Why You Should Soil Test Your Pastures in Fall 2018

From Laura Kenny, Penn State Extension Educator.

Excessive rainfall this summer encouraged grass to stay green when it would normally go dormant. Therefore, you may need to replenish soil nutrients to ensure adequate growth in the spring.

Updated: October 17, 2018

Why You Should Soil Test Your Pastures in Fall 2018

Photo by Danielle Smarsh

Most farm managers know the importance of regular soil testing and fertilizing: it ensures that the soil contains enough nutrients and the right conditions for pasture forages to grow well and provide as much feed as possible for our horses. Normally, it is recommended to test soil every 3 years, and the test results from Penn State’s Agricultural Analytical Services Lab provide fertilizer and lime recommendations for the next 3 years. The fertility recommendations, in pounds per acre of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash, are based on the existing nutrient levels in the soil (except nitrogen) and the expected crop uptake and removal each year. In other words, if the soil nutrient levels are already optimum for plant growth, you only apply as much fertilizer as the plants will use that year.

However, it has been an unusual summer throughout Pennsylvania. In general, hot, dry weather reduces pasture growth and causes cool-season perennial grasses to slow their growth or go dormant. This year, excessive and continuous rainfall allowed pasture grasses to continue growing throughout the summer and may have caused a greater than normal removal of soil nutrients by the plants. In addition, some nutrients may have been lost through leaching or soil erosion and run-off. This may result in inadequate soil nutrient levels for spring growth, even when following the soil test results. Therefore, to give your pastures the best possible growth next spring, take a soil test this fall to see if your fertility plan needs an update. Test kits are available at your local county office, and instructions for sampling are included in the kit and also at Don’t Guess… Soil Test. When completing the sample submission form, make sure to use the yellow Agronomic Crops sheet and not the green Turf sheet.

Don’t Guess, Forage Test!

This is a great article from a year ago that may be even more relevant this year.  At the end is a video on taking hay samples from round and square bales.  We have the tool available and are glad to help with sample submission.

Al Gahler, OSU Extension Educator, Sandusky County (originally published in the Ohio Cattleman, late fall 2017 issue)

Color is seldom an accurate indication of hay quality!

Across most of Ohio, 2017 has been a challenging crop year, especially for those in the hay production business.  In 2016, while most producers did not have significant yields, quality was tremendous due to the dry weather which allowed for highly manageable cutting intervals and easy dry down.  Since the end of June, however, 2017 has been just the opposite, with mother nature forcing many bales to be made at higher than optimal moisture levels, and cutting intervals measured in months rather than days.

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Property Owners: CAUV and Agricultural District are not the same – Are you in both?

Ohio has some protection for farm owners that could help prevent problems like hog farms in North Carolina have been running into.  One advantage of enrolling your property in the Agricultural District classification is it allows your property to have certain rights for agricultural production that could protect you from nuisance law suits.  This is separate from the CAUV tax designation but the requirements to enroll are the same so it can be confusing.  The following information is from the county and provides much more detail.

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Get Ready for a Little Breaking and Entering


Joe Boggs

Published on

October 11, 2018

Our drop in temperatures throughout Ohio will no doubt convince fall home invading insects that it’s time to seek winter quarters.  These unwelcomed guests typically include Boxelder Bugs (Boisea trivittatus); Western Conifer Seed Bugs (Leptoglossus occidentalis); Magnolia Seed Bugs (Leptoglossus fulvicornis); Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles (Harmonia axyridis); and the most notorious of all, Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (Halyomorpha halys).

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Results from the pesticide disposal day

On August 28th, Licking County served as a host for the 2018 Clean Sweep Program which provided free disposal of farm pesticides.  We collected 7481 pounds of waste.  This included 28 pounds of  PBTs (Persistent Bioaccumalative and Toxics) – the really bad stuff!  It is great to have these unwanted pesticides out of our environment and safely disposed of by the EPA.  Thank you to all the participants.

We are in search of a new Office Associate in Licking County Extension


Office Associate

OSU Extension, Licking County

This position is Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For complete position description and online application instructions, please go to www.jobsatosu.com and search by Job Opening Number 443141.  To assure consideration you must apply by October 14, 2018.  The Ohio State University is an equal opportunity employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or identity, national origin, disability status, or protected veteran status.   #30#

2018 Licking County Rainfall Summary

Licking County has had one of the wettest growing seasons in history and possibly the wettest.  As you can see below we have averaged nearly 12 inches of rainfall above normal during the April to September growing season.

Location /Township April May June July August September Total
Alexandria 5.63 4.54 6.74 4.47 4.22 9.86 35.46
Bowling Green 6.75 5.40 5.20 4.90 4.60 5.00 31.85
Madison 6.09 5.25 6.50 5.65 3.42 6.81 33.72
Newark 8.90 4.00 8.40 4.15 6.85 12.00 44.30
Newton 6.35 3.45 6.50 4.15 5.5 8.65 34.60
South Union 6.30 4.35 12.15 5.70 3.40 9.00 40.90
Union 4.20 6.25 7.55 3.35 3.40 6.90 31.65
Utica 5.73 4.41 5.20 3.50 4.25 8.13 31.22
Washington 8.43 3.20 8.30 2.95 4.90 8.10 35.88
County Average 2018 6.49 4.55 7.39 4.31 4.50 8.27 35.51
Long term county avg. 3.66 4.41 4.57 4.37 3.58 2.99 23.58

I would like to give a special thanks to the following individuals and families who graciously devoted their time and effort to keeping track and reporting their totals.  Without their help this would not be possible.  If you know someone who would like to participate in this project next please have them contact the extension office at 740-670-5315.


Rick Black

Larry Coe

Orville Felumlee

Ed Hankinson

Kayla Hughes

Jim Kiracofe

Jeff Martin

Dave Shipley

Tom Sorg


Beef Quality Assurance with Licking County Cattleman’s Meeting

Details will be available soon but set aside Sunday December 9th for an afternoon of fun and education.  Dr. Stout, of Legends Lane Reproductive Services near Alexandria, is graciously offering his embryo transfer and IVF facility as a location for the Licking County Cattleman’s gathering (with food!) and a Beef Quality Assurance Training Session.  The old golf clubhouse can be our meeting room.

We are also working on the details to make this the selection day for the calf raffle winner.  If you have not had a chance to purchase tickets contact a board member or call the Extension Office at 740-670-5315 and we will connect you with the right people.  A limited number of  tickets are available for $20 each and the winner will be able to select between a registered September 2018 Angus heifer calf  that is AI bred out of an AI bred dam or $1000 cash.  The September age calf was chosen because a youth could show it for 2 years.

You do not need to be a member to participate in the activities but the Licking County Cattleman’s association is always accepting new members and have leadership opportunities available.

Do I need Beef Quality Assurance?

Consumers are concerned for animal health, and the sustainability of the production systems their food’s raised in.”

That statement is just one of several discussed during the 2018 Ohio Beef School presentations that have caused teaching and certifying Ohio’s cattlemen in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) to become a priority. Adding even more meaning to that statement is the fact that Tyson Foods, who harvest and process 25% of the US beef market share, and also Wendy’s, now the second largest fast food hamburger chain in the U.S., have both announced beginning in 2019 cattle they purchase must originate from producers and feedyards who are Beef QualityAssurance certified. Not only are today’s consumers sharing their concerns, but now the businesses who are supplying the public’s demand for a quality beef product raised in a humane and sustainable fashion also want some guarantees that it’s happening throughout the production chain.

In response, Ohio State University Extension is working in cooperation with the Ohio Beef Council, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Ohio’s cattle auction markets and collection points to offer Ohio’s cattlemen several opportunities to become Beef Quality Assurance Certified.

There is no charge for the meetings or certification.  Please call Dean if you have questions 740-670-5315.

Local opportunities  in addition to our December 9th session include:

  • November 13th 7 p.m. at Muskingum Livestock Sale Barn.
  • December 18th 7 p.m. at Muskingum Livestock Sale Barn.

Use the link below for more statewide opportunities.

BQA Training 2018-1vspj8d

Market Facilitation Program (MFP) – Help for farms due to economic impacts of tariffs

On August 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its Trade Mitigation Package in response to unjustified retaliation surrounding the U.S. agricultural industry.

The Trump administration chose to employ a safeguard for America’s producers who have been negatively impacted. Thus, implementing a 3-pronged program that offers up to $12 billion to help subsidize farmers and stimulate the agricultural economy as a result of lost export sales, diminishing markets, and lower commodity prices.

The short-term package is broken down into three parts, including the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), the Food Purchase and Distribution Program, and the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program.

The following information is from Ben Brown & Haylee Zwick:

Many Licking County producers can benefit from the MFP.  More information is available through the FSA office 740-670-5340 or online at www.farmers.gov