18,000 ways Ohio farmers are helping water

Here’s another reason to celebrate Ohio Agriculture Week, March 10–16:

At last count, nearly 18,000 farmers and others have successfully completed Ohio’s Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training. Provided by CFAES’ OSU Extension outreach arm, the state-required training shares science-based ways to keep nutrients in a field, where they work to feed cropsand out of water, such as Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico. Phosphorus and nitrogen are two of those nutrients.

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What’s new in research on water quality, farming

Chris Winslow, director of the Ohio State-based Ohio Sea Grant program and CFAES’ Stone Laboratory at Lake Erie, is among the speakers slated for a March 13 water quality meeting in Wapakoneta. The event will look at recent research—on harmful algal blooms, nutrient management, and more—and what it may mean for decisions made by farmers. The host is the Farmers Alliance LLC. Read more.

Register for Tri-State Water Quality Discussion

Chris Winslow, director of the Ohio State-based Ohio Sea Grant program and CFAES’ Stone Laboratory, will present “Nutrient Management Effects on Lake Erie” at State of the Lake: A Tri-State Water Quality Discussion, set for 5–8 p.m. Feb. 26 in Hillsdale, Michigan. Registration is $20, which includes dinner and resources, and is due by Friday, Feb. 22.

Also speaking at the event will be Extension educators from the tri-state area—Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana—who the event flyer says “will cover topics related to agriculture and nutrient management, including cover crops, the new Tri-State Fertility Guide, and fine-tuning a nutrient management plan.” Continuing education credits are available. Find out more and register.

Organizers of the event are Michigan State University Extension, Purdue Extension, and CFAES’ Ohio State University Extension outreach arm.

Hillsdale is about 75 miles west-northwest of Toledo, Ohio.

Better ways to prevent algal blooms

From a press release today by Ohio State science writer Misti Crane: “Predicting and pinpointing which farming practices are most likely to protect against environmental harm is a complex proposition, and researchers at The Ohio State University are working to fine-tune the tools that could help farmers and others prevent harmful algal blooms.” The researchers are with CFAES, and you can read the full story here.

Save inputs, protect water with new app

A new app is helping farmers save money while also protecting water quality. Developed by Ohio State experts including from CFAES, the Field Application Resource Monitor, or FARM, uses advanced weather forecasting — specific to a geographic area as small as 1.5 miles wide — to advise farmers on when to apply fertilizers and pesticides so rain doesn’t wash them away.

Read the full story. Visit the app’s website.

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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