Small/New Farm College

Are you a small farm landowner wondering what to do with your acreage?  Are you interested in exploring options for land uses but not sure where to turn or how to begin?  Have you considered adding an agricultural or horticultural enterprise but you just aren’t sure of what is required, from an equipment, labor, and/or management perspective?  Are you looking for someplace to get some basic farm information?  If you or someone you know answered yes to any of these questions, then the Ohio State University New and Small Farm College program may be just what you are looking for.


The Ohio State University New and Small Farm College is an 8 session short course that will be held one night a week.  The 2018 Ohio New and Small Farm College program will be held in two locations across the state including:


The Butler County location will be held at the OSU Extension Butler County office, 1802 Princeton Road Hamilton, Oh.  Classes will be held on Thursdays beginning January 18 and concluding March 8, 2018. A farm tour will be held Saturday March 10, 2018. Inclement weather makeup date will be March 15. Contact the Butler County Extension Office at 513-887-3722. You can register online at


The Scioto County area will be held at the Shawnee State University Massie Hall, 940 Second Street Portsmouth, Oh.  Classes will be held on Mondays beginning January 29 and concluding March 19, 2018. A farm tour will be held Saturday, March 31, 2018.

Inclement weather makeup date: March 26. For more information, contact Scioto County Extension at 740-354-7879. You can register online at


All colleges will start each evening at 6:00 PM with a light dinner with the nightly presentations beginning at 6:30 Pm and concluding at 9:00PM.


Topics that will be covered in the Small Farm College course include: Getting Started (goal setting, resource inventory, business planning), Appropriate Land Use -Walking The Farm, Where to Get Assistance, (identifying various agencies, organizations, and groups), Natural Resource Management including soils, ponds, woodlands and wildlife, Legal Issues, Insurance, Business Structure, Finances & Record Keeping, and Marketing Alternatives, Crop and Horticultural Production Options, Animal Production Options,


The cost of the course is $150 per person, $100 for an additional family member.  Each participating family will receive a small farm college notebook full of the information presented in each class session plus additional materials.  Registrations are now being accepted. For more details about the course and/or a registration form, contact Tony Nye, Small Farm Program Coordinator 937-382-0901 or email at

Avoid Costly Problems in by Proper Winterizing of Your Sprayer Now

Clean that sprayer – credit Univ. of Nebraska.

Dr. Erdal Ozkan, Professor, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, The Ohio State University

It is very likely that you will not be using your sprayer again until next spring. If you want to avoid potential problems and save yourself from frustration and major headaches, you will be wise to give your sprayer a little bit of TLC (Tender Loving Care) these days. Yes this is still a busy time of the year for some of you, but don’t delay winterizing your sprayer too long if you already have not done so. You don’t want a pump that is cracked and/or not working at its full capacity because you did not properly winterize it before the temperature falls below freezing. Here are some important things you need to do with your sprayer this time of the year.

It is very likely that you did the right thing when you used the sprayer the last time: you rinsed the whole system (tank, hoses, filters, nozzles) thoroughly. If you did not, make sure this is done before storing the sprayer. A sprayer that is not rinsed thoroughly after each use, and especially after the spraying season is over, may lead to serious problems caused by cross-contamination of different products applied for different crops. Another problem that may result from lack of, or insufficient rinsing of the complete sprayer parts is clogged nozzles. Once the nozzles are clogged, it is extremely difficult to bring them back to their operating conditions when they were clean. Leaving chemical residues in nozzles will usually lead to changes in their flow rates, as well as in their spray patterns resulting in uneven distribution of chemicals on the target.

Depending on the tank, proper rinsing of the interior of the tank could be easy or challenging. It will be very easy if the tank is relatively new and is equipped with special rinsing nozzles and mechanism inside the tank. If this is not the case, manual rinsing of the tank interior is more difficult, and poses some safety problems such as inhaling fumes of leftover chemicals during the rinsing process. To avoid these problems, either replace the tank with one that has the interior rinse nozzles, or install an interior tank rinse system in your existing tank.

For effective rinsing of all the sprayer components, circulate clean water through the whole sprayer parts several minutes first with the nozzles off, then flush out the rinsate through the nozzles. Rinsing should be done preferably in the field, or on a concrete chemical mixing/loading pad with a sump to recover rinse water. Regardless, dispose of the rinsate according to what is recommended on the labels of the pesticides you have used. Always check the label for specific instructions. However, most labels recommend following procedure: If rinsing is done on a concrete rinse pad with a sump, put the rinsate collected in the sump back in the tank, dilute it with water and spray it in the field where there is no potential for the rinsate to reach ditches and other water bodies nearby. If the rinsing is done in the field, make sure you are not flushing out the rinsate in the system in one area. It is best to further dilute the rinse water in the tank and, spray it on the field on areas where there is no potential for the rinsate to reach ditches and other water bodies nearby.

Don’t forget to clean your sprayer – credit









Rinsing the system with water as explained above may not be sufficient to get rid of chemicals from the sprayer. This may lead to cross-contamination problems. Residues of some pesticides left in the sprayer may cause serious problems when a spray mixture containing these residual materials is applied on a crop that is highly sensitive to that pesticide. To avoid such problems, it is best to clean and rinse the entire spraying system with some sort of a cleaning solution. Usually a mixture of 1 to 100 of household ammonia to water should be adequate for cleaning the tank, but you may first need to clean the tank with a mixture containing detergent if tank was not cleaned weeks ago, right after the last spraying job was done. Some chemicals require specific rinsing solution. There is an excellent Extension Publication from University of Missouri which lists many commonly used pesticides and the specific rinsing solutions required for them. It is available online. Check it out ( However, you should always check the product label to find out the most recent recommendations on cleaning agents.

Cleaning the outside of the sprayer components deserves equal attention. Remove compacted deposits with a bristle brush. Then flush the exterior parts of the equipment with water. A high pressure washer can be used, if available. Wash the exterior of the equipment either in the field away from ditches and water sources nearby, or a specially constructed concrete rinse pad with a sump. Again, the rinsate should be disposed of according to the label recommendations. As I mentioned earlier, most labels recommends the same practice: put the rinsate collected in the sump back in the tank, dilute it with water and spray it in the field where there is no potential for the rinsate to reach ditches and other water bodies nearby.

Check one more time to make sure there is no liquid left inside any of the sprayer parts to prevent freezing. Especially the pump, the heart of a sprayer, requires special care. You don’t want a pump that is cracked and/or not working at its full capacity because you did not properly winterize it before the temperature falls below freezing. After draining the water, add a small amount of oil, and rotate the pump four or five revolutions by hand to completely coat interior surfaces. Make sure that this oil is not going to damage rubber rollers in a roller pump or rubber parts in a diaphragm pump. Check the operator’s manual. If oil is not recommended, pouring one tablespoon of radiator rust inhibitor in the inlet and outlet part of the pump also keeps the pump from corroding. Another alternative is to put automotive antifreeze with rust inhibitor in the pump and other sprayer parts. This also protects against corrosion and prevents freezing in case all the water is not drained. To prevent corrosion, remove nozzle tips and strainers, dry them, and store them in a dry place. Putting them in a can of light oil such as diesel fuel or kerosene is another option.

Find ways to protect your sprayer against the harmful effects of snow, rain, sun, and strong winds. Moisture in the air, whether from snow, rain, or soil, rusts metal parts of unpro­tected equipment of any kind. This is especially true for a sprayer, because there are all kinds of hoses, rubber gaskets and plastic pieces all around a sprayer. Yes, the sun usually helps reduce moisture in the air, but it also causes damage. Ultraviolet light softens and weakens rubber materials such as hoses and tires and degrades some tank materials. The best protection from the environment is to store sprayers in a dry building. Storing sprayers in a building also gives you a chance to work on them any time during the off-season regardless of weather. If storing in a building is not possible, provide some sort of cover. When storing trailer-type sprayers, put blocks under the frame or axle and reduce tire pressure during storage.

Finally, check the condition of all sprayer parts one more time before leaving the sprayer behind. Identify the parts that may need to be worked on, or replaced. Check the tank, and hoses to make sure there are no signs of cracks starting to take place. Check the painted parts of the sprayer for scratched spots. Touch up these areas with paint to eliminate corrosion. By the way, don’t forget to cover openings so that birds don’t make a nest somewhere in your sprayer, and insects, dirt, and other foreign material cannot get into the system

Chain Saw Safety

Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

Connect to our fact sheet covering chain saws on Ohioline at, Ohioline is the Ohio State University Extension vehicle for delivering educational online resources to the community.

If you are looking for hands-on safety training contact the Ohio Forestry Association to sign-up for their Chainsaw Safety classes coming up in November. See their website to register at

Hunter Education Course

Source: Agricultural Safety and Health Program

The infamous culinary event of the year, Thanksgiving, is also the beginning of spotting hunter orange in the fields for many. If you plan to hunt this fall or bring a new young hunter along, take a look at the Division of Wildlife hunter certification course offerings at

Lighting Solutions for the Dark Days of Winter

Laura Akgerman  Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility

Does your workload get lighter as the days get shorter and darker?  Probably not. Animals still need fed and tended to, work needs to get done, and equipment needs fixed.

A well-lit work space is important to ensure that you can work safely and effectively. Task lighting makes work safer and easier, allowing you to see your equipment and workspace. Task lighting can be portable, permanently attached, or you can even wear it. LED lights are one solution for lighting a poorly it area, or upgrading older, expensive to use lights.

Task lighting
Task lighting is the lighting available in a workspace, or the area where a task will be performed. Poor lighting, such as only overhead lights, can cause shadows, and make work more difficult and dangerous by hiding sharp edges and other hazards. Inadequate lighting can cause eyestrain, blurred vision, dry and burning eyes, and headaches.

Task Lighting safety practices(from )

  • Provide lighting with adjustable intensity to meet the needs for different tasks
  • Provide portable lighting at the task location as appropriate
  • Keep walls, ceilings and floors clean, and use lighter colors on them to reflect light
  • Replace and clean lights regularly
  • Allow enough time for the eyes to adapt from a well-lighted to a low-lighted area and vice versa
  • Use filter to diffuse overhead lighting
Adding task lighting to the dairy parlor.
Adding task lighting to the dairy parlor.


Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
LED lights are available in Edison base (screw in), spotlights, floodlights, linear tubes or light strips. LEDs come on instantly, and are excellent for task lighting. LEDs last for years, and become brighter in cold temperatures, making them ideal for use outdoors, in barns, or cold storage.

LEDs use at least 75% less energy than halogen or incandescent, and at least 15% less energy than compact fluorescent bulbs, saving on electricity costs. LED lights do cost more than other types of lights, but their long life and lower energy costs make up for the higher price. The Minnesota Department of Commerce did a yearlong study on an all LED green house and found that the LEDs saved 47% on energy costs, and would take only 2.2 years to pay for the cost of LED lights (and the lights will last much longer than 2.2 years).

LED Headlamps are ideal for wearing when you need a light, but don’t want to use a flashlight. The headset has elastic bands that allow you to wear it on your head, and the light beam is directed at whatever you are looking at, which makes it ideal for working on equipment, walking the dog at night, or walking/running outside after dark.

One example of LED lights improving a worksite is how Ohio AgrAbility used LED lighting in the milking parlor and barn of a dairy farmer who had lost some of his vision due to Diabetes. He had a severely restricted field of vision, he couldn’t tell the difference between similar colors, and was rendered nearly blind by changes in light intensity. Before LED lights were installed, it was difficult for him to work with the cows, and he had to depend on his employees to do the bulk of the work. After LED lights were installed, the farmer was able to resume working, he could inspect the cows to be sure they were healthy, and could safely move throughout the barns and his property.
Before LED lights were installed in the dairy barn. 
   After LED lights were installed in the dairy barn


For more information about LED lights, and examples of LED uses, please see the fact sheet from University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension: Lighting Technology: LED lamps for home, farm and small business.

For more information, please contact Laura Akgerman, Ohio AgrAbility and OSU Extension Disability Services Coordinator, at, or 614-292-0622.

Should We Be Surprised about the U.S. Average Yield of Corn and Soybeans in 2017?

by: Scott Irwin, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
University of Illinois

In the Crop Production report released on October 10, 2017 the USDA estimated the U.S. average yield of corn to be 171.8 bushels per acre and the average yield of soybeans to be 49.5 bushels per acre. The October yield estimates confirmed that U.S. corn and soybean yields in 2017 would be rather large by historical standards. The estimated corn and soybean yields for 2017 are the second largest ever for the U.S. The “high” yield estimates released by the USDA since August have surprised many market observers and analysts based on the perception that crop condition ratings and weather during the 2017 growing season did not support an expectation of such large yields. The purpose of this article is to examine whether those perceptions were accurate or not. …Continue Reading…


Farmers Helping Farmers!

More weeds, particularly varieties that can withstand some common herbicides, poked out of fields across Ohio this year.

Spurring the weeds on was the plentiful rain early in the season and a slow-growing soybean crop that usually creates a canopy over the weeds, shutting out sunlight to them. Many windy days also postponed when farmers could spray weed killers. Meanwhile, the weeds kept growing.

Two of Ohio’s more problematic weeds, Palmer amaranth and waterhemp, have become more widespread this year. They’re tricky to fight because they’ve adapted to fend off a few different herbicides that have been used to kill them.

“If you don’t have either of those weeds, don’t get them. They’ll make the rest of your farming career a lot less fun and a lot more expensive,” said Mark Loux, a weed specialist with Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

If it’s not adequately controlled, Palmer amaranth can take over a field faster than any other weed in Ohio. That’s because one plant can produce up to 1 million seeds.

In some parts of the state, people are particularly vigilant of Palmer amaranth, determined not to let it get into their fields and quick to act when it does. After Palmer amaranth was recently spotted for the first time in Knox County, northeast of Columbus, the land owner, along with his neighbors and others, came together — 26 in all — and scouted the fields, yanking out the weed as they went.

Carrying machetes or pruning clippers, they walked through damp, nearly chest-high soybean fields determined to yank out or cut down the weed. It was like an army approaching the enemy.

“It’s something everyone is kind of scared of – and should be,” said John Barker, Knox County Extension educator. “It’s a nasty weed.”

Before the slashing, they consulted Loux.

“They looked at me and said, ‘What are our options?’ I said, ‘You’re going to have to pull it all out. You’ll regret it if you don’t.’ ”

Palmer amaranth is not native to Ohio. It entered Ohio fields through manure from local livestock that were fed contaminated cottonseed products from the South, as well as through farm equipment previously used on a contaminated field. The weed is far less common in Ohio than waterhemp or other troublesome weeds, including giant ragweed and marestail, but farmers particularly loathe Palmer amaranth. The weed can grow up to 3 inches a day, and since one plant can produce so many seeds, if you don’t pluck it out in time, it will spread.

Last year some soybean fields had to be mowed down in early August because Palmer amaranth took over the fields, Loux said.

“These are weeds that if you miss your timing for fighting them, you’re done,” Loux said.

Since it was first spotted in Ohio in 2009, Palmer amaranth has been found in 25 of Ohio’s 88 counties, Loux said. Five years ago, Palmer amaranth was reported in only one.

More widespread in Ohio, waterhemp is probably in every county in the state, but is especially prevalent in the west-central region near the Indiana border, Loux said.

“It’s taken off in different areas, and more people have issues with it,” he said.

Since both waterhemp and Palmer amaranth have developed a resistance to pesticides that have been used on them, farmers need to alternate the weed killers they use. Both can withstand glyphosate, one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States, and also ALS-inhibiting weed killers. Waterhemp is also starting to develop resistance to PPO-inhibiting herbicides.

“People find an herbicide that works and they don’t change it,” Loux said. “That’s one of the things that we’re trying to tell them: ‘You’re going to have to rotate the herbicides you use.’ ”



by: Peggy Kirk Hall, Asst. Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an agreement with Monsanto, BASF and DuPont to change dicamba registration and labeling beginning with the 2018 growing season. EPA reports that the agreement was a voluntary measure taken by the manufacturers to minimize the potential of dicamba drift from “over the top” applications on genetically engineered soybeans and cotton, a recurring problem that has led to a host of regulatory and litigation issues across the Midwest and South. The upcoming changes might alleviate dicamba drift issues, but they also raise new concerns for farmers who will have more responsibility for dicamba applications.

The following registration and labeling changes for dicamba use on GE soybeans and cotton will occur in 2018 as a result of the agreement:

  • Dicamba products will be classified as “restricted use” products for over the top applications. Only those who are certified through the state pesticide certification program or operating under the supervision of a certified applicator may apply the product. Training for pesticide certification will now include information specific to dicamba use and application, and applicators will be required to maintain records on the use of dicamba products.
  • The maximum wind speed for applications will reduce from 15 mph to 10 mph.
  • There will also be greater restrictions on the times during the day when applications can occur, but details are not yet available on those restrictions.
  • Tank clean-out instructions for the prevention of cross contamination will be on the label.
  • The label will also include language that will heighten the awareness of application risk to sensitive crops.

Farmers should note that the additional restrictions and information on dicamba labels shifts more responsibility for the product onto the applicator.  An applicator must take special care to follow the additional label instructions, as going “off label” subjects an applicator to higher risk. If drift occurs because of the failure to follow the label, the applicator is likely to be liable to the injured party for resulting harm and may also face civil penalties. Producers should take care to assess the new dicamba labels closely when the manufacturers issue the revised labels for 2018.

From the Ag Law Blog (


Palmer Amaranth – IT’S HERE!

Palmer Amaranth has been found in multiple fields in Knox County, in Richland County (just north of the County line) and in Delaware County. IT’S HERE!!!

While we must remain vigilant to prevent more weed seeds from entering Knox County, we now must also focus on preventing the spread of this invasive and devastating weed.

Glyphosate-resistant waterhemp has also been found in Knox County! As harvest continues, “keep on the look-out” for these weeds. Harvest is a good time to evaluate the “weed bank” you have in each field. Don’t forget to check field borders and fence rows. Contact the Extension Office (740-397-0401) if you have any questions or if you come across a weed that you need help identifying. Remember, weed seeds are easily spread within a field and from field to field during harvest.


Alion labeled for blueberry, caneberry and hops


Use on blueberry has been established at least one year. Bushes must be vigorous and exhibiting normal growth. Avoid application to areas where roots are exposed or low areas where the herbicide could move into the blueberry root zone. Do not use Alion on soils classed as sand or soils with more than 20 percent gravel.

For soils with less than 1 percent organic matter, the application rate is 3.5 fluid ounces (0.045 pounds active ingredient) per acre, with a maximum of 7 fluid ounces per year in two applications. On soils with more than 1 percent organic matter, the application rate is 5 fluid ounces (0.065 pounds active ingredient) per acre, with a maximum of 10 fluid ounces per year in two applications.

Apply Alion when the plants are dormant, from late fall through early spring before bud swell. Alion should be applied to the soil on both sides of the row.


Use on caneberry has been established at least one year. Do not apply to soil classed as sand or on soils containing more than 20 percent gravel. On soils with less than 1 percent organic matter, use up to 3.5 fluid ounces of Alion and a maximum of 7 fluid ounces in two applications per acre per year. On soils with more than 1 percent organic matter, apply up to 5 fluid ounces with a maximum of 10 fluid ounces in two applications per year.

Apply when plants are dormant in late fall or early spring before bud swell. Apply to soil at base of canes.


Use on hops has been established at least one year, and that are growing normally with good vigor. Do not apply Alion to soils classed as sand or contain more than 20 percent gravel. On soils with less than 1 percent organic matter, use 3.5 fluid ounces per acre with a maximum of 7 fluid ounces per acre per year. On soils with more than 1 percent organic matter, use up to 5 fluid ounces with a maximum of 10 fluid ounces per acre per year.

Apply in early spring or fall after vine harvest. In spring, Alion may be applied on hops in the bud stage with shoots up to 2 inches in length. Apply in a 2-foot band on each side of the row.

Download the label at CDMS.