Yellow Fields Forever

By: Jow Boggs, OSU Extension Educator

Originally posted on Buckeye Yard and Garden onLine- May 18, 2019

Cressleaf Groundsel

The dichotomous nature of cressleaf groundsel (a.k.a. butterweed) (Packera glabella; syn. Senecio glabellus) tests the tolerance of lovers of native wildflowers.  On one hand, a sea of golden-yellow flowers carpeting farm fields in Ohio provides welcome relief from highway monotony.  On the other hand, upright 2 – 3′ tall plants dominating Ohio landscapes presents a weed management challenge.

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Annual Maple Leaf-Drop

By: Jow Bogs, OSU Extension Educator, Originally posted on Buckeye Yard and Garden Online
Published on
Maple Petiole Borer
Finding large numbers of green leaves littering the ground beneath maple trees wouldn’t be a surprise given the recent high winds and heavy rains over much of Ohio.  However, you should take a second look at this time of the year for short petioles on the shed leaves and broken petioles remaining attached to the tree.  Both are tell-tale symptoms of the maple petiole borer (Caulocampus acericaulis).

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Cutting Height in Forages: How Low Can You Go?

– Dwane Miller, Penn State Extension Educator, Agronomy

Whether you’re taking the crop as haylage or dry hay, it’s important to pay attention to forage cutting height. One of our goals as farmers is to maximize our yield; however, cutting a crop too low can lead to several negative issues. The introduction of the disk-type mowers (discbines) allows for cutting very close to the ground. I’ve seen many fields that have been “scalped” right to ground level. This differs considerably from the older sickle bar mowers (haybines), whose technology required that some level of stubble height remain. Stand longevity can be compromised when the crop is cut too low. As a general rule, alfalfa can be cut closer to the ground than our grass crops. We need to think about where energy reserves are stored in the crop. For alfalfa, carbohydrates are stored below the ground in the taproot. Grasses store their energy above ground in the stem base or tillers. Frequent mowing at a close height will continue to deplete these energy reserves, resulting in stand longevity issues.

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Control Pasture Weeds Now

Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Noble County

With the combination of sunny warm days and more than adequate rainfall received so far in May, grasses and legumes in our hayfields are beginning to flower. Which means, according to our knowledge of grass maturity and forage quality, it’s already time to make hay. If the weather will cooperate, that is.

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Emergency Forages for Planting Early to Mid-Summer

Dr. Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University
Dr. Bill Weiss, Dairy Nutrionist, The Ohio State University

Many forage stands were damaged this past winter, and the wet spring has further deteriorated stands that appeared they might recover. It is now too risky to try to establish perennial forages, with the warmer summer weather at our doorstep. We should wait until August to establish perennial stands. Meanwhile, what options can we consider for growing forage this year?





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Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as it Applies to Soil Moisture

Source: Dr. Bob Nielsen, Purdue University (Edited)



While Dr. Nielsen wrote this for Indiana, it unfortunately fits Ohio this year also.


Suitability of the soil moisture and whether a field is “fit” for field work and planting is partially “in the eyes of the beholder”, but is also subject to the “laws of relativity” and calendar date. Use your best judgement.

The bad news is that Monday’s USDA-NASS crop progress report estimated that only 6% of Indiana’s corn (4% of Ohio’s Corn) had been planted as of May 12, which puts our farmers in the unenviable position of suffering through the slowest planting progress EVER for this point in May. Nationally, only 30% of the corn crop was estimated to be planted as of May 12, compared with the most recent 5-year average progress of 66%. With more rain moving through the state late this week, let me offer a contrarian (if not “tongue in cheek”) view about soil moisture and planting.

The superintendent of our Purdue Agronomy Farm and I commiserate every planting season when it comes to deciding when the soil is “fit” to work or plant. We scuff the surface of the fields in mid-April, dig a few spadefuls of soil, squeeze the soil into a ball like the soil scientists tell us to do, and then agree that the soil is too wet to work or plant.

Around the first of May, we scuff the surface of the fields, dig a few spadefuls of soil, squeeze the soil into a ball like the soil scientists tell us to do, and then agree that the soil is too wet to work or plant.

Again in mid-May, we scuff the surface of the fields, dig a few spadefuls of soil, squeeze the soil into a ball like the soil scientists tell us to do, and then agree that the soil is maybe just about right to work or plant, but we’ll give it a few more days.

By late May, we scuff the surface of the fields, dig a few spadefuls of soil, squeeze the soil into a ball like the soil scientists tell us to do, and then agree that the soil is just as wet as it was back in mid-April, but maybe we ought to be working ground and planting anyway.

Einstein was right…………it’s all about relativity.

The point of my sharing this annual ritual with you is that we are rapidly approaching the point in the planting season where we need to “fish or cut bait”. Yes, there are risks of working ground too wet or planting “on the wet side” (see articles below), but there are also risks of waiting so long for the soil to become “fit” to begin planting that the majority of your corn ground gets planted way too late.

Heaven forbid that I should recommend anyone to work ground or plant corn in soils that are wet enough to cause severe compaction that will haunt you later this summer. But, you know, when you decide back in mid-April to wait, you’ve got quite a bit of good planting season left to go. When you decide in mid-May to wait AND you have a lot of acres to cover, what you save by avoiding some soil compaction now may be less than what you risk by planting the bulk of your corn acres very, very late.

If you concur with these thoughts and decide to “mud in” your corn and suffer serious yield losses; then you did not hear it from me. If you “pull the trigger” now and successfully avoid planting the bulk of your corn in mid-June and win the yield jackpot; then I’ll accept all the credit.

There are no black & white answers to this situation, there are no silver bullets, and there are no certainties in farming. Use your best judgement in deciding when to head back to the fields over the coming days and/or weeks. You know your fields and soils better than anyone else.

It’s All About the Weed Seedbank – Part 1: Where Has All the Marestail Gone?

Source: Mark Loux

For the second year in a row, we are scrounging to find enough marestail at the OARDC Western Ag Station to conduct the research we had planned on this weed.  After years of having plenty of marestail, we have had to look around for off-site fields where there is still a high enough population.  Which, since we are scientists after all, or at least make our best attempts, left us thinking about reasons for the lack of marestail, and our overall marestail situation, and seedbanks.

While the short game in weed management is about getting good enough control to prevent weeds from being a yield-limiting factor and interfering with harvest, the long game is about preventing seed production and managing the soil seedbank.  One of the characteristics shared by marestail, giant ragweed, and the nasty pigweeds, waterhemp and Palmer amaranth, is a rapid decline in seed viability in the soil within the first year, and an overall decline to 5% or less viable seed within 3 to 4 years.  Another characteristic of marestail and pigweed seed is a relative lack of dormancy, which results in the potential for an almost immediate increase in population the year following a year of substantial escapes and seed production.  How big that increase is depends upon how many plants go to seed and how many seeds are produced per plant, with the potential of up to about 200,000 seeds per marestail plant and one million per waterhemp or Palmer amaranth plant.  The net result of these two characteristics, though, is that these weeds can ramp up population fast following a year of poor control, but populations can also decline rapidly with good control that prevents seed.

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Delayed Planting Effects on Corn Yield: A “Historical” Perspective

According to the USDA/NASS, for the week ending May 5, only 2% of Ohio’s projected corn acreage was planted – compared to 20% last year and 27% for the five-year average. Persistent rains and saturated soil conditions have delayed corn planting. The weather forecast this week indicates the likelihood of more rain, so it is probable that many soggy fields may not dry out soon.

Long-term research by universities and seed companies across the Corn Belt gives us a pretty good idea of planting date effects on relative yield potential. The recommended time for planting corn in northern Ohio is April 15 to May 10 and in southern Ohio, April 10 to May 10. In the central Corn Belt, estimated yield loss per day with delayed planting varies from about 0.3% per day early in May to about 1% per day by the end of May (Nielsen, 2019). These yield losses can be attributed to a number of factors including a shorter growing season, greater disease and insect pressure and higher risk of hot, dry conditions during pollination.

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Managing Big, Wet Cover Crops

Source: Dr. Mark Loux, OSU Extension

Managing cover crops in a year like this can challenge even those with the most experience.  A few suggestions regarding termination of covers:

  • Increase glyphosate rates to compensate for larger size, and consider applying alone or just with Sharpen.  Mixing glyphosate with other herbicides or ATS can reduce its activity on grass covers, especially when large.  Herbicides that can antagonize glyphosate include 2,4-D, metribuzin, atrazine, and flumioxazin and sulfentrazone products.  Sharpen has not caused a reduction in glyphosate activity on grass covers in university research.  One approach would be to apply the glyphosate or glyphosate/Sharpen first, wait a few days, and then apply residual herbicides.

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