by: Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist
In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act called for the establishment of an Extension program within land grant universities. The Act spells out that Extension is to disseminate “useful and practical information on subjects related to agriculture” and to disseminate reach being conducted at the experiment stations (OARDC here in Ohio). Over the year this “translation” of research has been done in a variety of ways including field days, seminars, one-on-one instruction, and via printed or digital newsletters. Traditionally, faculty who had Extension responsibilities on campus led research efforts, wrote academic journal articles, and then it was up to someone to share and interpret data that was meaningful to clientele in the counties across the state. eBarns, much like Ohio State Extension’s eFields publication does just that, putting the data of applied research into the hands of producers who can then interpret the research to make production decisions. eBarns in new in 2022, focusing on applied livestock, forage, and manure management research across Ohio. The report can be found online at go.osu.edu/ebarns2022. Within the report readers will find forages, dairy, beef, small ruminants, manure nutrients, and swine research projects highlighted and summarized in a user-friendly format. If there are questions regarding a study within the 2022 eBarns report or interest in becoming involved with eBarns efforts in the future contact Garth Ruff at email@example.com.
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is hosting a series of Farm Tours across Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan this summer to showcase organic and ecological farms in the region. Among those being showcased is Canal Junction Farm, right here in Paulding County! A Regenerative Grazing Pasture Walk will be held at the farm on Saturday, July 16th, 2022, starting at 10AM. The address is 18637 Rd. 168, Defiance OH. Questions can be directed to Ralph, Sheila, and Kyle Schlatter at (419) 399-7545 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Their farm’s website is canaljunction.com.
More information about this OEFFA Farm Tour and other stops along the tour can be found at OEFFA’s website, or this link.
If and when the seed can reach the soil in late winter while there is still freezing and thawing activity, clover can fill in bare spots and add to the density of the pasture stand.
In the past, as we’ve talked about the virtues of frost seeding, we’ve suggested it’s something that is best to occur in February or March during the period when the ground is freezing and thawing almost daily. In recent years freezing and thawing temperatures haven’t always happened after mid-February. Since it’s the freezing and thawing over time that gives frost seeding a great chance to work, the time for frost seeding may be upon us soon.
Frost seeding is a very low-cost, higher-risk way to establish new forages in existing fields by spreading seed over the field and letting the freezing and thawing action of the soil allow the seed to make “seed to soil” contact allowing it to successfully germinate. When you see soils “honeycombed” in the morning from a hard frost, or heaved up from a frost, seed that was spread on that soil has a great chance to make seed to soil contact when the soil thaws. I think the two biggest reasons why frost seeding fails is people wait too late to frost seed and the seed never makes good contact with the soil. I have heard some say that they like to “overseed” or just spread seed over an established stand. Let’s face it, if the seed does not land on the soil but on existing living or dead vegetation, it does not have a chance to successfully germinate: you need exposed soil. In light of the recent snow that’s arrived and/or expected throughout Ohio, it’s important to also note that frost seeding can be done over a thin layer of snow, however, it’s important to realize that rapid snowmelt can cause the seed to be washed away from where it’s needed.Continue reading →
Registration for this annual conference is due February 11
The Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council Annual Conference will be held in person on February 18, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Beck’s Hybrids at 720 US 40 NE, London, Ohio. The program theme is “Foraging for Profit.” All Ohioans involved in forage production and feeding are invited to attend.
The keynote speakers will be Greg Braun, Victor Shelton, and Bob Hendershot. All three are retired NRCS Grassland Conservationists from Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio respectively. The program is being sponsored by the Logan County Land Trust with generous support from the James Forsythe Milroy Foundation.
Additional featured speakers include Dr. Marilia Chiavegato, Assistant Professor at Ohio State University, and two of her students, Ricardo Ribeiro and Marina Miquilini, who will provide a University Forage Research Update. Several producer talks will also be presented including Hay Producer, Glen Courtright from South Charleston, Ohio; Dairy Producer, Jason Hartschuh from Sycamore, Ohio; and Sheep and Goat Producer, Shawn Ray from Cumberland, Ohio. To finish the program Greg Braun, Victor Shelton, and Bob Hendershot will be lead a discussion entitled “Hot Topics in Forages and Grazing.”
Additional details of the program and online payment are available at https://ohiofgc.square.site/. Registration is due by February 11, 2022. For more information, contact OFGC Executive Secretary- Gary Wilson at email@example.com or 419-348-3500.
Join the Digital Ag Team as they dive into research results from around the state of Ohio based on the 2021 eFields report. Registration is free but required. Have you been enjoying the 2021 fields Report and are excited to learn more? Join us to learn more about the eFields program and the results we are seeing across the state.
The program will happen on Tuesday, February 1 and 8 from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM. The format will be the same but due to participants registered different 2021 eFields reports may be discussed. CCA and CEUs will be offered.
By: Andy Michel, Mark Sulc, Curtis Young, CCA, Kelley Tillmon
Potato leafhopper (PLH) adults arrived in Ohio during the last week of June and the first week of July. Since then, the eggs have hatched and we are now seeing late-stage nymphs and adults infesting alfalfa fields. A few fields are showing the typical “hopper burn”, which is a triangular yellowing from the center of the leaf to the leaf margin. The more mature the crop of alfalfa is since the last cutting, the more the hopper burn symptoms will be showing. Hopper burn will also become more pronounced in areas of the state that are short on rain or are predicted to become drier because the alfalfa will not be able to outgrow the feeding activity of PLH. Scouting now and making appropriate management decisions based on the scouting can help avoid serious damage to the crop. Continue reading →
Join one or all three field days with forage producers across the state. Dates are June 25 (Crawford County), July 9 (Wayne County), August 28 (Licking/Knox Counties). Registration is located at http://go.osu.edu/foragefielddays2021 or by scanning the QR code in the article. The cost for the events will be $10 per location with a $5 discount if you are a member of OFGC (Ohio Forage and Grassland Council). 2021 OFGC Field Day Flyer
Figure 1: Accumulated growing degree days (base 48°F sine calculation method) for January 1- May 2, 2021, at several CFAES Ag Weather System (https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weather1/) locations and additional NOAA stations around Ohio (data courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (https://mrcc.illinois.edu).
Alfalfa fields across Ohio have been observed with alfalfa weevil infestations, some with high numbers and severe feeding damage to the alfalfa.
Accumulation of heat units (growing degree days or GDDs) for alfalfa weevil growth have progressed across Ohio and are now in the 325 to 575 heat unit range indicative of peak larval feeding activity (Figure 1). We are about 2 weeks ahead of GDD weevil accumulation last year.
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.
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 →
Six new articles have been posted in this week’s issue number 1235 of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter: http://u.osu.edu/beef/
Last week we offered suggestions for seedbed preparation and planting the new forage seeding. This week, Christine Gelley offers detail on forage seed selection. And, it may be March Madness for college basketball enthusiasts, but it’s spring training for Major League Baseball, and the bulls still waiting in the bullpen to get the call!
Articles this week include:
Selecting Forages for Your New Seeding
Taking the Bull from the Sale Ring or Winter Storage, Making Him the Athlete He Needs to Be
Minerals for Beef Cattle
Livestock and Grain Producers: Dealing with Vomitoxin and Zearalenone
Weighing the Options
March 1, 2021 Cattle on Feed Inventory up 1.6% from 2020
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.
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.
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 →
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 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 →
The best time to take the last harvest of alfalfa and other legumes is sometime in early September in Ohio, for the least risk to the long-term health of the stand. These forages need a fall period of rest to replenish carbohydrate and protein reserves in the taproots that are used for winter survival and regrowth next spring.
Many forage producers around the state have been cutting this past week and are continuing into this week. It will be ideal if this is indeed the last harvest of the season. But some growers might try to squeeze out another late cutting, and others have fields that are not quite ready for harvest right now. Like most farming decisions, there are trade-offs and risk factors to consider when making a fall harvest of forage legumes after the first week of September. This article reviews the best management practices and risk factors affecting fall cutting management. Continue reading →
Figure 1. Early November growth of Italian ryegrass (left) and oat+winter rye (right) after mid-September planting in Ohio
By Mark Sulc, Bill Weiss
Short-season forages planted in late summer can be sources of highly digestible fiber in ruminant livestock rations. There are several excellent forage options that can be considered for no-till or conventional tillage plantings in the late summer or early fall planting window. These forages can be a planned component of the overall forage production plan. They can be utilized on land that would otherwise sit idle until next spring, such as following wheat or an early corn silage harvest.
Oat or Spring Triticale silage
These cereal forages can be planted for silage beginning the last week of July and into early September. Dry matter yields of 1.5 to 3 tons per acre (about 5 to 5.5 tons at 30 to 35% DM) of chopped silage are possible if planted in late July to early August. Harvesting between late boot, or early heading, will optimize quality. Yields will be lower for plantings made in early September, in which case late autumn grazing would be a more viable option.
The potential feed value of oat silage can be similar to mid-bloom alfalfa. As a grass, maximum inclusion rates in diets for animals with high nutritional demand (e.g. lactating cows) are less than those for alfalfa, but it is a very acceptable feed.
Spring Triticale is the biotype of the hybrid cross between cereal rye and wheat (there is also a winter biotype that acts like winter wheat). In our research, oat averaged slightly higher fall yields than spring triticale, but this varied across years. If cut at the proper maturity, spring triticale forage has a higher feed value than oat, similar to early-bloom alfalfa. Seed cost for spring triticale is usually higher than oat, but it is later maturing than oat or barley and will maintain its forage quality for an extended harvest window. Continue reading →
The month of August provides the second window of opportunity for establishing perennial forage stands this year. The primary risk with late summer forage seedings is having sufficient moisture for seed germination and plant establishment, which is a significant risk this summer given the low soil moisture status across many areas.
The decision to plant or not will have to be made for each individual field, considering soil moisture and the rain forecast. Rainfall/soil moisture in the few weeks immediately after seeding is the primary factor affecting successful establishment.
No-till seeding in August is an excellent choice to conserve soil moisture for good germination. Make sure that the field surface is relatively level and smooth if you plan to no-till seed because you will have to live with any field roughness for several years of harvesting operations.
Sclerotinia crown and stem rot is a concern with no-till seedings of alfalfa in late summer and especially where clover has been present in the past. This pathogen causes white mold on alfalfa seedlings and infects plants during cooler rainy spells in late October and November. Early August plantings dramatically improve the alfalfa’s ability to resist the infection. Late August seedlings are very susceptible to this disease, with mid-August plantings being intermediate. Continue reading →
Management of potato leafhopper was needed weeks before this hopper burn.
By Christian Krupke and John Obermeyer, Purdue University
Potato leafhopper populations were noticeably higher after last week’s tropical storm remnants blew through, and now the warmer temperature will drive further increases. Potato leafhoppers won’t mind this heat, and alfalfa pest managers should begin sampling their alfalfa shortly after cutting. Continue reading →
Teff, Italian ryegrass, oats, and corn were included with 5 other ‘covers’ in this study
The combination of poor quality hay made in 2018, historic alfalfa winter kill, and excessive rainfall across most of Ohio in the spring of 2019 created a large need for high-quality alternative forage sources this past year. Record amounts of prevented plant acreage across the state created an opportunity to grow forages on traditional row cropped acres. As crop and livestock producers planted a variety of forage and cover crop species to supplement feedstocks, it was recognized that there was also a need to gather forage analysis results from these fields in order for growers to properly value and feed the forage grown. The following data are from cover crop forage samples that were submitted by farmers and from OARDC research stations where annual forages were grown as part of the 2019 Ohio State eFields program available at your local extension office or digitalag.osu.edu/efields. Continue reading →