Precision for Spring Planting


Brooke Beam, Ph.D.

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

January 9, 2019


Dr. Ignacio Ciampitti, of the University of Nebraska, spoke at the Ohio State University Extension 2019 Precision University on Satellite Data and Agronomic Decisions.

As I write this column, the snow is falling outside. It is hard to believe that spring is right around the corner, but preparation for the 2019 crop season is in full swing. On Wednesday, January 9, 2019, I attended Ohio State University Extension’s Precision University: In-Season Decisions, at Beck’s Seed in London, Ohio. This program provided attendees with information about the latest technologies to incorporate into their farming operations in order to maximize efficiency and yields.

One tool to consider for the upcoming growing season is satellite imagery. Dr. Ignacio Ciampitti, from Kansas State University, spoke on the benefits of using satellite imagery for evaluating fields. Dr. Ciampitti said that satellites are not a replacement for drones (UAVs), but they do offer a wide variety of benefits. Due to the number of satellites, there are a variety of resolutions of images farmers can obtain of their fields to evaluate their farm management decisions. Some examples of satellites that generate these images include Modis, Landsat, Sentinel, and Rapid Eye. The Sentinel satellite currently provides the highest resolution for agricultural purposes.

Satellites offer the ability to “go back in time” with databases of images compiled over the course of years, stated Dr. Ciampitti.  Drones provide an image of the current situation, which for some field scouting situations is appropriate; however, in some cases, it may be better to study the field over time. Uses of satellite imagery for the agricultural industry include seasonal and temporal (across seasons) monitoring of crops, crop scouting, forecasting yields, site-specific management, and environmental factors, such as insects, said Dr. Ciampitti.

While we wait on spring, farmers can evaluate previous satellite images of their fields to identify areas of their fields that may need a special prescription. During the growing season, comparing satellite imagery from the mid-flowering stages to your yield monitor images will also provide analysis for future yield predictions.

Several satellite images are available for free, depending on what information you need to obtain from the image. For more information about technologies and information from the 2019 Precision University, contact the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.


Upcoming Events:

The next Beef Quality Assurance Training will be held at Union Stockyards on Tuesday, January 22, 2018, at 6:30 P.M. A meal will be served at 5:30 P.M. prior to the class. Please RSVP to the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.

Another Beef Quality Assurance Training will be held at United Producers Inc., at 2 P.M. on January 29, 2019. There will not be a meal included at this training. Please RSVP to the Highland County Extension Office at 927-393-1918.

The next Highland County Master Gardener Volunteer meeting will be held on Thursday, January 17, 2019, at 10 AM in the Large Meeting Room in the basement of 110 Governor Foraker Place, Hillsboro, OH.

On Tuesday, February 5, 2019, a live webinar of the 2019 Ohio Beef Cattle School will be held in the Large Meeting Room of 119 Governor Foraker Place, Hillsboro, OH. The program will begin at 7 P.M. The 2019 Ohio Beef Cattle School is free to attend, but RSVPs are required. The topic of the webinar is on the winter management of the cow herd to ensure a productive 2019. RSVP to the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918 or via email to

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.



Why Should You Love Squirrels?

Submitted by Faye Mahaffey

OSUE Master Gardener Volunteer – Brown County


According to the Spring 2018 WOODLAND magazine there are 6 reasons why you should love squirrels! I am sure that you are thinking of all the reasons that you don’t feel love when it comes to those sometimes-pesky critters. My list might include: Pulls small transplants out of containers, digs and buries things in the containers, bullies the birds at the feeding station, and literally lounges on the railing of the deck and drinks out of my water garden!

Squirrels often get a bad rap. They raid bird feeders. They can chew through just about anything. They dart out in front of cars.

But, while sometimes inconvenient for humans, this oft-labeled “nuisance” animal has a lot to offer, according to a University of Florida researcher who studies squirrel ecology.

“Squirrels are some of the most visible wildlife in our modern urban and suburban settings, and they are a vital part of the ecosystems they inhabit”, said Robert McCleery, an associate professor in the department of wildlife ecology and conservation in the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

So, take a moment to learn what’s fun, interesting and mysterious about these fluffy-tailed creatures, says the author.

  1. They chew for a reason. They are chewing on things because they have incisors -front teeth-that are always growing. If they don’t chew on something, their teeth are going to grow into their lower jaw and skull. To avoid that, squirrels will chew on anything that helps wear down their teeth.
  2. They are nature’s gardeners. Squirrels have an important ecological role, especially in forest ecosystems. Their biggest contribution to the forest is in shaping plant composition. They have a peculiar habit of taking seeds, which are their main source of nutrients and burying them. Often when they go back to look for them, they forget where they are. When that happens, they are effectively planting seeds. Over time, this behavior, called caching, changes the composition of a forest.
  3. They have some zany behaviors that are entertaining to watch. If you see a squirrel rubbing its face on an acorn, that’s the squirrel marking the seed with its scent, increasing the chances it will find it later.
  4. They will tell you off. If you’re in your backyard or walking through a park, you might hear squirrels. “They make a rolling chirping noise,” McCleery says. As they make that noise, they may also rapidly flick their tails over their heads. All this is the squirrel’s way of saying, Back off! They might be scolding you because you are near a tree they’ve utilized or are near some food resource, or you’re perceived as a predator.
  5. There are many species of squirrel, and they come in lots of shapes, colors, and sizes. Ohio has four different species of squirrels. While most people are familiar with the Eastern Gray and Fox squirrels, Ohio is also home to Red and Flying squirrels. The Southern Flying Squirrel is Ohio’s most populous squirrel species, but since it is strictly nocturnal it is seldom seen. Flying squirrels get their name from the flaps of skin between their front and back legs. These flaps allow them to glide from one tree to the next.
  6. They are full of mystery. There is still so much that’s not known about squirrels, McCleery says. He never gets tired of studying them. One of the things they are trying to understand right now is why squirrels sometimes decide to eat a seed right away and other times decide to bury it.

My favorite squirrel incident happened while visiting a friend in Florida. Every morning we walked around the neighborhood and enjoyed seeing the bird feeding stations that had been “squirrel proofed.” As we came around the corner, we saw a large, plastic bird feeder with a large squirrel inside! When he saw us, he became as still as a statue, as if to say, “I am not a squirrel inside this bird feeder. Just look away! Mind your own business!”