Weather or not to apply fertilizer

(Photo: Getty Images)

Using real-time precipitation forecasts and historical climate data, Ohio State’s new Field Application Resource Monitor (FARM) website tells you the best times to apply fertilizer and manure, based on your exact location. It can tell you whether rain is coming that could wash your fertilizer or manure away. Avoiding that washing-away can benefit your crops, your costs and water quality. Check out the site.

Algal bloom conference in Toledo

Ohio State’s Ohio Sea Grant program hosts the third annual Understanding Algal Blooms: State of the Science Conference — featuring scientists’ latest findings about algal blooms, their causes and the best ways to prevent them — on Sept. 13 in Toledo. Experts from CFAES will be among the dozen or so speakers. Continue reading

No more guessing at nitrogen levels?

Scientists from CFAES and Cornell University are developing a fast way for farmers to test the nitrogen levels in their soils. Nitrogen is a nutrient, provided in fertilizer, that’s key to the growth of crops. Not enough of it, and crops don’t produce as much food as they should. But too much, and the excess can be washed away from a crop field by rain and get into lakes and streams, possibly causing algal blooms and “dead zones” or, in its nitrate form, making drinking water unsafe for pregnant women and babies.

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Forecast: Still some green, hopefully less

Experts are predicting that the harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie this summer will be smaller than last year’s, which was the third-largest ever recorded, but will be larger than the mild bloom in 2016. The bloom is expected to measure 6 on the severity index, but could range between 5 and 7.5, according to a forecast issued yesterday by a team of scientists including from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Ohio State’s Ohio Sea Grant program.

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Thursday: Observing, aiding Lake Erie

June 28’s program in Stone Lab’s annual summer Guest Lecture Series features the executive director of the National Ocean Service’s Great Lakes Observing System and the western Lake Erie project director for The Nature Conservancy in Ohio. Find out more.

Stone Lab, part of CFAES, is located at Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie.

Watch: Working with Ohio’s farmers to use and improve watershed models

CFAES’s 2018 Annual Research Conference, held on the Wooster campus on April 27, featured keynote presentations by researchers from Iowa and Arkansas; a panel discussion featuring stakeholders from Ohio’s agricultural community; updates by CFAES leaders; and eight fast-paced lightning-round talks by CFAES scientists — good examples of the many ways that CFAES is working to improve water quality, while also securing its food production.

Margaret Kalcic of CFAES’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering was one of those lightning-round speakers. Her lab, according to its website, works “to provide producers in the western Lake Erie watersheds, as well as their advisors, information that encourages adoption of appropriate conservation measures to tackle Lake Erie’s nutrient goals.”

You can watch her (short!) presentation in the video above.

This could be the No. 1 way to keep phosphorus out of Lake Erie

The cheapest, most cost-effective way to reduce the phosphorus getting into Lake Erie is by taxing farmers on their purchase of the nutrient or by paying them not to use it on their fields. That’s according to a study by Shaohui Tang and Brent Sohngen, both of CFAES’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics.

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