Farmer Advocates wanted!

Do you know of a farmer who would be an excellent candidate with leadership, enthusiasm, and passion for soil health and water quality management as a Farmer Advocate for Conservation? You can nominate them by completing an online form. Select the button for the application.

The Nature Conservancy is looking for farmers who are currently utilizing cover crops on their farms in the Maumee River Watershed of the Western Lake Erie Basin. We are looking for a diverse group of farmers; large acreage, small acreage, corn and soy, small grains, livestock, new and experienced, willing to reach out and share their knowledge and experiences with other farmers in their area. Selected farmers will be compensated for their time. Select the button for this application.

If you are interested in being part of this exciting farmer-led outreach project and would like to apply as a Farmer Advocate for Conservation please complete the online application form by selecting the button above.

The application period is open for farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin that are interested in sharing their conservation farming practices with other farmers.  Farmer Advocates will be compensated for their time to attend the training and work with other farmers @ $30/hour.  The focus of the project is to promote farmers learning from each other about building soil health and managing water.

To apply as a Farmer Advocate for Conservation or to nominate a farmer you believe would be an excellent candidate please use the online application and nomination forms on the landing page found at https://sites.google.com/view/farmeradvocate or please contact Stephanie Singer, Stephanie.Singer@tnc.org.

Forage Planting – How to Do It Well

By:  Mark Sulc and Jason Hartschuh, CCA

The window of opportunity for spring forage seedings has been very tight the past three years. Are you ready to roll?

Early spring provides one of the two preferred times to seed perennial cool-season forages, the other being late summer. The outlook for this spring is for probabilities of above-average precipitation in April and May. Planting opportunities will likely be few and short. An accompanying article on preparing now for planting along with the following 10 steps to follow on the day you plant will help improve chances for successful forage establishment.

  1. Check now to make sure soil pH and fertility are in the recommended ranges.  Follow the Tri-state Soil Fertility Recommendations (https://forages.osu.edu/forage-management/soil-fertility-forages).  Forages are more productive where soil pH is above 6.0, but for alfalfa, it should be 6.5 – 6.8. Soil phosphorus should be at least 20 ppm for grasses and 30 ppm for legumes, while minimum soil potassium should be 100 ppm for sandy soils less than 5 CEC or 120 ppm on all other soils. If seedings are to include alfalfa, and soil pH is not at least 6.5, it would be best to apply lime now and delay establishing alfalfa until late summer (plant an annual grass forage in the interim). Continue reading

Did you miss out on our Ohio State University Corn or Soybean College?

Did you miss out on the Ohio State University Extension Corn or Soybean College on February 11th? We have an opportunity for you to rewatch the recordings.  The recordings are broken down into topics and smaller sections. If you are having any problems viewing, please reach out to me.

The recorded presentations up on our Ohio State Ag Crops YouTube Channel:

Pierce Paul summarized the Q&A portion of his session in the Corn Newsletter last week. You can access that summary here.

USDA Announces CRP General Signup Begins Today and Ends February 12

Agricultural producers and private landowners interested in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) can sign up for the popular program beginning today, Jan. 4, 2021, until Feb. 12, 2021. The competitive program, administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.

Through CRP, farmers and ranchers establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. Farmers and ranchers who participate in CRP help provide numerous benefits to their local region and the nation’s environment and economy. CRP general signup is held annually and is competitive; general signup includes increased opportunities for wildlife habitat enrollment through the State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) initiative. Continue reading

2021 Precision U: Tackling Spring Operations with Reduced Working Days

2021 Precision U Flyer

2021 Precision U: Tackling Spring Operations with Reduced Working Days

  • January 5 – Gambling with Planting Decisions – Dr. Aaron Wilson (Ohio State University Extension) and Dr. Bob Nielsen (Purdue University)
  • January 12 – Improving Fertilizer Efficiency with the Planter Pass – Matt Bennett (Precision Planting Technology) and Dr. John Fulton (Ohio State University)
  • January 19 – Pre-season Crop Protection Decisions – Dr. Mark Loux and Dr. Scott Shearer (Ohio State University)
  • January 26 – Sprayer Technology to Improve Field Performance – Dr. Joe Luck (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

There is no cost to register for Precision University, but registration is required. CCA CEUs will be offered at each session. For more information or to register, visit http://go.osu.edu/PrecisionU.

Grain Test Weight Considerations for Corn

R.L. (Bob) Nielsen
Agronomy Dept., Purdue Univ.
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054
Email address: rnielsen at purdue.edu
Twitter: @PurdueCornGuy

Among the top 10 most discussed (and cussed) topics at the Chat ‘n Chew Cafe during corn harvest season is the grain test weight being reported from cornfields in the neighborhood. Test weight is measured in the U.S. in terms of pounds of grain per volumetric “Winchester” bushel. In practice, test weight measurements are based on the weight of grain that fills a quart container (37.24 qts. to a bushel) that meets the specifications of the USDA-AMS (FGIS) for official inspection (Fig. 1). Certain electronic moisture meters, like the Dickey-John GAC, estimate test weight based on a smaller-volume cup. These test weight estimates are reasonably accurate but are not accepted for official grain trading purposes.

The official minimum allowable test weight in the U.S. for No. 1 yellow corn is 56 lbs/bu and for No. 2 yellow corn is 54 lbs/bu (USDA-AMS (FGIS), 1996). Corn grain in the U.S. is marketed on the basis of a 56-lb “bushel” regardless of test weight. Even though grain moisture is not part of the U.S. standards for corn, grain buyers pay on the basis of “dry” bushels (15 to 15.5% grain moisture content) or discount the market price to account for the drying expenses they expect to incur handling wetter corn grain.

Growers worry about low test weight because local grain buyers often discount their market bids for low test weight grain. In addition, growers are naturally disappointed when they deliver a 1000 bushel (volumetric bushels, that is) semi-load of grain that averages 52-lb test weight because they only get paid for 929 56-lb “market” bushels (52,000 lbs ÷ 56 lbs/bu) PLUS they receive a discounted price for the low test weight grain. On the other hand, high test weight grain makes growers feel good when they deliver a 1000 bushel semi-load of grain that averages 60 lb test weight because they will get paid for 1071 56-lb “market” bushels (60,000 lbs ÷ 56 lbs/bu). Continue reading

Gibberella Ear Rots Showing up in Corn: How to Tell It Apart from Other Ear Rots

Author(s): Pierce PaulFelipe Dalla Lana da Silva

Over the last two weeks, we have received samples or pictures of at least two different types of corn ear rots – Gibberella and Trichoderma. Of the two, Gibberella ear rot (GER) seems to be the most prevalent. Ear rots differ from each other in terms of the damage they cause (their symptoms), the toxins they produce, and the specific conditions under which they develop. GER leads to grain contamination with mycotoxins, including deoxynivalenol (also known as vomitoxin), and is favored by warm, wet, or humid conditions between silk emergence (R1) and early grain development. However, it should be noted that even when conditions are not ideal for GER development, vomitoxin may still accumulate in infected ears.

A good first step for determining whether you have an ear rot problem is to walk fields between dough and black-layer, before plants start drying down, and observe the ears. The husks of affected ears usually appear partially or completely dead (dry and bleached), often with tinges of the color of the mycelium, spores, or spore-bearing structures of fungus causing the disease. Depending on the severity of the disease, the leaf attached to the base of the diseased ear (the ear leaf) may also die and droop, causing affected plants to stick out between healthy plants with normal, green ear leaves. Peel back the husk and examine the suspect ears for typical ear rot symptoms. You can count the number of moldy ears out of ever 50 ears examined, at multiple locations across the field to determine the severity of the problem.

Ear rot symptoms

Continue reading

Precautions for Feeding Frosted and Drought-Stressed Forages

Hay bales in the field

Livestock owners feeding forage need to keep in mind the potential for some forage toxicities and other problems that can develop this fall. High nitrates and prussic acid poisoning are the main potential concerns. These are primarily an issue with annual forages and several weed species, but nitrates can be an issue even in drought-stressed perennial forages. There is also an increased risk of bloat when grazing legumes after a frost.

Nitrate Toxicity

Drought-stressed forages can accumulate toxic nitrate levels. This can occur in many different forage species, including both annuals and perennials. Several areas in Ohio have been dry of late. Corn, oat, and other small grains, sudangrass, and sorghum-sudangrass, and many weed species including johnsongrass can accumulate toxic levels of nitrates. Even alfalfa can accumulate toxic nitrate levels under severe drought stress.

Before feeding or grazing drought-stressed forage, send in a forage sample to be tested for nitrates. Most labs now offer nitrate tests, so it is likely that you can get a forage nitrate test by your favorite lab. Several labs are listed at the end of this article that does nitrate testing. This list is for your convenience and no labs are intentionally omitted. Check your chosen lab’s website or call them and follow their specific instructions about how to collect and handle the sample. The cost is well worth it against the risk of losing animals.

See the following references for more details:

Nitrates in Cattle Sheep and Goats (University of Wisconsin Extension) https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/forage/nitrate-poisoning-in-cattle-sheep-and-goats/

Nitrates and Prussic Acid in Forages (Texas Cooperative Extension) http://forages.tamu.edu/PDF/Nitrate.pdf

Nitrate accumulation in frosted forages. Freezing damage slows down metabolism in all plants, and this might result in nitrate accumulation in plants that are still growing, especially grasses like oats and other small grains, millet, and sudangrass.  This build-up usually is not hazardous to grazing animals, but green chop or hay cut right after a freeze can be more dangerous. When in doubt, test the forage for nitrates before grazing or feeding it. Continue reading

Using Soil Tests Phosphorus Results to Identify Agronomic and Conservation Needs

What is a soil test? | Dreamlawns Lawn Care“What are the right decisions for phosphorus management in crop production that reduce water quality impacts?” is a common question I have from farmers looking to improve yield yet are concerned about downstream water quality impacts of phosphorus.

A representative agronomic soil test has long been an essential tool for sound agronomic nutrient management decisions. That same agronomic test result can be a useful indicator for identifying fields where additional conservation practices might improve water quality. Fields with Soil Test Phosphorus (STP) levels two to three times higher than the agronomic need result in increased phosphorus losses measured on the edge of field water quality monitoring.

As soil test results are reviewed this fall, consider keeping a list of fields in three categories based on STP levels that define the risk of yield loss for the corn/soybean rotation and risk of increased water quality impacts.

  1. Less than 20 PPM Mehlich 3 STP (or 30 PPM if wheat/alfalfa in the rotation)
  2. Between 20-40 PPM (or 30-50 PPM if wheat/alfalfa are in the rotation)
  3. Greater than 50 PPM

Continue reading

Scout now for cressleaf groundsel in hayfields, or pay the price in May

Cressleaf GroundselBy Mark Sulc, OSU

Some hay producers have been unpleasantly surprised in the past when cressleaf groundsel infestations became evident in their hay fields in May prior to first cutting.  Cressleaf groundsel in hay or silage is toxic to animals, and infested areas of the field should not be harvested and fed.  Groundsel is a winter annual, emerging in late summer into fall when it develops into a rosette that overwinters.  Growth restarts in spring, with stem elongation and an eventual height of up to several feet tall.  The weed becomes evident in hayfields when it becomes taller than the alfalfa/grass and develops bright yellow flowers in May.  The problem with passively waiting until this point to discover that the hay is infested with groundsel is that: 1) it’s too late to control it with herbicides; and 2) hay from infested areas has to be discarded instead of sold or fed, and large plant skeletons are still toxic even if herbicides were effective on them.  Groundsel plants finish their life cycle in late spring, once they flower and go to seed, so it should not be a problem in subsequent cuttings. Continue reading

Fall Forage Management Tips

Alfalfa Field

By Mark Sulc, OSU Extension

Fall is a great time to take care of some very important aspects of managing forage hayfields and pastures. Below is a list of things that when done in the fall can help avoid big headaches this winter and next spring or even next summer.

  • One of the most important things to do now is to pull soil samples and get a soil test. Ask for the 2020 Tri-State Fertility Recommendations to be applied to the results. Apply fertilizer to correct any soil deficiencies and replace nutrients that were removed in hay and silage. Fall is a great time to apply both P and K to prepare established forage stands for winter. Soil sampling and testing are especially critical in preparation for making new forage seedings next spring or summer. Now is the time to apply lime to raise low soil pH levels for next year’s seedings. Soil preparation now will also help you be ready to plant when the first break in the weather comes next spring. Many headaches with forage stands can be greatly alleviated with proper fertility levels. Deficient fertility leads to weak forage stands that are susceptible to stresses (including winter injury) and especially weed invasion. Links to additional soil fertility resources can be found at https://forages.osu.edu/forage-management/soil-fertility-forages. Continue reading

H2Ohio Reminder

Fall Nutrient Applicator and Tractor

By Glen Arnold, CCA, OSU Extension

Harvest is starting and farmers participating in the H2Ohio program are reminded that any fall fertilizer applications, including manure, need to be approved by their local Soil & Water Conservation Districts. This will assure the application is in compliance with their Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan and there will be no problems with the payment process.

Many farmers will be working with their local fertilizer dealerships for fertilizer recommendations, but it is still a requirement to get approval from your local Soil and Water Conservation District before the fertilizer or manure is applied.

Fall-applied herbicides – what goes around comes around

Winter Annuals

Fall herbicide treatments have fallen off over the past several years for a couple of reasons, among them the effectiveness of new soybean trait systems for managing marestail, some generally crappy weather in late fall, and efforts to reduce input costs.  We are seeing a resurgence in some weeds, such as dandelion, which respond well to fall herbicides, though.   Some growers have also experienced issues with messy fields and late spring burndowns that could have been avoided with fall herbicides.  It’s worth recalling the history of fall herbicide applications, which helps explain some of their benefits, especially if you have not been managing weeds or making recommendations for as long as some of us have. Continue reading

Do your Ears Hang Low? – Premature Ear Declination in Corn

Collapsed ear shank of droopy ear

Collapsed ear shank of droopy ear

Taken from Purdue Extension, Chat and Chew Cafe – September 11, 2020 – Issue 2020.24 – By Bob Nielson

Droopy ears are cute on certain breeds of dogs, but droopy ears on corn plants prior to physiological maturity are a signal that grain fill has slowed or halted. Ears of corn normally remain erect until some time after physiological maturity (black layer development) has occurred, after which the ear shanks eventually collapse and the ears decline or “droop” down. The normal declination of the ears AFTER maturity is desirable from the perspective of shedding rainfall prior to harvest and avoiding the re-wetting of the kernels. PREMATURE ear declination, however, results in premature black layer formation, lightweight grain, and ultimately lower grain yield per acre.

What Causes Premature Droopy Ears? The most common contributing factor is severe drought stress that extends late into the grain-filling period. I have seen droopy ears in quite a few fields around Indiana these past few weeks in areas afflicted with severe drought stress. Even though Indiana has not experienced a lot of excessively hot (≥ 95o F) days in 2020, drought conditions coupled with sunny days and unusually low humidity (i.e., low dew point temperatures) result in significant evapotranspiration demands on the crop during grain filling. In most of the affected fields, the severity of leaf rolling and premature leaf death (senescence) due to drought stress was also high. Continue reading

It’s time for the Hessian Fly-free Date Again

Hessian Fly Free dates across Ohio. Paulding County’s date is September 24

By Andy Michel, Pierce Paul, Kelley Tilmon

The cold temperatures this week reminded us that we are approaching our fly-free date for Ohio. These dates are based on predictions on when most Hessian fly adults would no longer be alive to lay eggs on emerging wheat. Planting winter crops after this date is a good practice to prevent infestations. Areas of Northern Ohio can safely plant wheat after September 22, whereas the dates in southern Ohio extend to October 4 and 5.

The fly-free date can also be used for both cover crops and to manage diseases. A hessian fly can infest certain types of cover crops such as rye and triticale. While we may not worry about yield loss in cover crops, high populations in the winter may provide for infestations in the following spring. For diseases, the biggest advantage and most important benefit of planting after the fly-safe date is a reduction in the fall establishment of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV), Stagonospora blotch, and Septoria leaf spot.

Populations of the aphids that transmit BYDV are usually much lower after the fly-safe date, thus reducing the level of transmission of the disease to the new crop. BYDV tends to be more damaging and causes the greatest yield loss when it becomes established in the fall. For leaf diseases such as Stagonospora and Septoria, planting after the fly-safe date also reduces the risk of fall infections. When Stagonospora- and Septoria-causing fungi overwinter in the leaves, this usually gives both diseases a head-start in the spring, leading to great and earlier damage of the flag leaves before grain-fill is complete, and consequently, greater yield loss if a susceptible cultivar is planted and diseases are not managed with a fungicide.

Surface Application of Manure to Newly Planted Wheat Fields

Manure Application to Wheat

By Glen Arnold, Manure and Nutrient Management Specialist, OSU

Several livestock producers have inquired about applying liquid dairy or swine manure to newly planted wheat fields using a drag hose. The thought process is that the fields are firm (dry), there is very little rain in the nearby forecast, and the moisture in the manure could help with wheat germination and emergence.

The manure nutrients could easily replace the commercial fertilizer normally applied in advance of planting wheat. The application of fall-applied livestock manure to newly planted or growing crops can reduce nutrient losses compared to fall-applied manure without a growing crop.

Both swine and dairy manure can be used to add moisture to newly planted wheat. It’s important that the wheat seeds were properly covered with soil when planted to keep a barrier between the salt and nitrogen in the manure and the germinating wheat seed. It’s also important that livestock producers know their soil phosphorus levels, and the phosphorus in the manure being applied, so we don’t grow soil phosphorus levels beyond what is acceptable. Continue reading

Reports from National Ag Statistics for July published late June.

Reports from the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) for July 2020.

July 2020 Milk Production Report Ohio

July 2020 Milk Production Report published on August 20, 2020

Dairy herds in Ohio produced 475 million pounds of milk during July, up 4.4 percent from a year ago, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician of the USDA, NASS, Ohio Field Office. Production per cow in Ohio averaged 1,870 pounds for July, 50 pounds above July 2019. The dairy herd was estimated at 254,000 head for July, up 4,000 head from a year earlier.
Milk production in the 24 major States during July totaled 17.8 billion pounds, up 1.5 percent from July 2019. June revised production, at 17.5 billion pounds, was up 0.8 percent from June 2019. The June revision represented an increase of 59 million pounds or 0.3 percent from last month’s preliminary production estimate. Production per cow in the 24 major States averaged 2,016 pounds for July, 19 pounds above July 2019. The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major States was 8.83 million head, 44,000 head more than July 2019, and 2,000 head more than June 2020.

July 2020 Ohio Agricultural Prices

Ohio July Agricultural Prices published on August 31, 2020

Prices Received by Ohio farmers for the full month of July 2020 are listed in the table in the link provided above.
Some Ohio highlights were: July corn, at $3.47 per bushel, decreased $0.07 from June and decreased $1.12 from last year; July soybeans, at $8.95 per bushel, increased $0.13 from last month and increased $0.30 from last year; July wheat, at $5.17 per bushel, increased $0.10 from June but decreased $0.04 from last year; July milk, at $18.70 per cwt., increased $1.80 from last month and increased $0.30 from last year.

The July Prices Received Index 2011 Base (Agricultural Production), at 87.4, decreased 2.0 percent from June and 4.3 percent from July 2019. At 90.0, the Crop Production Index was down 2.0 percent from last month but up 0.9 percent from the previous year. The Livestock Production Index, at 84.5, decreased 2.5 percent from June, and 9.8 percent from July last year. Producers received higher prices during July for milk, market eggs, potatoes, and corn but lower prices for cattle, broilers, hogs, and oranges. In addition to prices, the indexes are influenced by the volume change of the commodities producers market. In July, there was increased monthly movement for grapes, wheat, hay, and tomatoes and decreased marketing of milk, oranges, cattle, and strawberries.

Herbicide Residue Considerations for Fall Cover Crop Establishment

Cover Crops in Corn Stalks

Article from CORN Newsletter on September 1, 2020 – By Mark Loux and Alyssa Essman, OSU

Herbicides with a residual that is used in corn and soybeans can affect the establishment of fall-planted cover crops and should be taken into account when planning cover crop practices and selecting species. Soil characteristics and weather also play a role in the persistence of residual herbicides, which can vary by field and year. More information is needed on rotational intervals for many cover crop species, and this information is often not included on herbicide labels. University weed scientists have studied the effect of residual herbicides on some of the most popular cover crop species in order to provide this information to growers. In general, residual herbicides that control grass weeds can hinder the establishment of grass cover crop species. Broadleaf cover crop species are most impacted by group 2 (ALS inhibitors), 5 (PSII inhibitors), 14 (PPO inhibitors), and 27 (HPPD inhibitors) herbicides (Purdue University). Continue reading

Battle for Lake Erie includes debate over manure-based phosphorus concentration

8/31/2020
BY TOM HENRY / THE BLADE

A major agronomic debate is being played out in Columbus now, which has potentially large ramifications for western Lake Erie and goes beyond simply looking at the staggering volumes of liquid and solid excrement produced by northwest Ohio cows, hogs, and chickens.

It focuses on the minutia of agricultural science, right down to the parts per million of phosphorus applied to soil in the form of manure.

One of the many groups raising questions is the Lake Erie Foundation, a consortium of Lake Erie-area business and environmental interests. That group and others, including Lake Erie Waterkeeper, want manure-based phosphorus applications dialed down to roughly the same concentration as commercially made, synthetic fertilizers, which is about 40 to 50 parts per million. Manure has for years been applied on northwest Ohio crop farms at much higher concentrations, usually 150 ppm. Some critics, though, claim the application rate has, in reality, gotten as high as 200 ppm to 250 ppm.

From information gathered in a public records request, the foundation believes the state of Ohio has rejected a recommendation from an independent consultant, McKinsey & Co., to promote 50 ppm as a limit for manure, even though Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture director, showed support for that in 2019. The firm was paid $1.5 million to provide advice to the DeWine administration for its H2Ohio program, which aims to improve water quality statewide through better farming techniques, more and improved wetlands, better pipelines, and other measures. Continue reading

Tar Spot – What is it?

Figure 2. Tar spot symptoms on leaves both on the lower and the upper canopy. (Photo Credit: Darcy Telenko)

While I have been out in Paulding county scouting in the last week, I have not noticed any tar spot in our cornfields as of yet.  It could be there though as I am not walking in every field. I wanted producers to take note of what Tar Spot looks like and some monitoring from our neighbors in Indiana and information from a previous CORN New Article.  Continue reading