SPRING ROLLER COASTER RIDE COMING

Source:  Jim Noel (Edited)

It is spring and with it often comes wild swings. This is what we expect for the rest of April 2019.

A parade of storms will begin later this Thursday (4/11) into Friday (4/12) and follow every 3-5 days. This will cause 2-3 inches of rain on average for Ohio the next two weeks as shown in the attached graphic. Normal rainfall is now almost 1 inch per week. Hence, slightly above normal rainfall is expected. The one exception could be northern and northwest Ohio where it is possible to see less rainfall depending on the exact storm tracks.

We are also fast approaching our end of the freeze season typically in mid April up to around the 20th for much of the state. Some places in the north it can be late April. Right now, everything looks like a normal end to the freeze season. We do see the possibility of another freeze this weekend on Sunday AM especially north of I-70. A few more could happen into the next week or two before coming to an end.

Temperatures are expected to overall be slightly above normal for the rest the rest of April but with wild swings. This should help bring 2-4 inch soil temperatures into the normal range, possibly a degree or so above normal. The exception would be northern Ohio where above normal ice levels this past winter on the Great Lakes will keep water temperatures on the Lakes lagging and may keep air temperatures closer to normal there.

With all the storms lined up, we do expect a windy April as well. Winds of 30-40 mph with gust to 50 mph can not be ruled out Thursday (4/11) or Friday (4/12) this week with storm number one. 30-40 mph winds will also be possible with the storm later Sunday into next Monday and can not be ruled out with the third storm later next week.

After a wetter April indications are for a warmer and not as wet May with the possibility of normal or even a bit below normal rainfall.

Early indications for the summer growing season are normal or slightly above normal temperatures and possibly a bit wetter than normal though June could be a bit drier.

Nitrogen Application Timing for Weak Wheat Stands

Source: Ed Lentz, OSU Extension

Late-planted wheat fields had little opportunity for growth before cold and wet conditions moved into the area last November. Fall tiller production was limited because of early cold weather soon after planting. In addition, some wheat stands have been damaged this winter from lack of snow cover, standing water, saturated soils, ice sheets, and days of very cold temperatures.

In these situations, producers have asked whether they should apply nitrogen earlier to increase the number of spring tillers. Keep in mind, it is fall tillers that provide most of the yield in a wheat field. Heads developing from spring tillers generally are much smaller than heads from fall tillers.

In northern climates, the vegetative period of growth is much shorter than the other wheat regions of the country; thus, plants have a much shorter time to recover from winter damage. From my experience, producers will have limited success in improving yields of poor stands and stands with reduced-growth by applying nitrogen earlier. A producer may get a few more spring heads, but not enough to significantly change the yield situation. The earlier application will also significantly increase the risk of nitrogen loss. In fact, a producer may need to readjust their yield potential for these fields and reduce their total nitrogen rate accordingly.

Wheat does not need large amounts of nitrogen until jointing (Feekes GS 6), generally the latter part of April. Soil organic matter and/or nitrogen applied at planting generally provide sufficient nitrogen for early spring growth. Ohio research has shown no yield advantage for nitrogen applied before jointing. The longer the time between nitrogen application and jointing, the greater the risk for nitrogen loss. Nitrogen source will also affect the potential for loss. Urea-ammonium nitrate (28%) has the greatest potential for loss, ammonium sulfate the least, and urea would be somewhere between the two other sources.

Ohio research has also shown that yield losses may occur from nitrogen applied prior to green-up regardless of the nitrogen source. The level of loss depends on the year (losses would be smaller if the ground is not frozen or snow/ice covered). This same research did not observe a yield increase from applications made prior to green-up any year compared to green-up or Feekes GS 6 applications.  Keep in mind that green-up is a descriptive term and not a definable growth stage. My definition of green-up is when the new growth of spring has covered the dead tissue from winter giving the field a solid green color – thus, growing plants.

There is a legitimate concern that wet weather may prevent application of nitrogen at early stem elongation. Ohio research has shown a yield decrease may occur when nitrogen application is delayed until Feekes Growth Stage 9 (flag leaf fully emerged). Thus a practical compromise is to topdress nitrogen any time fields are suitable for application after initial green-up to Feekes GS 6. There is still a potential for loss even at green-up applications. To lessen this risk a producer may want to use a nitrogen source that has a lower potential for loss such as urea or ammonium sulfate. ESN (polymer-coated urea) would be another option but it needs to be blended with urea or ammonium sulfate to insure enough nitrogen will be available for the crop between Feekes GS 6 – 9. The source of nitrogen becomes less important as the application date approaches Feekes GS 6 (jointing). The percentage of urea and/or ammonium sulfate would need to be increased with ESN for application times closer to Feekes GS 6. A producer may want to consider the use of a urease inhibitor with urea if conditions are favorable for volatilization losses: warming temperatures, drying winds and no rain in the forecast for 48 hours.

A split application of nitrogen may also be used to spread the risk of nitrogen loss and to improve nitrogen efficiency; however, Ohio State University research has not shown a yield increase from this practice compared to a single application after green-up. In a split system, the first application should be applied no sooner than green-up. A smaller rate should be applied with the first application since little is needed by the crop at that time and the larger rate applied closer to Feekes GS 6.

In summary, some wheat fields look rough coming out of the winter. Applying nitrogen earlier may slightly increase the number of spring heads but probably not enough for a significant yield increase. The earlier application will increase the potential for nitrogen loss. University recommendation would be to topdress nitrogen when fields are suitable for application after initial green-up to early stem elongation.

Wetter Pattern than Normal will Continue into March…and Possibly April

By: Jim Noel

Not a lot of great news in the short-term. The wet pattern so far this year is likely to persist into March as an active weather pattern from the Pacific Ocean moves across the U.S.

In addition, the temperature gradient is amplified more than normal this late winter into early spring meaning colder north and warmer south. This will help fuel the storms and keep things active.

The outlook for March calls for temperatures near or slightly below normal with precipitation above normal.

The outlook through May calls for near normal temperatures and near to above normal rainfall.

The two week rainfall graphic from the NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center calls for 1.5 to 3.0 inches of rain across the state of Ohio. Normal is about 1.5 inches so expect above normal precipitation the next several weeks. The greatest totals the next 2 weeks will be in the southern and western sections of the state. Precipitation will begin to increase starting later this week.

All indications are the last freeze this freeze will be normal or a little later than normal. Hence, expect 2 and 4 inch soil temperatures to lag behind normal at least through April.

On another topic, if you think overall it has been wet, it has. The last 10 years is the wettest on record since 1895 in Ohio. The attached graphic shows the 24-month running average precipitation index for Ohio, provided by the NOAA Midwest Regional Climate Center.  It shows even the drought in 2012 was not enough to turn the index negative for a 24-month period. You have to go back to the 2008/2009 period to see the last time the index was negative. No other time since 1895 has the index been positive for so long. Looking deeper at the data it does show northwest Ohio has seen the index drop briefly negative a few times over the last 10 years while southern areas have been all positive. Bottom line, it has been wet overall for quite a long time now.

Ohio Agricultural Law Blog–In the Weeds: Taking a Closer Look at the Lake Erie Bill of Rights

Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Agricultural and Resource Law Program

If You Are Involved in Agriculture – You Need to Read This!!

Lake Erie once again made headlines when the Ohio Supreme Court recently decided that a “Lake Erie Bill of Rights” (LEBOR) initiative could be placed on the Toledo ballot on February 26, 2019.  The decision raised alarm in Ohio’s agricultural community and fears that, if passed, the measure will result in litigation for farmers in the Lake Erie watershed.

The OSU Extension Agricultural and Resource Law Program took a close look at LEBOR.  Specifically, we wanted to know:

  • What does Toledo’s Lake Erie Bill of Rights petition mean?
  • What does the petition language say?
  • What happened in the legal challenges to keep the petition off the ballot?
  • Have similar efforts been successful, and if not, why not?
  • Who has rights in Lake Erie?
  • What rights do business entities have?

We examine all of these questions, plus a number of frequently asked questions, in a new format called “In the Weeds.”  While many of our readers know of our blog posts and law bulletins, explaining this issue required something different.  Using “In the Weeds” is a way for us to dig into a current legal issue more in depth.

For answers to the questions above and more, CLICK HERE to view the new “In the Weeds: The Lake Erie Bill of Rights Ballot Initiative.”

Soybean Seed Quality Considerations for 2019

Source: Carl Bradley, University of Kentucky; Daren Mueller, Iowa State University; Damon Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Shawn Conley, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Kiersten Wise, University of Kentucky.

Seed quality from the 2018 soybean harvest was below average across the majority of the soybean-producing areas of the United States. Several factors led to poor-quality soybean seed, but some of the most important were wet conditions throughout the fall and subsequent delayed harvest.

The wet conditions delayed harvest and created the right conditions for several seed diseases, including:

  • Phomopsis seed decay (caused by the fungus Diaporthe longicolla, formerly known as Phomopsis longicolla)
  • Purple seed stain (caused by the fungi Cercospora kikuchii and Cercospora flagellaris)

Seeds affected by Phomopsis seed decay can be cracked, shriveled, and have a chalk-white color on the seed surface.

Seeds affected by Purple seed stain are covered in purple blotches, or the entire seed may be purple.

While some areas harvested high-quality soybean seed in 2018, many U.S. seed suppliers have reported that soybean seed for the 2019 crop is frequently testing positive for the Diaporthe fungus that causes Phomopsis seed decay. This is resulting in lower than normal seed germination rates, and could translate to lower than average germination rates in 2019.

While it is impossible to predict 2019 soybean planting conditions, if soil conditions are wet and cool during planting, then it is likely that both seedling survival and plant population will be diminished in fields planted with low-quality soybean seed. This means farmers need to decide now on how to manage low-quality soybean seed to minimize the impact of poor seed quality, low germination, risk for reduced stands, and lower yield in 2019.

Ways to Minimize the Impact of Low-Quality Soybean Seed Continue reading

February Weather Outlook

Jim Noel, Noaa

The weather and climate pattern has been on a real roller coaster ride and it is expected to continue right into spring.

Currently, the climate models are struggling to deal with the ocean conditions in the Pacific Ocean. Most models have been forecasting an El Nino this winter into spring and it just has not happened as of this time. In addition, without an El Nino or La Nina going on, this creates greater uncertainty in our weather and climate. It appears this may at least last into early spring.

February is shaping up to be wet with significant temperatures swings. Rainfall is forecast to range from about 2 inches in far northern Ohio to possibly 6 in southern Ohio over the next two weeks. Combine the rain with recent snowmelt and icemelt and conditions will be very wet and muddy.

Many climate models are suggesting a warmer and drier than normal spring but based on recent trends, it appears to be shaping up to be normal or wetter than normal into April but uncertainty is high.

The latest two week rainfall map is above. You can see a very heavy rain event for portions of the Ohio Valley in the next two weeks.

Dealing with the Weather and Unharvested Crops

Source: Penn State Extension (Edited)

WHAT A FALL!!!  According to the November 26 Crop Weather Report, approximately 14% of corn and 10% of beans still in the field.  The average moisture content of corn harvested last week was 17 percent and the average for soybeans was 16 percent, how big of a concern is this?

The weather continues to be unpredictable and give challenges to operators with grain and crops still in the field. Snow and ice over the last couple weeks have just been the latest in a long list of hurdles that growers have had to overcome this season. With some careful thought and planning you can still have a successfully harvest.

Having corn in the field now can be a double-edged sword. The longer it stays out, the dryer the corn will be when harvested, thus decreasing your drying costs. However, there is a higher risk of yield loss the longer the corn stays unharvested. Research on winter corn drydown showed that over a five-year span, corn grain would lose roughly 40% of its moisture between the months of October and December, when left in the field. The tradeoff is that we cannot anticipate the weather. The same study found that a single year yield decreased by 45% and another year decreased by only 5%.

Another concern of unharvested corn could be disease and mold. When discussing disease and mold, snow and ice pose no more danger to your crop than rain does. A positive of this situation is that the lower temperatures could have a limiting effect on pathogens’ ability to incubate or develop. A drawback of having laying snow is an increased opportunity for lodging. This year we have already seen a lot of lodging due to stem rots and adding snow to the mix may increase this risk. The risk of lodging is even further increased when coupled with winter winds and snow and ice to come. The takeaway is that disease and mold issues should not be your largest concern right now.

If you have a large amount of stock rot and lodging, harvesting as soon as possible will be best for a successful harvest. If your corn crop has lodged, one thing to remember is that this is not a usual harvest. Special consideration and care must be taken to get acceptable yields, which means slowing down and using caution. A few other options you have for getting a better harvestable yield are combining in the opposite direction, or “against the grain.” This will allow the head to get under the crop and lift it up. Another option is to use a corn reel. A corn reel is a specialized piece of equipment that mounts on the top of your corn head and uses rotating hooks to lift the corn and allow the head to get under the lodged crop.

The last concern is compaction and rutting of fields … Who Doesn’t Have Compaction Issues This Year??  Compaction will linger for years and will require attention to avoid problems with next year’s crop.

 

Inversion and Drift Mitigation – Workshop on December 14

Inversion and Drift Mitigation Workshop
Dec. 14, 2018 • 10 a.m. – noon

10 – 11 a.m. Weather Conditions and Potential Inversions
Speaker: Aaron Wilson, Weather Specialist & Atmospheric Scientist, OSU Extension, Byrd Polar & Climate Research Center

11 – noon Using FieldWatch to Communicate
Speaker: Jared Shaffer, Plant Health Inspector, Ohio Department of Agriculture

Two choices for attending the workshop:

Attend in person (pre-registration required, limited to the first 75 people registered)
Ohio Dept. of Agriculture • Bromfield Administration Building
8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Click here to register

Attend virtually:
Link coming soon – no pre-registration required

No cost to attend. Core commercial and private pesticide recertification credits available only athe Reynoldsburg in-person location. Limited to the first 75 registered. No recertification credits given for virtual/internet attendees.

For more information about the workshop, contact:
Cindy Folck, folck.2@osu.edu
614-247-7898

Event sponsored by OSU Extension IPM program and the USDA NIFA Crop Protection and Pest Management Competitive Grants Program (Grant number 2017-70006-27174).

 

Ohio Crop Weather

The wet fall continues!  Yes, this sounds like a broken record.  In my 28 years in Knox County I cannot remember a fall that has been this wet – our soils have been saturated all fall.  I saw a weather report this weekend stating that we are more than 15 inches of rain above our yearly average.

On the bright side if we can get our crops out of the field, many of you that I have talked with think that we may have a record year for BOTH corn and soybean yields.

Below is the most recent Ohio Crop Weather Report.