Hay Buying Help, and Preparation for Next Year

By Garth Ruff, ANR Extension Educator, OSU Henry County Extension

With last week’s rain showers leaving much of the area saturated, there were limited opportunities for farming or even yardwork. I took advantage of the soggy conditions here in NW Ohio and headed south on Friday to a fairly productive couple of days in Morgan County. We had a good chance to winterize and store all of the hay equipment and tractors that we typically don’t use during winter time.

Regarding hay implement storage, we make an effort blow off the chaff, seeds, and dust with a leaf blower shortly after use and then pressure wash the piece prior to pulling in to the machinery shed for the down season. Once everything is cleaned off, each machine is greased and gear boxes are checked for fluid levels. Any major repairs or maintenance such as changing mowing knives can be done during the winter months as time allows. Given the unpredictability of the weather the past few years, it is nice to be able to pull the hay equipment out of storage, hook up to a tractor and head directly to the field. This eliminates the need of a full day of maintenance, especially when the hay making window is short.

That was the case for about all of 2018, as it was one lousy season for making dry hay across the state. For those who have to purchase hay this winter there are a few things to consider in terms of hay quality and value. There are some visual and sensory characteristics we can look at, as a gross indication of forage quality. The presence of seed heads (grass forages), flowers or seed pods (legumes), indicate more mature forages. Good-quality legume forages will have a high proportion of leaves, and stems will be less obvious and fine. While we tend to favor bright green forages from a visual perspective, color is not a good indicator of nutrient content, but bright green color does suggest minimal oxidation.

Smell of the forage and moisture content are also valuable indicators in determining hay quality. Good quality hay will have a fresh mowed grass odor; no musty or moldy odors. Dry hay made and stored at less than 15 percent moisture should be at minimal risk for molding.

Visual appraisal of the hay has some limitations, the only sure fire way to determine quality is to look at a forage analysis of the cutting. When looking at a forage sample analysis, perhaps the most valuable figure is the percentage of Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN). The higher the TDN value, the higher the digestibility of the forage, and increased digestibility is directly related to nutrient availability.

Other values that you may find on a forage analysis include Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF), Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF), Crude Protein, and Relative Feed Value (RFV). When interpreting the forage analysis goals for ADF, NDF, and Crude Protein vary between grass and alfalfa hay, but in general as fiber values increase, forage maturity tends to increase resulting in reduced digestibility for the livestock. A good rule of thumb for quality alfalfa or legume hay is a 40-30-20 analysis for NDF, ADF, and Crude Protein respectively.

I’ll end this week with a quote from Will Rogers: “It’s not what you pay a man, but what he costs you that counts.” Have a great week.

Historical Restoration Assistance

Brooke Beam, PhD

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator


History is a vital part of our present. Without our forefathers’ efforts we would not have the historic landmarks of our communities in rural America. Last week, I attended a seminar on the National Register of Historic Places and Federal and State Historic Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit programs. Through this seminar, I learned about several opportunities that may assist individuals in Highland County to rehabilitate historic properties for future generations to enjoy.

Currently, there are over 25 places listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Highland County, including Bell’s Opera House, Highland County Court House, and the Hillsboro Historic Business District (roughly bounded by Beech, Walnut, East, and West Streets in Hillsboro). The National Register of Historic Places is a program of the National Park Service, but is administered by each individual state.

Hillsboro Historic Business District highlighted in red, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Properties that are eligible to apply for the register need to be at least 50 years old and have retained the property’s basic historic integrity. The place should have “significance for its association with broad patterns of history, have association with the lives of person significant in our past, have architectural merit, or have the potential to yield information important in history or prehistory (archaeology),” according to the Ohio History Connection.

In order to take advantage of the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit properties must either be listed on the National Register or Historic Places or contribute to the historical significance of a registered historic district. The Federal Historic Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit is eligible for 20 percent of rehabilitation costs of income producing properties. The Federal Historic Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit is not competitive, meaning that if a property meets the qualifications, the owner would receive the tax credit. The State program, however, is competitive.

There are myths associated with the tax credit programs that no changes may be made to the building; however, this is not the case. “Rehabilitation is defined in the Federal regulations as the process of returning a property to a state of utility through repair or alteration, which makes possible an efficient contemporary use while preserving those portions or features of the property which are significant to its historic, architectural and cultural values,” according to the Ohio History Connection. Upgrades of functional kitchens, plumbing and lighting have been parts of previous rehabilitation projects.

There are dozens of projects throughout the state that have utilized these programs to reinvigorate their communities. Buildings in downtown Chillicothe and Wilmington have utilized the National Register of Historic Places and the historic tax credit programs to rehabilitate buildings of a variety of sizes. In Wilmington, an unused second floor of a downtown building was converted to a modern apartment, and in Chillicothe a larger building was rehabilitated into office spaces. Other projects in the state have included hotels and theatres.

For more information about the National Register of Historic Places or the Historic Tax Credit programs, contact the Ohio History Connection, State Historic Preservation Office at 614-298-2000 or visit ohiohistory.org/shpo. For other Community Development related support, call the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.


Extension Television Now Showing on the Hillsboro Local Access Channel

The Hillsboro Local Access Channel has begun to show Ohio State University Extension television programs on weekdays at 6:00 pm. Each of the programs are a half hour in length. The first program will be Agri-News with John Grimes and Duane Rigsby. Agri-News contains information about beef production. Additional programs will be added over the next few weeks. Other upcoming programs include Forage Focus with Christine Gelley, which covers forage and pasture related topics, and Marketing Matters with host Christie Welch, which discusses a variety of small business marketing strategies that are appropriate for any small business.

The majority of the television programs are filmed at the OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio, and feature Ohio State University Extension Educators and researchers. All of the shows contain research-based content that can benefit Highland County agricultural producers and businesses. If you do not receive the Local Access Channel, the videos will also be available on the Highland County Extension blog, https://u.osu.edu/osuextensionhighlandcounty/, and on YouTube at the OSU South Centers page, https://www.youtube.com/user/southcenters.


Upcoming Events:

The next Highland County Monthly Extension Program will be held on December 10, 2018, at 10:00 A.M. at the Ponderosa Steakhouse in Hillsboro, Ohio. More details will be coming soon, please save the date and plan to attend.

Fertilizer and Pesticide Recertifications:

February 19, 2019

Ponderosa Banquet Center, 545 S. High Street, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133

5:00 pm to 6:00 pm Fertilizer Recertification – Private and Commercial

6:30 pm Pesticide Recertification (Core, 1, 2,3, 4, 5, 6) Private Applicators Only


March 4, 2018

Ponderosa Banquet Center, 545 S. High Street, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133

10:00 am to 11:00 am Fertilizer Recertification – Private and Commercial

11:30 am Pesticide Recertification (Core, 1, 2,3, 4, 5, 6) Private Applicators Only

Registration details will come in the mail from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Registration for OSU Extension Pesticide and Fertilizer and your renewal application for ODA Pesticide/Fertilizer must both be completed. Meals will be included at each recertification training at Ponderosa.