Join us for Take Flight! an inspirational program about what we are doing as Ohioans and across North America to restore the monarch butterfly.
Take Flight focuses on solutions and provides tangible resources for all to contribute, including landscape planning by public and private landowners.
Dr. Doug Tallamy (author, professor and biologist)
Rebecca Spach (Director of vegetation management, FirstEnergy)
Dr. Gabe Karns (OSU, School of Environment and Natural Resources)
Jane Breckinridge (Director, Euchee Butterfly Farm, an enrolled citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation)
Watch this one minute video to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzBUFk-ilV4
In Morrow County we have a great county park district https://morrowcountyparkdistrict.org/. I had the opportunity to hike at Sheedy Sanctuary on Saturday April 10th and the spring wild flowers were amazing. I encourage you to find one of these hidden gems in the county and take a walk to explore what nature has to offer.
Yellow Wild Violets
Yellow Trout Lily
Source: Ohio Farm Bureau
Taxes are becoming more of a hot topic in Washington D.C. and some of the plans being proposed would have a disastrous impact on rural Ohio and rural America as a whole. Proposed legislation in Congress would tax capital gains at death and eliminate stepped-up basis as a way to raise revenue for government spending, causing Farm Bureau to issue an Action Alert to our members. Ty Higgins has more with OFBF’s public policy vice president, Jack Irvin. Click here for more information
Planting when conditions are adequate (soil temperatures above 50°F and greater than 45% plant available water content) is recommended for corn and soybean. This year, these conditions are occurring sooner than normal. At a two-inch depth, average soil temperature ranged from 48 to 51°F between April 1 and April 7 (Table 1). In general, early planting helps increase yield potential of both corn and soybean. For soybean, each day delay in planting after May 1 results in a yield decrease of 0.25 to 1 bu/acre/day. Additionally, there is also the real observation of the last few years that if you don’t get planted early, rains in May could prevent planting all together (thinking of you, 2019). While there are benefits of early planting, there are also risks that should be considered (especially if the weather turns cool).
Table 1. Average two-inch soil temperature from April 1 through April 7, 2021 and last freeze date (air temperature ≤32°F) for the past five years. (Data from CFAES Weather System: https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weather1/).
The first step in germination is the process of imbibition, or absorbing water from the soil for 24-48 hours after planting. Generally, seeds need to return to their moisture levels at physiological maturity (30% moisture for corn, 50-55% for soybean) before germination begins. The temperature of the water should be above 50°F during this process or it can damage the cells in the seed (referred to as ‘imbibitional chilling’). We have had imbibitional chilling occur in parts of Ohio where soil temperatures were warm (>50°F) but then we had snow or cold rain within 12 hours of planting, which damaged seedlings and contributed to poor stands or seed mortality (forcing replant).
The second phase of germination called the lag or activation phase involves seed reserve mobilization and cell wall loosening. Cool temperatures can slow this phase, which can affect how quickly the seeds will sprout. The final step is growth and is marked by radicle emergence. The seed is now fully committed to growth and must rely on internal food reserves to fuel growth until it emerges and can start photosynthesizing. Rate of growth is influenced by accumulated growing degree days (GDDs) or heat units. If days turn cooler after planting, fewer GDDs are gained each day resulting in more days in the soil without photosynthesizing. This can deplete seed reserves. Recent work from Ohio (2017-2019) suggests 155 soil GDDs after planting are needed to facilitate corn emergence without incurring a yield penalty.
After emergence, growth in corn is fueled by GDD accumulation. Late frosts can damage leaf tissue, but the growing point remains belowground for corn until V6 growth stage (approximately 550-600 GDDs from planting). If the growing point is not damaged, the plant should be able to re-grow and no yield loss is expected. (Complete defoliation of corn through the V5 growth stage resulted in no yield loss.) For soybean, the growing point is above the soil surface at emergence (VE growth stage). If freeze damage occurs below the cotyledons, the plant will not recover (Figure 1). The last freeze date (air temperature ≤32°F) for the past five years has ranged from as early as April 2 to as late as May 16. However, a temperature of ≤32°F does not necessarily mean there will be freeze damage. Freeze damage can be variable based on soil moisture, landscape position, and crop residue in the field. Also, keep in mind, reported air temperatures are usually from several feet above the soil surface. Temperatures near the soil are often warmer, especially when the soil is wetter. If we do encounter a drop in temperature, wait at least five days to check your plants for damage.
One final consideration with planting early is planting depth. Shallower planted seeds will accumulate GDDs faster than deeper-planted seeds, which may result in more rapid emergence. However, moisture for imbibition tends to be more variable at shallow depths, which can lead to: i) greater fluctuations in temperatures (high temperatures will be greater and low temperatures will be lower compared to deeper planted seeds); and ii) less uniform emergence (takes longer to get all plants to emerge), which can ultimately cause yield decreases. Additionally, the crown of the plant (where the growing point resides) may be closer to the soil surface if planted shallow. This means there is less protection for the crown if temperatures drop unexpectedly prior to V6 growth stage of corn, possibly causing damage to the growing point. Shallow planting can also result in poor nodal root formation in the season and may cause rootless or floppy corn syndrome to develop at the V4-6 growth stages.
Please enjoy this 1-hour presentation led by Kathy Smith, Les Ober, and Gabe Karns. This opportunity was made available through the Woodland Stewards Friday in the Woods webinar series. Nearly 150 attendees listened to a wide coverage of beginner maple topics followed by a full hour of Q & A that ranged from more technical aspects of boiling and filtering and processing syrup to more inquisitive investigations of why the freeze-thaw cycle is necessary for making sap flow and if tapped wood has any market potential as lumber.
Ohio NRCS Area Resource Conservationist TJ Oliver, is working with Ohio Dept of Agriculture to provide content for their ongoing Grazing Management Minute series on You Tube. ODA’s Grazing Management Minute series started last summer, as a way for ODA’s Division of Soil and Water Conservation and expert partners like USDA National Resources Conservation Service, to educate farmers and producers on grazing topics relevant to each month. TJ’s first video clip discusses Winter Hay Storage, Access Road and Feeding Pad. In his second clip, TJ shares his expertise on Renovating Winter-Feeding Sacrifice Areas.
Growers are increasingly impacted by and/or interested in learning how to prevent declines in the health, quality, or productivity of soils in their high tunnels. More are experiencing or aware that various biotic and abiotic issues threaten crop yield and quality and farm income. As some have learned, increases in nematode populations, disease inoculum, salinity, nutrient deficiencies/excesses/imbalances, and/or compaction or reductions in soil structure can be troublesome. Thankfully, a comprehensive effort is underway to help understand and address soil health/productivity-related challenges in high tunnel production. Sponsored by the USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative and coordinated by Dr. Krista Jacobsen of the University of Kentucky, researchers with different expertise and extension specialists are documenting grower concerns and practices and charting a path leading to greater grower success. The OSU and five other universities are also currently involved. Team members recently hosted a focus group of eight growers from the Great Lakes (including Ohio) and will hear from more in other regions soon. Growers in the recent focus group represented a range of experience, size of operation, crops grown, typical number of annual production seasons (1-4), and overall farming approach (conventional, organic). Collectively, they shared concerns with issues referenced earlier and gave special attention to others such as the effects of high tunnel soils going extremely dry fall-to-spring unless watered (with or without also being cropped). Interestingly, this observation and concern lines up with the view shared by Dr. Bruce Hoskins of the University of Maine that high tunnel production is like “irrigated desert production in the west and southwest,” and that “failing to realize or take steps to address potential problems because of this” can be detrimental (see VegNet article Feb. 20, 2021). In any case, the recent conversation with growers was a reminder of: (1) potential causes of declines in (high tunnel) soil productivity (examples are listed below), (2) innovative steps growers and researchers are taking to limit the problem, and (3) benefits of addressing the complex problem through partnerships. It also prompted me to ask myself what I am doing to maintain the productivity of soils in my high tunnels. Maybe it will do the same for you!
The health-quality-productivity of soils used in vegetable production, including in high tunnels, can decline for many reasons. Some major ones are listed below in no particular order.
1. Repeated or excessive use of a potentially narrow range of fertilizers, various chemicals, and other soil amendments.
2. Vegetable plants often having relatively small and shallow root systems (compared to other annual crops) and crops returning relatively little residue to the soil.
3. Short rotations with few crops.
4. Placing frequent pressure on and aggressively disturbing soil, especially when it is wet.
5. In high tunnels, relatively unique and potentially extreme temperature and moisture profiles.
– OSU Extension Agronomy Crops Team CORN newsletter
Now is the time to scout hay and pasture fields for the presence of winter annual and biennial weeds, especially those that are poisonous to livestock such as cressleaf groundsel. These weeds are resuming growth that started last fall and they are most effectively controlled with herbicides while still small. In addition to cressleaf groundsel, weeds of concern that should be treated soon include the following: poison hemlock, birdsrape mustard (aka wild turnip), wild carrot. Herbicides are most effective on these weeds in the fall, but they can be controlled in spring, preferably when still in the rosette stage. Control becomes more difficult once stem elongation (bolting) starts.
Dairy producers over the past few years have faced a variety of challenges: low milk prices, increased feed costs, and often a surplus of heifers to enter the herd. In an effort to manage heifer numbers and add value to bull calves, breeding dairy cows to beef sires has become a more popular, and common practice than ever before.
Join Ohio State University Extension and Michigan State University Extension on April 21, 28, and May 5 at 12:00 p.m. EST, for a webinar series titled “Management Considerations for Beef x Dairy Calves.” Continue Reading
Tom Bechman, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer
(Previously published in Indiana Prairie Farmer: April 6, 2021)
Big livestock operations produce lots of manure. In fact, some producers sell it to neighbors. More people are recognizing the value of manure in high-yield corn production systems. Continue Reading