Field Observations Thru May 26


Most of our first cutting is complete.  If you have not mowed yet continue to monitor for alfalfa weevil.  As regrowth starts begin to monitor for potato leafhopper.


What a difference a week makes.  Most of our corn is now planted and about 50% has emerged.


Soil Crusting

Soil crusting is still an issue.  Continue to scout for emergence problems.  A few fields saw a return of the rotary hoe to help break the crust and aid in crop emergence.


Like corn, bean planting is coming to an end.  Soil crusting is also an issue in many of our bean fields. Continue to scout these fields for emergence problems.  Read more here.


Slug damage was a problem early in a few fields.  The forecasted warm and dry weather should help to eliminate this problem.



Scout for disease and insects:

Cereal Leaf Beetle Scouting Information

Powdery Mildew Scouting information

Head Scab Scouting Information

Most of our wheat is nearing a time when a decision must be made.  All of the wheat fields that I have looked at are showing no signs of disease pressure.  Here are some factors to consider

  1. No existing disease pressure
  2. The head scab forecast system is showing a very low chance of scab
  3. Fungicide cost can range from $12 – $18/acre plus application charges
  4. New crop wheat price is hovering around $6.20/bushel
  5. The 6 – 10 day precipitation outlook is for below normal rainfall and mild temperatures.


Spring Weather & Soil Conditions: Update

Source: Aaron Wilson, OSU Extension

Soil Temperatures and Moisture
Air temperatures in Ohio ran 2-5°F below average over the last 7 days. In fact, locations across northwest and northeast Ohio fell below freezing on the morning of May 18th, with unofficial reports as low as 26°F in Sandusky County. Daily average soil temperatures cooled late last week with the colder temperatures but have rebounded back into the low 60s across the north and mid 60s for central and southern locations (Figure 1).

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Figure 1: Daily average air temperature (dashed red), two-inch (green) and four-inch (blue) soil temperatures for spring 2023. Soil type and location of measurements (under sod or bare soil) are provided in the lower right corner of each panel. A map of all locations is in the bottom right. Data provided by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Agricultural Research Stations located throughout the state.

Two main paths of showers and storms dropped 1-2” of rain this past week over portions of west central to north central Ohio, as well as counties in eastern Ohio and along the Ohio River (Figure 2-left). Despite this rainfall, the western half of the Buckeye State is running 50-75% of normal precipitation over the last 30 days. Cool conditions have kept evaporation at a minimum however, and soil moisture remains adequate across the state (Figure 2-right). For more complete weather records for CFAES research stations, including temperature, precipitation, growing degree days, and other useful weather observations, please visit

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Figure 2: (Left) Total precipitation over the 7-day period of 8am May 15 – 8am May 22, 2023. Figure provided by the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (Right) Calculated soil moisture percentiles as of 5/20/2023 according to the Climate Prediction Center.

Weather Forecast
High pressure will dominate the forecast this week, with very few opportunities for rain across the region. A few light scattered showers may brush the state on Tuesday, then again on Friday and Saturday with a passing system coming up the east coast. Most of the state will remain dry with only up to 0.10” expected for the southeastern half of the state (Figure 3). Temperatures will remain mild as well, with highs mostly in the 70s to low 80s and overnight lows in the 40s and 50s.

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Figure 3). Precipitation forecast from the Weather Prediction Center for 8pm Monday May 22  – 8pm Monday May 29, 2023.


Figure 4) Climate Prediction Center 6-10 Day Outlook valid for May 28  – June 1, 2023, for left) temperatures and right) precipitation. Colors represent the probability of below, normal, or above normal conditions.

Farmer sentiment improves; less pessimism over interest rates

Source: James Mintert and Michael Langemeier, Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture

Farmer sentiment improved modestly in April as the Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer reversed a two-month decline up 6 points to a reading of 123. Both the Index of Current Conditions and the Index of Future Expectations improved in April with the biggest rise taking place in future expectations. The Current Conditions Index rose 3 points to 129 while the Index of Future Expectations rose 7 points to 120. When asked to look ahead one year, more producers said they expect to be better off financially than now with fewer respondents expecting conditions to worsen compared to both a month earlier and one year earlier. This month’s survey was conducted from April 10-14, 2023.

The Farm Financial Performance Index rose 7 points in April to 93, matching the index’s January reading. The prime interest rate charged by U.S. commercial banks increased from 7.75% in January to 8% in late March and a shift in farmers’ expectations regarding future Federal Reserve Board interest rate policy could be one reason the financial performance index improved this month. Compared to earlier in the year, fewer producers expect interest rates to rise over the next year and more producers think rates are likely to hold steady or even decline. This month 34% of respondents said they expect the U.S. prime interest rate to remain unchanged or decline over the next year compared to 25% of producers who felt that way in February. At the same time, two-thirds (66%) of producers expect interest rates to keep rising, compared to 75% of respondents who felt that way in February. The biggest shift was among respondents expecting rates to rise 1 to 2% in the next year which declined to 37% of respondents in April vs. 43% of respondents in February.

Figure 2. Indices of Current Conditions and Future Expectations, October 2015-April 2023.
Figure 2. Indices of Current Conditions and Future Expectations, October 2015-April 2023.
Figure 3. Farm Financial Performance Index, April 2018-April 2023.
Figure 3. Farm Financial Performance Index, April 2018-April 2023.

Continue reading

To Spray Or Not To Spray?

Head Scab Forecasting System Click here to enlarge

Most of our wheat is nearing a time when a decision must be made –

To spray or not to spray?!  

Fungicide costs can range from $12 to $18 per acre plus application cost.  Today’s new crop wheat is hovering around $6.20 per bushel.

All of the wheat fields that I have looked at are showing no signs of disease pressure.  The head scab forecast system is showing a very low chance of scab and the 6 – 10 day precipitation outlook is for below normal rainfall and mild temperatures.  These factors are not conducive to disease development.

Below are additional thoughts from Dr. Pierce Paul and Dr. Kelley Tillman from this week’s C.O.R.N. Newsletter.

Fungicide and Insecticide at Flowering: Is This Really Warranted?

The wheat crop is flowering or will soon begin to flower in southern and central Ohio. Flowering will continue in the northern half of the state over the next two weeks. This is the growth stage as which the crop is most susceptible to infection by Fusarium graminearum, the fungus that causes head scab. Consequently, questions are being asked about applying a fungicide at flowering to control head scab, and at the same time, mixing in an insecticide to control cereal leaf beetle. According to the scab forecasting system (, the risk for head scab development has been low across the state over the past week. This is likely due, at least in part, to the cool, relatively dry conditions we have experienced across most of the state. The extended forecast suggests that dry (rain-free) conditions will persist over the next week or so.

Warm and consistently wet or humid conditions are required for head scab to develop. In fact, humid/wet conditions are also necessary for the development of most of the other economically important diseases of wheat such as SeptoriaStagonospora, and rust. When conditions are as consistently dry as they have been over the last few weeks, fungicides are not warranted. However, do continue to monitor the weather, and if it begins to rain, use the scab forecasting system to determine if the risk for scab is increasing as the crop continues to flower in the northern half of the state.

We specifically do not recommend tank-mixing an insecticide with a fungicide application if the insect populations do not legitimately warrant it.  Not only will it kill pollinators, but it also can eliminate the beneficial parasitic insects that attack cereal leaf beetle.  Insecticide is warranted for cereal leaf beetle control if there are 3 larvae per stem up to the boot stage, followed by a threshold of 1 larva per stem or flag leaf at boot stage and thereafter.  As the wheat begins to mature and grain fill has progressed, the need for spraying diminishes as it will not provide a return on investment.

Field Observations Thru May 19

Throughout the growing season I will post information on different pests or issues I am seeing in our fields in Knox County.

We are making a lot of planting progress this week.  Maybe not the most ideal conditions, but, we are getting seeds in the ground!  Below are a some to observations to keep an eye on.


Not many changes this week, continue to scout fields for Alfalfa Weevil.

Click here for Alfalfa Weevil Scouting Guide




Soil Crusting

When heavy rains occur after planting, soil crusting can become a concern, inducing a shallow hard layer on the soil surface that forms due to rapid drying (e.g., warm days and wind).  This can affect seedling emergence.  Click here for more information.

Planting Depth

Occasionally check and verify planting depth.  When we get in a hurry sometimes we let a few things slide.  Improper planting depth can haunt you later in the season.

Plant Stand

Most of our early planted corn has emerged.

Now is a good time to take a few stand counts to evaluate your plant stand.  For 30 inch rows, measure 17′ 5″ and count the number of plants.  Multiply the number of plants you count by 1,000 to determine your plant stand.  Click here for more information.  Plant Stand Table

Click here to read the following post from OSU Agronomists Osler Ortez, Laura Lindsey, Alexander Lindsey


Same story as corn.  Check for emergence issues, planting depth and stand counts for early planted beans.  Check back next week for more detailed information on these issues.


Continue to scout wheat, especially if you are considering a fungicide application.  More information can be found in this post.

Wheat Growth and Development – Feekes 10.2 – 10.5

Today managing your wheat crop requires knowledge of the different growth stages of the plant.  Growth stage identification is critical for scouting and proper timing of fertilizer and pesticide applications.  Each week throughout the rest of the growing season I will discuss the various wheat growth stages I am seeing in our wheat fields and management issues at each stage.  Today I will focus on the heading stages Feekes 10.2 through Feekes 10.5 .

FEEKES 10.1-10.5 – HEADING 

Figure 1. Wheat flag leaf, ligule, awns and head at Feekes 10.5.


Heading marks the emergence of the wheat head from the leaf sheath of the flag leaf, and is subdivided into stages based on how much of the head has emerged.

Stage 10.5 is shown in Figure 1.




  • 10.1    Awns visible, head beginning to emerge through slit of flag leaf sheath.
  • 10.2    Heading one-quarter complete.
  • 10.3    Heading one-half complete.
  • 10.4    Heading three-quarters complete.
  • 10.5    Heading complete.

If you need a reminder on how to determine the different heading growth stages, watch this video.


Scout for insects, weeds, and diseases. A fungicide application may be considered to protect heads from scab.

Check fungicide label for pre harvest interval restrictions and proper growth stage for application.

Click here to go to an earlier post containing the 2023 Wheat Fungicide Ratings.