Maple Bootcamp and Maple Grading Workshop

Maple Enthusiasts!  We would like to draw your attention to a couple of upcoming programs being offered by our partners at Penn State University.  The two workshops are listed below with links to the registration page for each.

First, we are offering a maple grading workshop on September 6th


Second, it is Penn State’s turn to host Maple Bootcamp.  The camp will run from September 6th – 8th  and cover all things maple.


These are being offered as part of a USDA ACER grant between Penn State, Ohio State and Future Generations university.








What’s so Critical about Fall Cutting?

Amber Friedrichsen, Associate Editor, Hay and Forage Grower
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: August 29, 2023)

The critical fall period for alfalfa has been said to start about six weeks before the first killing frost, which is roughly around the first week of September for most of the Midwest. This hard stop in harvest schedules is supposed to ensure plants store enough energy in their roots to survive the winter, but with improved alfalfa varieties, variable stand conditions, and warmer weather patterns, how critical can this period really be?

Despite heat indices recently reaching the triple digits in some parts of the Central U.S., temperatures will likely calm down as we flip the calendar from August to September. The sun is also setting noticeably earlier each day, and the combination of milder temperatures and shorter day lengths sends a signal to alfalfa to prepare for fall dormancy.





Continue reading What’s so Critical about Fall Cutting?

Pricing profitably: Direct-to-consumer meat sales have the potential to increase farm revenue

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter
(Previously published online with Ohio’s Country Journal: August 27, 2023)

The input costs to farm have been continually rising for many years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) February 2023 Farm Sector Income forecast projected total farm production expenses in 2023 at nearly $500 billion, up 4% from the prior year, but up $87 billion, or more than 28%, from 2020. For those raising livestock, looking outside of the typical commodity markets and focusing on direct-to-consumer meat sales may be an opportunity to increase revenue.




Continue reading Pricing profitably: Direct-to-consumer meat sales have the potential to increase farm revenue

Field Observations Thru August 25


Growth & Development

Last week I highlighted the R3 (milk) growth stage.  R4 is the next stage, occurring approximately 26 days after silking.

R4 – Dough

  • This stage is about 26 days after silking.


  • The kernel has thickened to a pasty (doughy) consistency from the earlier milky state (starch has continued to accumulate and kernel moisture content has decreased).
  • The embryo of the seed is growing while the kernels are just beginning to dry at the top (dent).
  • Kernels have accumulated 50 percent of their dry weight and have about 70 percent moisture.
  • Unfavorable environmental conditions or nutrient deficiencies still can result in unfilled kernels and “chaffy” ears.


Disease pressure throughout the county continues to be very low. Continue to scout for:

Chaffy Ears

  • Foliar diseases
  • Weed escapes (especially Palmer and Waterhemp)
  • Head smut
  • European corn borer
  • Barren stalks, poor pollination
  • Nutrient deficiencies



Growth & Development

Soybeans are continuing to mature.  Recent rains will help with seed fill.  Last week I highlighted the R5 (Beginning Seed) growth stage.  R6 is the next stage, occurring approximately 10 days after R4.

R6 – Full Seed

R6 Full seed

Pod containing a green seed that fills the pod cavity at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed leaf


  • Beans of many sizes can be found on the plant
  • Total plant pod weight is maximized
  • Large amounts of nitrogen are still being accumulated from the soil and remobilized to the seed
  • Root growth is complete between R6 and R7.


As you continue to scout your bean fields, look for

  • Foliar diseases – Sudden Death Syndrome, White Mold, and Frogeye Leaf Spot.
  • Insect feeding – Grasshoppers.
  • Weed escapes (especially Palmer and Waterhemp).

Click here for tips on identifying pigweed, palmer and waterhemp.

County Rainfall Update

The Ag Law Roundup: your legal questions answered

Source: Peggy Hall, OSU Extension

Is a tree service business considered “agriculture” for purposes of Ohio rural zoning?

No, tree trimming and tree cutting activities are not listed in the definition of agriculture in Ohio’s rural zoning laws, although the definition does include the growing of timber and ornamental trees. The definition ties to the “agricultural exemption” and activities that are in the “agriculture” definition can be exempt from county and township zoning.  Here is the definition, from Ohio Revised Code sections 303.01 and 519.01:

“agriculture” includes farming; ranching; algaculture meaning the farming of algae; aquaculture; apiculture; horticulture; viticulture; animal husbandry, including, but not limited to, the care and raising of livestock, equine, and fur-bearing animals; poultry husbandry and the production of poultry and poultry products; dairy production; the production of field crops, tobacco, fruits, vegetables, nursery stock, ornamental shrubs, ornamental trees, flowers, sod, or mushrooms; timber; pasturage; any combination of the foregoing; and the processing, drying, storage, and marketing of agricultural products when those activities are conducted in conjunction with, but are secondary to, such husbandry or production.

What are the benefits of being enrolled in the “agricultural district program” in Ohio, and is there a penalty for withdrawing from the program?

There are three benefits to enrolling farmland in the agricultural district program:

  1. The first is the nuisance protection it offers a landowner.  A landowner can use the defense the law provides if a neighbor who moves in after the farm was established files a lawsuit claiming the farm is a “nuisance” due to noise, odors, dust, etc.  Successfully raising the defense and showing that the farm meets the legal requirements for being agricultural district land would cause the lawsuit to be dismissed.
  2. The second benefit is that the law also exempts agricultural district land from assessments for water, sewer and electric line service extensions that would cross the land.  As long as the land remains in agricultural district program, the landowner would not be subject to the assessments.  But if the land is changed to another use or the landowner withdraws the land from the agricultural district program, assessments would be due.  The assessment exemption does not apply to a homestead on the farmland, however.
  3. A third benefit of the agricultural district program law is that it requires an evaluation at the state level if agricultural district land is subject to an eminent domain action that would affect at least 10 acres or 10% of the land.  In that case, the Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture must be notified of the eminent domain project and must assess the situation to determine the effect of the eminent domain on agricultural production and program policies.  Both the Director and the Governor may take actions if the eminent domain would create an unreasonably adverse effect.

Continue reading The Ag Law Roundup: your legal questions answered

OSU Extension Bi-Weekly Fruit & Vegetable Report – August 17th, 2023

he OSU Extension Fruit & Vegetable Report is written/published collectively by OSU Extension staff across the state.

Tillage Options for Annual Vegetables

Different kinds of tillage equipment vary widely in their level of soil disturbance. Some tools work the ground to a fine tilth for planting, while others cause minimal disturbance or target only the area where the crop will be planted. Certain vegetable crops succeed better with certain tillage types than others. The following will provide a brief rundown on several common tillage systems and their respective benefits and drawbacks.

Conventional tillage consists of a primary tillage event to turn over the soil and provide a basis for further secondary tillage that is used to further chop and bury vegetation/residues and prepare the seed bed. A moldboard plow is one of the most common types of primary tillage, inverting the topsoil and fully burying surface vegetation. A chisel plow can also be used for primary (as well as secondary) tillage and involves fracturing the subsoil using shanks tipped with chisel points in a way that does not turn over the topsoil. Secondary tillage implements include a disc harrow, which uses steel discs to slice up soil clumps, weeds, and residue. Newer high-speed discs perform better at faster operating speeds compared to traditional types.


Tillage equipment uses a variety of tools to fracture and mix the soil as well as chop and bury residues. Top to bottom – chisel plow, vertical tillage implement, high speed disc, and strip till unit. Photos by Chris Galbraith, OSU Extension. 

Continue reading OSU Extension Bi-Weekly Fruit & Vegetable Report – August 17th, 2023

Characteristics of Beginning Farmers in Ohio and Potential Impact of the Ohio Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program

By: PhD students Xiaoyi Fang and Zhining Sun and Professor Ani Katchova, Farm Income Enhancement Chair, in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE), and Chris Zoller, Associate Professor and Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension – Tuscarawas County

Click here to access the PDF version of this article that includes figures



  • Ohio’s new and beginning farmers are individuals who intend to enter the farming industry or have less than ten years of experience as a farm owner/operator in Ohio.
  • Ohio’s new and beginning farmers compared to established farmers, tend to be younger, operate smaller farms, and less likely to state farming as their primary occupation.
  • The Ohio Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program supports new and beginning farmers by providing income tax credits to: 1) beginning farmers who attend a financial management program, and 2) landowners that sell or rent farmland to beginning farmers.

Continue reading Characteristics of Beginning Farmers in Ohio and Potential Impact of the Ohio Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program

Mineral Supplementation on Pasture

– Ted Wiseman, OSU Extension, Perry County (originally published in Farm & Dairy)

Grazing livestock require minerals to promote growth, milk production and several metabolic functions. How do we know that our mineral program is adequate to meet the needs of our grazing livestock? In previous articles we have stressed the importance of analyzing hay samples for winter feeding. But how many of us have sampled our pastures for nutrient content? We know that magnesium in early spring is important to prevent grass tetany, but what about the rest of the year?

Continue reading Mineral Supplementation on Pasture

Weed of the week – Cocklebur

Every year it seems as if we have one weed that that hasn’t really been a problem for a while suddenly pop up everywhere.  This year Cocklebur wins the 2023 award for Comeback Weed of the Year!

Family:  Asteraceae (Composite family)

Life cycle:  Annual

Description: Erect plant reaching heights of 6 to 7 ft.  Stems are rough with dark spots.  Leaves are rough, triangular in shape with wavy or toothed margins and long petioles.  Inconspicuous flowers produce egg-shaped burs with two beaks at end. Seedling has long, fleshy cotyledons.

Seedlings:  The stem below the cotyledons (hypocotyl) is purple at the base and often green in the upper portion. Cotyledons are linear to oblong in outline, waxy, smooth, fleshy, thick, approximately 3/4 to1 3/4 inches long and usually no more than 1/2 inch wide. The first true leaves are opposite, while all subsequent leaves are alternate.

Roots:  Taproot

Stem: Mature stems are green, 1-4 ft. tall, highly branched, hairy, and flecked with maroon to black spots.  Ridges are present on the stem.  Upright hairs cause leaves to feel abrasive and gritty.

Leaves:  The first true leaves are opposite, all subsequent leaves are alternate. Leaves are triangular to ovate in outline, have stiff hairs, and are approximately 2 to 6 inches long. Leave are irregularly lobed with leaf margins that have relatively inconspicuous teeth. Leaves occur on long petioles and also have three prominent veins on the upper surface of the leaf that arise from the same point.

Flower/Seedhead:  Inconspicuous, greenish in color, arising from the area between the leaf petioles and the stems (axillary flowers) and at the ends of the erect stems (terminal flowers).

Special Identifying Characteristics:  The relatively large, linear to oblong waxy cotyledons helps to distinguish this weed in the early stages of development.  Additionally, the long-petioled triangular leaves, stems with maroon to black stem lesions, and the distinctive prickly cocklebur fruit are all features that help in the identification of this weed.In the early stages of development, this weed might be confused with Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida), however the cotyledons of common cocklebur are much longer and more linear than those of giant ragweed. Spiny Cocklebur (Xanthium spinosum) is a closely related and similar species, however, unlike common cocklebur, this weed has very distinctive 3-parted spines that arise at the base of each leaf.

If you have a dog, you will now if you have cocklebur!