Some 1.5 million acres of Ohio’s farm fields—an area twice the size of Rhode Island—didn’t have any corn, soybeans, or other cash crops planted on them this year. Reason: Record spring rain made the ground too wet to plant. Now those fields are at risk of problems from something called fallow syndrome, which is caused by the loss of crop-friendly microbes that live—or lived—in the fields’ soils.
CFAES’ Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and a 2019 winner of the prestigious Japan Prize, was interviewed for a recent story in the Wall Street Journal. In “How to Get Rid of Carbon Emissions: Pay Farmers to Bury Them,” Lal talks about whether paying farmers to sequester carbon to fight the climate crisis is realistic or not, and what some feasible goals could be. The story is here, but you’ll need a subscription to read it.
Why it’s important: Ohio’s hay supply for livestock is currently extremely low due to spring’s excessive rainfall. Growing flooding-tolerant forages to feed livestock could limit the risk from such rain in the future. (Photo: Tall fescue, James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org.)
From a recent Ohio State press release, details on research involving a Buckeye in the College of Engineering:
“Electricity grids that incorporate storage forpower sourced from renewable resources could cut carbon dioxide emissions substantially more than systems that simply increase renewably sourced power, a new study has found.
“The study, published … in the journal Nature Communications, found that storage could help make more efficient use of power generated by sources such as wind and solar and could help power grids move away from relying on fossil fuels for energy.”
CFAES recently launched a new website for farmers hit by Ohio’s record rain. Called “Addressing 2019 Agricultural Challenges,” the site gives help on topics related to the ongoing rain-caused farming crisis—from prevented planting to crop insurance to managing stress and more.
Ohio’s unplanted, late-planted, and drowned farm fields, along with those present throughout the Midwest, are actually visible from space, according to a July 2 Washington Post story that interviewed, among others, CFAES soybean expert Laura Lindsey. As seen by satellite, the story says, the region’s beleaguered fields are “more brown belt than farm belt.”
“Right now, farmer stress levels are really high,” Lindsey is quoted as saying in the story. “Farmers are worried about losing their farms.”