and fruit size should be seen as estimates taken from one site, under a specific set of weather conditions. When making decisions about hybrid selection for 2018, this information should be combined with other trial data from around the state or region. This trial was not irrigated, and received above average rain fall for this location based on historical records.

To obtain average fruit weight, 3-5 fruit of each hybrid per plot representing the largest, smallest, and average sized fruit were chosen and weighed. All other marketable fruit in plot were counted and used in yield calculation, which was based on a 15’ row spacing, 35’ length of row, with plant spacing 3-4’ apart.

Rough estimates for yield and number of fruit per acre based on data collected at South Charleston. If you have additional questions about the trial, contact me directly at jasinski.4@osu.edu


EPA Delays Hazardous Substance Release Notification Deadline

Yesterday (November 15, 2017), the EPA announced that farms with continuous hazardous substance releases as defined by CERCLA do not have to submit their initial continuous release notification until the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issues its order, or mandate, enforcing the Court’s opinion of April 11, 2017. While it appears the reports will be required sometime, producers may wait to file after the Court has entered its order, at which time we can expect EPA to provide a filing “deadline.” We also expect that the EPA will  utilize this additional time to bring more clarity to the emissions data and calculations producers should rely upon for determining whether they are subject to CERCLA air emissions reporting.

For more information regarding the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) section 103, visit:

OSU Beef Team post: Requirements of Hazardous Substance Reporting by Livestock Farms are Further Clarified

EPA release: CERCLA and EPCRA Reporting Requirements for Air Releases of Hazardous Substances from Animal Waste at Farms

What Finishing Diet Should I Feed my Lamb?

Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

Do lambs perform and hang better carcasses when grazed on grasses, legumes, or fed an all concentrate diet?

Before to asking these questions, producers must first determine the goal of their operation. Resources such as land, labor, time, and money all play a critical role in the daily management of an operation. In today’s society, there are two types of consumers. Those that want access to quality protein sources at low prices, and those that are willing to pay a premium for specialty products (i.e. grass-fed lamb). When grain prices are low, it may be more economical for producers to finish lambs on grain. However, in order to reach a premium through specialty markets, producers may choose to finish their lambs on pasture. Regardless of which finishing strategy is chosen, producers need to understand both the performance and carcass merits achieved and lost in using each finishing system. In order to address these questions, the authors listed below conducted the following experiments.

Over a 3-year period (1983 – 1985) a series of experiments were conducted in order to determine an ideal lamb finishing diet by assessing lamb performance and carcass characteristics. Each year, lambs were rotationally grazed on either orchardgrass (OG), ryegrass (RG), or alfalfa (ALF) pastures and compared to lambs fed an all-concentrate diet in a drylot (DL). All lambs were harvested when DL lambs reached a fat depth over the ribs of 0.22 – 0.28 inches as determined by manual palpation. Therefore, all lambs were harvested at the same age and number of days on feed.

From a performance standpoint, DL lambs had the greatest average daily gain (ADG) and total gain, where legume fed or ALF lambs were intermediate and grass-fed (OG and RG) lambs had the lowest ADG and total gain. When comparing forage types, ALF lambs performed better than grass-fed lambs, with no differences in performance when comparing grasses (orchardgrass vs. ryegrass). This increase in performance may be attributed to an increase in forage quality. According to forage analysis, the alfalfa pastures were the highest in protein when compared to the grass pastures. However, it is noted that the grass pastures provided adequate amounts of protein to sustain lamb growth as well.

When looking at carcass characteristics, grass-fed lambs had smaller carcasses as shown by less muscle, fat, and bone when compared to DL and ALF lambs. This may be a result of lambs being harvested at the same age. If lambs were fed to similar body weights, these results may differ. ALF lambs had smaller carcasses than DL lambs; however, there were no differences in muscle mass when comparing these two groups. This can be attributed to ALF lambs having less carcass fat when compared to DL lambs. In return, ALF lambs had more desirable yields (more sellable product) than compared to DL lambs that had more waste (fat that was trimmed off the carcass).

In conclusion, forage-fed lambs (ALF, OG, and RG) had lower daily gains and resulted in lighter carcasses when compared to concentrate fed lambs. However, this result is mainly attributed to all lambs being harvested at the same age and number of days on feed and may differ if lambs were harvested at the same weight. From a carcass standpoint, legume-fed lambs had lighter carcasses, but had had the same muscle mass as concentrate fed lambs. Concentrate fed lambs accumulated more carcass fat when compared to all other lambs. Therefore, finishing lambs on alfalfa pastures may result in leaner lambs that are adequately muscled and produce desirable carcasses in order to maximize on lamb performance in pasture based systems.


McClure, K. E., R. W. Van Keuren, and P. G. Althouse. Performance and carcass characteristics of weaned lambs either grazed on Orchardgrass, Ryegrass, or Alfalfa or fed all-concentrate diets in drylot. J. Anim. Sci. 72: 3230-3237.

NRCS can Help Develop Water Systems in Pasture Management

Clif Little, OSU Extension Educator, Guernsey County (Originally published in Ohio Farmer – October 23, 2017)

(Image Source: Underwood Conservation District, White Salmon, Washington)

Planned paddocks, good fencing, improved forages, grazing management, pasture fertility, and livestock genetics are all important elements when maximizing a grazing system. Water distribution, however, is arguably one of the most important elements of pasture-based livestock systems.

In southern and eastern Ohio, spring systems are the most often developed water sources. Springs can provide adequate, low-cost, low-maintenance water systems. Water quality and quantity are major considerations when developing a spring. The first question to answer concerning spring development: Is this site worth developing? If a spring is not running in July and August, it may be an intermittent spring and would have limited production. Creating enough storage capacity for a poor-producing spring can be costly.

When possible, attempt to develop springs at high elevations, this would allow the spring to gravity-flow to lower tanks, potentially supplying water to many paddocks.

There are many water tank options, whether pressurized or gravity systems. The correct tank to use depends on the livestock species and the time of year you want to provide water.

You can find many suggestions for planning travel distance to water but in general, less distance to water equals better pasture utilization and less reserve volume needed in the tank. Often we set a goal of 600 feet or less to water, and less is best.

Used, heavy earth-moving tires are frequently used as water tanks and can be relatively inexpensive and freeze-resistant. Plan the livestock rotation system identifying the areas of the farm where freeze-proof systems will be needed. Winter watering systems vary in susceptibility to freeze. Many frost-free waterers use geothermal energy to keep the system from freezing, and the resistance to freeze varies in each. Water systems should have the ability to be drained, with lines that can be easily shut off.

Price considerations:
Cost to develop a spring will vary greatly and can range from $2,500 to $3,000 per spring or more depending on the tank selection.

If concerned about the quality of the water, have it analyzed before development. Your local OSU Extension office can provide laboratories capable of analyzing livestock water.

Where there are no springs, ponds are often used as a source for livestock water. Livestock owners desire ponds as a watering source, partially because they also have a recreational-use value and can provide ample water any time of year. However, soils, drainage, and cost can limit the practicality of ponds. We have plenty of examples of poorly designed ponds that do not hold water due to limitations in soil resources, and we have ponds with poor dike and overflow designs that become severely damaged in rain events. If you think a pond is what you need, contact your local soil and water conservation office for advice before construction.

Ponds may be completely fenced off from livestock, with piping used to deliver water. The best water in a pond is located near the center and about 2 feet below the surface. Granting livestock unlimited access to ponds and streams can cause bank erosion and water quality issues. For streams and ponds, consider developing limited water access points utilizing fencing, geotextile fabric and stone. As with springs, water quality can be an issue when utilizing ponds and streams.

Plan your water distribution systems in conjunction with paddock development so that multiple paddocks will have access to one water system. The best advice in developing your water is to visit farms that have well-planned systems. When observing various farm systems, pay attention to shut-off locations, tank valve systems, overflow construction, paddock utilization and ground stabilization around the tanks. Your job will be to select the best features from these working examples to implement on your farm.

For help in designing a livestock watering system contact the local USDA Natural Resources Conservation District Conservationist. Your NRCS office may also have cost-share incentives available to farmers that can help in reducing the expense of your livestock watering system. They can also provide farm-implemented examples of properly designed systems for you to view prior to construction.

There is a lot more to cover related to water systems, such as construction, installation, calculating supply needs, pipe type, sizing, pumps and connections. When you set down with a professional at NRCS, the best options for these easily overlooked areas will be recommended.

It is costly to build a water system twice. Take your time, do the research, keep it practical and economical, view examples and sit down with the folks at NRCS and plan the system.

Save The Dates!

by: John Barker

The dates for most of our Agronomy & Farm Management winter meetings are set.  I am still finalizing a few details, but you can put these dates on  your calendars.  Be sure to check back for more details.


January 11 & 18 –     Estate Planning – “Planning for the Future of Your Farm” Workshop 6 – 9 p.m.

January 30 –              Pesticide & Fertilizer Certification 6 – 10 p.m.

February 5 –              Central Ohio Agronomy School 6:30 – 9 p.m.

February 12 –            Central Ohio Agronomy School 6:30 – 9 p.m.

February 19 –            Central Ohio Agronomy School 6:30 – 9 p.m.

February 26 –            Central Ohio Agronomy School 6:30 – 9 p.m.

March 5 –                   Central Ohio Agronomy School 6:30 – 9 p.m.

March 29 –                 Pesticide & Fertilizer Certification 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Soybean Harvest Almost Wrapped Up For 2017.

by: John Barker

The most recent USDA report shows Ohio soybean harvest, while slightly behind previous years, is essentially complete.  93% of Ohio soybean acreage is harvested compared to 98% last year.   The most recent 5 year average is 95%.

Nationwide harvest is 93% complete for the 18 top producing states, compared to 96% last year and a most recent 5 year average of 95%.

Corn Harvest Is Winding Down

by: John Barker

As Thanksgiving approaches the 2017 harvest is slowly beginning to come to a close in Ohio.

The most recent USDA report shows that 71% of Ohio corn is in the bin, considerably behind the most recent 5 year average of 85%.  Last year 89% of the corn had been harvested by November 12.

Nationwide harvest is 83% complete for the 18 top producing states, compared to 92% last year and a most recent 5 year average of 91%.


by:  Laura Lindsey, Wayde Looker

Yield results for the 2017 Ohio Soybean Performance Trials are available online at: https://stepupsoy.osu.edu/soybean-production/variety-selection/ohio-soybean-performance-trial Seed quality information will be available within two weeks.

The purpose of the Ohio Soybean Performance Trials is to evaluate soybean varieties for yield and other agronomic characteristics. This evaluation gives soybean producers comparative information for selecting the best varieties for their unique pro

duction systems. New for 2017- Varieties were grouped, tested, and analyzed by maturity (early and late trials). Conventional, Liberty Link, Roundup Ready, and Xtend varieties were tested in the same block to allow for head-to-head comparisons. A double asterisk (**) is used to denote the variety with the highest yield within a yield and maturity grouping. A single asterisk (*) is used to denote varieties with yield not statistically different than the highest yielding variety.

Farms Must Begin Reporting Air Releases of Hazardous Substances from Animal Wastes

Peggy Kirk Hall, Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Resource Law
Ellen Essman, Law Fellow

Beginning November 15, 2017, many livestock, poultry and equine farms must comply with reporting requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) section 103. The law requires entities to report releases of hazardous substances above a certain threshold that occur within a 24-hour period. Farms have historically been exempt from most reporting under CERCLA, but in the spring of 2017 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the rule that allowed reporting exemptions for farms. As long as there is no further action by the Court to push back the effective date, farmers and operators of operations that house beef, dairy, horses, swine and poultry must begin complying with the reporting requirements on November 15, 2017.

Farmers and operators, especially of sizeable animal operations that are likely to have larger air emissions, need to understand the reporting responsibilities. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published interim guidance to assist farms with the new compliance obligations. The following summarizes the agency’s guidance.

What substances to report

The EPA specifically names ammonia and hydrogen sulfide as two hazardous substances commonly associated with animal wastes that will require emissions reporting. Each substance has a reportable quantity of 100 pounds. If a farm releases 100 pounds or more of either substance to the air within a 24-hour period, the owner or operator must notify the National Response Center. A complete list of hazardous substances and their corresponding reportable quantities is here.

Note that farmers do not have to report emissions from the application of manure, and fertilizers to crops or the handling, storage and application of pesticides registered under federal law. However, a farmer must report any spills or accidents involving these substances when they exceed the reportable quantity.

How to report

Under CERCLA, farm owners and operators have two compliance options—to report each release or to follow the continuous release reporting process:
•For an individual release that meets or exceeds the reportable quantity for the hazardous substance, an owner or operator must immediately notify the National Response Center (NRC) by phone at 1-800-424-8802.
•Continuous release reporting allows the owner or operator to file an “initial continuous release notification” to the NRC and the EPA Regional Office for releases that will be continuous and stable in quantity and rate. Essentially, this puts the authorities “continuously” on notice that there will be emissions from the operation within a certain estimated range. If the farm has a statistically significant increase such as a change in the number of animals on the farm or a significant change in the release information, the farm must notify the NRC immediately. Otherwise, the farm must file a one year anniversary report with the EPA Regional Office to verify and update the emissions information and must annually review emissions from the farm. Note that a farm must submit its initial continuous release notification by November 15, 2017.

No reporting required under EPCRA

The litigation that led to CERCLA reporting also challenged the farm exemption from reporting for the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). EPRCRA section 304 requires facilities at which a hazardous chemical is produced, used or stored to report releases of reportable quantities from the chemicals. However, EPA explains in a statement issued on October 25, 2017 that the statute excludes substances used in “routine agricultural operations” from the definition of hazardous chemicals. EPCRA doesn’t define “routine agricultural operations,” so EPA states that it interprets the term to include regular and routine operations at farms, animal feeding operations, nurseries, other horticultural operations and aquaculture and a few examples of substances used in routine operations include animal waste stored on a farm and used as fertilizer, paint used for maintaining farm equipment, fuel used to operate machine or heat buildings and chemicals used for growing and breeding fish and plans for aquaculture. As a result of this EPA interpretation, most farms and operations do not have to report emissions under EPCRA. More information on EPA’s interpretation of EPCRA reporting for farms is here.

What should owners and operators of farms with animal wastes do now?

  1. Review the EPA’s interim guidance on CERCLA and EPCRA Reporting Requirements, available here.
  2. Determine if the operation may have reportable quantities of air emissions from hazardous substances such as ammonia or hydrogen sulfide. The EPA offers resources to assist farmers in estimating emission quantities, which depend upon the type and number of animals and type of housing and manure storage facilities. These resources are available here.
  3. A farm that will have reportable emissions that are continuous and stable should file an initial continuous release notification by November 15, 2017. A guide from the EPA for continuous release reporting is here. Make sure to understand future responsibilities under continuous release reporting.
  4. If not operating under continuous release reporting, immediately notify the National Response Center at National Response Center (NRC) at 1-800-424-8802 for any release of a hazardous substance that meets or exceeds the reportable quantity for that substance in a 24-hour period, other than releases from the normal application or handling of fertilizers or pesticides.
  5. Learn about conservation measures that can reduce air pollution emissions from agricultural operations in this guide from the EPA.

Note that the EPA is seeking comments and suggestions on the resources the agency is providing or should provide to assist farm owners and operators with meeting the new reporting obligations. Those who wish to comment should do so by November 24, 2017 by sending an e-mail to CERCLA103.guidance@epa.gov.