Sheep Blog Offers Advice on Keeping the Flock Healthy and Profitable

COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you’re seeking the latest tips on when to give your sheep haircuts and what to feed lambs to be sold for someone’s dinner table, you can consult a newly-revived Ohio sheep blog.

The Ohio State University Sheep Team blog offers easily digestible doses of research findings on raising sheep, keeping them safe and healthy, and the business profitable. After a six-year run ending in 2014, the sheep blog was relaunched in August 2017.

Brady Campbell, sheep team program coordinator with Ohio State’s College of Food Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), manages the site and includes contributions from the more than 25 Ohio State faculty and staff interested in sustaining Ohio’s sheep industry.

“Ohio State has done a lot of research on sheep, but unfortunately not a lot of people are aware of the research,” Campbell said. “I think it’s important that this information is readily available online.”

That’s why Campbell turns research papers into shards of advice that people in the sheep industry can use.

Campbell is a third-generation shepherd whose master’s degree in animal sciences focused on sheep production, examining alternative management strategies to reduce parasitic infection.

Recent sheep blog posts offer advice on shearing female sheep, letting female sheep graze on corn stalks left over from the harvest and determining whether sheep are resistant to common products that eliminate parasites.

Managing parasites, one of the most serious issues for sheep raised on pasture land, is a particularly vexing problem for shepherds now, given that deworming medications no longer work for some sheep, Campbell said.

Sheep become infected by inadvertently eating the parasites, then spread it through their waste to other sheep, causing them to lose weight and grow weak.

Another key issue for shepherds is keeping records to ensure their sheep are properly identified and tracked, Campbell said. If a sheep has a weak immune system and performs poorly, it probably should be culled from a flock; conversely, if a sheep is high-performing, it’s important for a shepherd to know the sheep’s parents so that more sheep can be bred to also be high performers, Campbell said.

Shepherds in Ohio have small flocks, keeping an average of 36 sheep, so some may not be apt to keep detailed records on them since their sheep operation does not provide their primary income, Campbell said.

“A lot of producers have lost track of the basics of keeping records,” Campbell said.

By putting the latest research findings on sheep information in a blog, Campbell hopes to attract younger people to the site and inspire them to raise sheep, if they aren’t already doing so.

“Our younger shepherds are very hungry for information.”

To view the blog, see


A fairly common question this time of year – where I have planted cover crops, do I still need a fall herbicide treatment to help manage marestail? The underlying premise here is that where a cover crop develops enough biomass to adequately cover the ground by late fall, it can contribute substantial suppression/control of marestail. Grass covers seem to be most effective at suppressing marestail, as long as they are planted early enough in fall to develop this type of biomass. Grass covers can also be treated postemergence in the fall with several broadleaf herbicides, while this is not possible in covers that contain broadleaf crops – legumes, radish, etc. There are no hard and fast rules with regard to this situation but here are some things to think about:

– Herbicide options for cereal rye and wheat covers generally include all of the typical postemergence herbicides that are labeled for fall use in small grains – 2,4-D, dicamba, 2,4-D/dicamba premix, Huskie, etc. We do not recommend use of 2,4-D in fall on small grains grown for yield because of the potential for crop injury and yield loss. However, we have applied 2,4-D to cereal rye and ryegrass in our research, and either injury did not occur or was minor enough that we did not detect it. Yield is a not a factor for cover crops anyway. Late-planted rye and wheat, which would be less developed at the time of application, may be more sensitive to 2,4-D injury.

– Do not apply dicamba or 2,4-D around the time of planting due to risk of injury. Delay applications until cover has at least a few inches of growth. It is possible to make a preemergence application of glyphosate plus Sharpen, and Sharpen alone could work if marestail is the only weed of concern.

  • Decisions about whether to treat a cover yet this fall should probably be based on several factors and how they affect cover crop development and marestail control: date of cover planting – earlier is better; seeding rate – higher is better; row spacing – narrower is better; ground cover – more is better (or less bare ground observed is better); overall cover biomass – more is better. Some of these factors are related of course. A higher seeding rate may net be needed to obtain adequate ground cover when planting early, but it could help in later planting. Even where the cover is optimized, fall application may be the safe strategy in fields with a history of dense marestail infestations that always seem to be a problem to control.
  • Spring burndown management can also have a role in the fall herbicide decision. In our research in soybeans, maximum suppression of marestail often occurred when the cover crop kill in spring was delayed until close to planting, compared with early April, where we had substantial fall biomass. At one site however, the rye did not provide near as much suppression, and marestail control was maximized by applying in April, when marestail were smaller and more sensitive to 2,4-D. So it’s possible to compensate for the lack of a fall herbicide treatment by applying the burndown earlier, or by applying a more aggressive burndown treatment. For example, using dicamba in the soybean spring burndown/residual treatment will often result in more effective control compared with 2,4-D. Preemergence yuse of dicamba in Xtend soybeans also allows application of the burndown anytime before crop emergence if that’s the way a grower wants to manage the rye. Bottom line – relying on 2,4-D still in the spring burndown might sway the decision toward still treating in fall, while relying on dicamba could sway the decision the other way, all other factors being equal.

In summary, factors allowing for greatest possibility of skipping application of fall herbicides to the cover crop: 1) earliest possible cover planting and development of substantial fall growth that prevents bare ground; 2) use of more effective spring burndown herbicides; and 3) fields with low marestail populations.

MALTING BARLEY IN OHIO, Author(s): Pierce Paul, Laura Lindsey, Mark Loux

The number of acres planted to malting barley in Ohio this fall is at an all-time high and will likely continue to increase over the next few years. Although barley is not new to Ohio, raising it for malt is new to us and considerably different from raising it for feed or raising wheat for grain. In particular, the grain quality requirements for malting barley are different from the requirements for feed or grain, and as such there are a few differences in terms of how the crop is managed during the growing season. However, in spite of these differences, there are several key fall management guidelines for wheat and feed barley that would apply equally well to malting barley. For instance, variety selection, planting date, weed, disease, and pest control are just as important for malting barley as they are for wheat. See the links below from Ohio State and Cornell Universities for helpful tips on how to manage barley for malt in Ohio and the eastern US in general:


According to the USDA/NASS ( as of Sunday, Oct. 15, 21 percent of Ohio’s corn was harvested for grain, compared to 34 percent for last year and 32 percent for the five-year average. Wet weather delayed corn harvest across the state and is not helping with field drying. Some growers are delaying harvest until grain moisture drops further. However, these delays increase the likelihood that stalk rots present in many fields will lead to stalk lodging problems. Some serious stalk rot and lodging problems have already been reported, as shown in the image submitted by Curtis Young in Van Wert County. Leaving corn to dry in the field exposes a crop to unfavorable weather conditions, as well as wildlife damage. A crop with weak plant integrity is more vulnerable to yield losses from stalk lodging and ear drop when weathering conditions occur. Additional losses may occur when ear rots reduce grain quality and can lead to significant dockage when the grain is marketed. Some ear rots produce mycotoxins, which may cause major health problems if fed to livestock.

Several years ago we conducted a study that evaluated effects of four plant populations (24,000, 30,000, 36,000, and 42,000 plants/A) and three harvest dates (early-mid Oct., Nov. and Dec.) on the agronomic performance of four hybrids differing in maturity and stalk quality. The study was conducted at three locations in NW, NE, and SW Ohio over a three-year period for a total of eight experiments. Results of this study provide some insight on yield losses and changes in grain moisture and stalk quality associated with delaying harvest. The following lists some of the major findings from this research.


  • Results showed that nearly 90% of the yield loss associated with delayed corn harvest occurred when delays extended beyond mid-November.
  • Grain moisture decreased nearly 6% between harvest dates in Oct. and Nov. Delaying harvest after early to mid Nov. achieved almost no additional grain drying.
  • Higher plant populations resulted in increased grain yields when harvest occurred in early to mid-October. Only when harvest was delayed until mid-November or later did yields decline at plant populations above 30,000/acre.
  • Hybrids with lower stalk strength ratings exhibited greater stalk rot, lodging and yield loss when harvest was delayed. Early harvest of these hybrids eliminated this effect.
  • The greatest increase in stalk rot incidence came between harvest dates in October and November. In contrast, stalk lodging increased most after early-mid November.
  • Harvest delays had little or no effect on grain quality characteristics such as oil, protein, starch, and kernel breakage.

In this study, yields averaged across experiments, populations and hybrids, decreased about 13% between the Oct. and Dec. harvest dates. Most of the yield loss, about 11%, occurred after the early-mid Nov. harvest date. In three of the eight experiments, yield losses between Oct. and Dec. harvest dates ranged from 21 to 24%. In the other five experiments, yield losses ranged from 5 to 12%.

Grain moisture content showed a decrease from the Oct. to Nov. harvest dates but little or no change beyond the Nov. harvest dates. Grain moisture, averaged across experiments, hybrid, and plant population, decreased 6.3% points between the Oct. and Dec. harvest dates, with most of the decrease occurring between the Oct. and Nov. harvest dates (5.8 % points); only a 0.5 % point decrease occurred after early-mid Nov. Population effects on grain moisture content were not consistent. Differences in grain moisture were evident among hybrids on the first harvest date in early-mid Oct. but were generally negligible on the later dates.

A Field Loss Calculator for Field Drying Corn

Agronomists at the University of Wisconsin have developed a “Field Loss Calculator” Excel spreadsheet available at: that allows producers to calculate the costs of harvesting today versus allowing the crop to stand in the field and harvesting later. The spreadsheet accounts for higher drying costs versus grain losses during field drying. It allows the user to account for elevator discounts and grain shrink.

WHEAT MANAGEMENT FOR FALL 2017 Author(s): Laura Lindsey, Pierce Paul, Ed Lentz, CCA

Wheat helps reduce problems associated with the continuous planting of soybean and corn and provides an ideal time to apply fertilizer in July/August after harvest. With soybean harvest around the corner, we would like to remind farmers of a few management decisions that are important for a successful crop.

1.) Optimum seeding rates are between 1.2 and 1.6 million seeds per acre. For drills with 7.5-inch row spacing this is about 18 to 24 seeds per foot of row with normal sized seed. When wheat is planted on time, actual seeding rate has little effect on yield, but high seeding rates (above 30 seeds per foot of row) increase lodging and the risk of severe powdery mildew development next spring.

2.) Select high-yielding varieties with high test weight, good straw strength, and adequate disease resistance. Do not jeopardize your investment by planting anything but the best yielding varieties that also have resistance to the important diseases in your area. Depending on your area of the state, you may need good resistance to powdery mildew, Stagonospora leaf blotch, and/or leaf rust. Avoid varieties with susceptibility to Fusarium head scab. Plant seed that has been properly cleaned to remove shriveled kernels and treated with a fungicide seed treatment to control seed-borne diseases. The 2017 Ohio Wheat Performance Test results can be found at:

3.) Plant after the Hessian Fly Safe Date for your county. This date varies between September 22 for northern counties and October 5 for southern-most counties. Planting before the Fly Safe Date, increases the risk of insect and diseases problems including Hessian Fly and aphids carrying Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus. The best time to plant is within 10 days after the Fly Safe Date (click here for fly safe map). Fall wheat growth is reduced when planting is delayed resulting in reduced winter hardiness.

4.) Planting depth is critical for tiller development and winter survival. Plant seed 1.5 inches deep and make sure planting depth is uniform across the field. No-till wheat into soybean stubble is ideal, but make sure the soybean residue is uniformly spread over the surface of the ground. Shallow planting is the main cause of low tiller numbers and poor over-winter survival due to heaving and freezing injury. Remember, you cannot compensate for a poor planting job by planting more seeds; it just costs more money.

5.) Apply 20 to 30 lb of actual nitrogen per acre at planting to promote fall tiller development. A soil test should be completed to determine phosphorus and potassium needs. Wheat requires more phosphorus than corn or soybean, and soil test levels should be maintained between 25-40 ppm for optimum production. If the soil test indicates less than 25 ppm, then apply 80 to 100 pounds of P2O5 at planting, depending on yield potential. Do not add any phosphorus if soil test levels are higher than 50 ppm. Soil potassium should be maintained at levels of 100, 120, and 140 ppm for soils with cation exchange capacities of 10, 20, or 30 meq, respectively. If potassium levels are low, apply 100-200 pounds of K2O at planting, depending on soil CEC and yield potential. In Ohio, limed soils usually have adequate calcium, magnesium, and sulfur for wheat. Soil pH should be between 6.3 and 7.0. The key to a successful wheat crop is adequate and timely management.

News: Rust on Corn More Prevalent This Summer, Alayna DeMartini

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Resembling rust on a pickup, a fungal disease that can afflict corn has been confirmed in a higher than usual number of cornfields in southern Ohio.

Every year, some Ohio farmers find southern or common rust on their corn plants, but this year both diseases have been more prevalent, said Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension corn and small grain specialist. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.

Typically, rust fungi arrive late in the growing stage and do limited damage. However, this year farmers had to replant several times, and the younger corn plants are at greater risk for damage, Paul said. Common and southern rusts are most problematic when they infect the plant before it produces silk or a tassel.

Southern and common rusts form orangish and brownish raised spots, respectively, on the leaves of corn plants and can cause as much as 30 to 40 percent yield losses, particularly on susceptible corn varieties, Paul said.

Under hot, wet weather conditions, southern rust spreads quickly on a leaf, from one leaf to another, and from one plant to the next.

“I haven’t gone a day over the past two weeks without an email or a call or a box of (corn plant) samples to test,” Paul said.

This summer’s heavy rainfall and humidity may have created conditions that spurred the spread of southern and common rust, as well as other fungal disease on corn, said Peter Thomison, an OSU Extension agronomist.

Despite the heavier than usual presence of southern and common rusts, neither are nearly as frequent as two other fungal diseases, gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight, Thomison said. Gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight are beginning to show up, and the mild, wet conditions experienced over the last few days will certainly favor the latter.

Farmers finding a lot of rust or another type of fungal disease in their fields have to decide whether to fight it. For all four diseases (the two rusts, gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight), farmers need to scout fields before applying a fungicide because, from the road, the disease may not seen as widespread as it is, Paul said. He advised paying particular attention to the late-planted fields as they are the most vulnerable.

Since the price of corn is relatively low, it may not be economical for some farmers to invest in fungicide to fend off a disease, Paul said. A fungicide, if applied at the first signs of disease, could stop 75 to 90 percent of a field’s rust problem, but spraying it can cost up to $35 an acre, he said.

“Farmers don’t want it to reduce their yields. But they’re running the math in their heads to try to see if they’ll have a return on their investment,” he said.

Southern rust typically causes more damage than common rust. More prevalent in warmer climates, southern rust favors southern Ohio, while common rust flourishes in the more temperate climate of central and northern Ohio. The two rusts look slightly different. Southern rust is characterized by small, circular, light-orangish bumps predominantly on the upper surface of the leaves, whereas common rust produces larger, more elongated and darker, cinnamon-brown bumps on both leaf surfaces.

Rust fungi are not unique to corn. Several crops have a rust fungus that can attack them. Soybeans have one major rust fungus, corn and wheat have three, and each is specific to the plant, Paul said. So common rust that can affect corn does nothing to soybeans, and a soybean rust won’t harm corn.

POTENTIAL FOR SILK CLIPPING BY BEETLES Author(s): Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon

We have received many reports of Japanese beetles and other defoliators munching on soybean over the past few weeks with some reaching economic levels of defoliation. Like a few other insects Japanese beetles are “buffet style” eaters, they have many plants that they can feed on, including corn. On corn, much of the feeding occurs on silks where they chew the silks back to the ear tip and can interfere with pollination. Another well-known insect that can feed on silks is the adult corn rootworm (mainly the Western corn rootworm) that should begin emerging soon, if not already. As tasseling begins and silk emerges, growers will want to make sure that the silk feeding does not reach economic threshold and impact pollination. Common thresholds are: 1) if 5 or more rootworms or 3 or more Japanese beetles are found per ear, 2) if silks have been clipped to within 1/2 inch of the ear tip, and 3) pollination is less than 50% complete. As silk clipping is highest along the edges, growers should check at least 100 plants, (10 plants in 10 different areas) to sample the entire field for any signs of silk clipping.

HAY AND STRAW BARN FIRES A REAL DANGER. Author(s): Jason Hartschuh, Mark Sulc, Sarah Noggle, David Dugan

We’ve heard of one barn fire here in Ohio this morning and a lot of hay was put up last Thursday ahead of the rain. Much of the hay was wetter than it should have been for safe dry hay storage. Watch those moist bales very carefully for the next two to three weeks! Use a hay temperature probe and monitor the internal temperature of the hay during these first three weeks after baling.

Usually, we think of water and moisture as a way to put a fire out, but the opposite is true with hay and straw, which when too wet can heat and spontaneously combust. This is more common with hay than straw because there is more plant cell respiration in hay. When baled at moistures over 20% mesophilic bacteria release heat-causing temperatures to rise between 130⁰F and 140⁰F. If bacteria die and bales cool, you are in the clear but if thermophilic bacteria take over temperatures can raise to over 175⁰F.

The moist bales should be kept outside or in a well-ventilated area. Don’t stack the moist bales, because that prevents the heat and moisture left in the hay from escaping. It is normal for hay to go through a “sweat” in the first few days after baling. Internal temperatures of 110° F in the first five days after baling are quite common in our region and are not a big concern.

Assessing the Fire Risk

  • Most hay fires occur within the first six weeks after baling
  • Was the field evenly dry or did it have wet spots
  • Were moistures levels kept at 20% or less
  • If over 20% was hay preservative used

Monitoring at-risk Hay

If you are concerned that your hay or straw may be a fire risk, you should monitor it twice a day for the first six weeks or until low temperatures stabilize. Ideally, temperatures are taken from the center of the stack or down about 8 feet in large stacks.

If you have a long probe thermometer it can be used but some homemade options are available. A ¾ inch pipe with the ends closed into a point and 3/16 inch holes drilled in the bottom 4 inches can work well, lower a thermometer on a string or the sensor wire of a thermometer into the pipe. The sensor on a long wire can work very well once in place you can read temperatures without removing it. Leave the thermometer in the stack for 15 minutes to get an accurate reading.

Another cruder option is to stick a 3/8 pipe into the stack and pull out twice a day if the pipe is too hot to hold in your hand, you are at risk for a fire. Be very cautious when taking hay temperatures if the hay gets hot and a cavity burns out underneath you can fall in. Use planks to spread out your weight and have someone nearby in case you fall in a burned out pocket. Using a harness and tying yourself off would be even better as a safety measure when checking bales.

Hay bale temperatures of 120° to 130° F will likely result in mold growth and will make the protein in the hay less available to animals. While those temperatures are not high enough to cause hay fires, the concern is if the mold growth continues and pushes temperatures upward into the danger zone.

If the temperature in the hay continues to rise, reaching temperatures of 160° to 170° F, then there is cause for alarm. At those elevated temperatures, other chemical reactions begin to occur that elevate the temperature much higher, resulting in spontaneous combustion of the hay in a relatively short period of time. If the hay temperature is 175° F or higher, call the fire department immediately, because fire is imminent or present in the stack.

Critical Temperatures and Actions to Take

Temperatures (⁰F)

Condition and Action


No Action Needed


Hay is entering the danger zone. Check twice daily. Disassemble stacked hay bales to promote air circulation to cool the hay outside.


Hay has reached the danger zone. Check hay temperature every couple of hours. Disassemble stacked hay to promote air circulation to cool hay have fire department present while unstacking from here on.


Hot pockets are likely. Alert fire service to possible hay fire incident. Close barns tightly to eliminate oxygen


With the assistance of the fire service, remove hot hay. Be aware the bales may burst into flames keep tractors wet

200° +

With the assistance of the fire service, remove hot hay. Most likely, a fire will occur. Keep tractors wet and fire hose lines charged in the barn and along the route of where bales are to be stacked.


If you are in the risk zone and there is machinery or livestock also in the barn, remove them before removing the hay for safety. Also call the fire department when you are in the risk range. They would much rather be present and not have to put a fire out them have to call mutual aid when your entire barn is on fire. For more information on Preventing Fires in Baled have and straw visit-

Extreme caution needs to be taken when monitoring hot hay. Please read the article below for additional safety guidelines and procedures for monitoring hot bales and for preventing and controlling hay fires:

Hay Fire Prevention and Control, Virginia Cooperative Extension


Preventing fires in baled hay and straw. (2012). Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from

Hay Fire Prevention and Control, Virginia Cooperative Extension

News: Rain and Frost Leave Farmers Pondering Replanting, Alayna DeMartini

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Heavy rain saturated swaths of farmland across the state in recent weeks, compelling significant numbers of farmers to reorder seeds or take measures to help their newly planted corn or soybeans prosper.

Even many farmers who didn’t watch their seeds wash away in rivers of rain are still forced to consider: Should I replant?

Warm, dry weather in early April encouraged some farmers to plant early, but then the rain struck and stayed. And frost on May 7 and May 8 in many parts of the state only added to the problem.

Farm fields in the west-central counties near the Indiana border were drenched, the hardest-hit area in the state. In that region, which includes Darke, Auglaize, Mercer, Shelby and Miami counties, the amount of rain was three times more than usual, said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Between May 5 and May 6, rain totaled three to four inches in that region. Since the beginning of May, five to six inches have fallen there — about an inch higher than the typical total rainfall for that area for the entire month of May, Wilson said.

“It was like every field had a river running through it,” said Sam Custer, describing field conditions on May 5 in Darke County. “Everywhere was full of water.”

With the water, some newly planted seeds washed away, as did soil and nutrients, leaving farmers fretting, said Custer, an OSU Extension educator in the county.

Darke County has the highest number of corn and soybean acres in the state, and by April 28, nearly all the corn and almost half the soybean acres in the county had been planted, Custer said.

Be patient, he tells farmers.

“If we can get the crops replanted that need to be and just watch the crops come out of this wet and cold, the farmers will be alright, and they’ll see the possibility of a very good crop,” Custer said.

Cold Temperatures Compound the Problem

Cooler than normal temperatures and frost may have also slowed or stopped some wheat plants’ growth, particularly in areas where wheat is at the flowering stage, said Laura Lindsey, an OSU Extension soybean and small grains specialist. At that stage, the wheat is most vulnerable to below-freezing temperatures.

Colder weather can shut down a plant’s metabolism. Combine that with the rain, and plants become more susceptible to fungus and disease.

Weather challenges have come at a bad time for farmers statewide.

Across Ohio, as of May 7, 46 percent of corn was planted, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That compares to 30 percent that had been planted by the same time last year and 38 percent, the five-year average for that time period.

Soybean planting is ahead of last year’s planting. Sixteen percent of soybeans had been planted as of May 7, the agency said. That compares to 8 percent that had been planted by the same time last year and 14 percent, the five-year average for that period.

“Growers are concerned that there may be need for significant replanting of corn fields due to the cold and wet conditions,” Cheryl Turner, Ohio state statistician with the agency, said in a written statement.

The Rain Isn’t Over

More rain is on the way in the west-central region of the state, an expected one-half inch to one and one-half inches before the end of the week, Wilson said. But then there’s a reprieve: After this week, the forecast is for warmer, dryer weather.

“It is not that unusual to see heavy rainfall during the spring,” he said. “But, certainly the timing of this deluge is unfortunate, and the impacts may not be fully understood until the end of the growing season.”

Soil flooded more than 48 hours becomes depleted of oxygen. And without oxygen, a plant cannot take up nutrients from the soil or extend its roots.

“You may not have flooding on your field, but if you have saturated soils, it can be just as bad as having flooding,” said Peter Thomison, an OSU Extension agronomist.

Had the weather been above 77 degrees, the flooding would have had an even harsher effect, killing off plants in about 24 hours. So the cooler than normal weather has prolonged the survival of some flooded plants, Thomison said.

Once the growing point of the corn plant extends over the water level, the chance of the plant’s survival is significantly higher.

Still, plants that survive flooding are more likely to have roots that don’t develop fully, leaving the plants subject to more injury during a dry summer when long roots are needed to access the water lower down in the soil, he said.

Extra Care Needed for Soggy Soils

Even if water drains quickly from fields, muddy soil, when it dries, can form a crusty surface that could delay the emergence of the plant, Thomison pointed out. Farmers facing this situation may have to rotary hoe to break up the crusty soil.

Farmers should watch for seedling diseases as well.

The color of an emerging corn plant should be white or off-white; a darker color could signal the plant’s death, Thomison said.

The farmers who waited to plant corn can high-five their friends who did the same. The optimal time to plant corn is between April 10 and May 10, but sometimes farmers plant in late May because the weather deters them from planting sooner.

Planting later in the season comes with some challenges including a shorter growing season and a higher risk of disease and plants succumbing to insects.

“The goal should be to plant under as favorable conditions as possible,” Thomison said, “but that may be difficult this year.”


April will end warmer and wetter than normal. A series of storms will impact Ohio and surrounding areas later this week into next week. This will mean wetter than normal conditions into the first week of May. Temperatures will remain above normal as well. Rainfall on the attached graphic shows the heaviest will fall in central sections of the corn and soybean belt. Rainfall in Ohio will range from 2-4 inches for the next 2 weeks with heaviest totals in western areas of Ohio. Normal is about 2 inches.

The first week of May will be mild with wetter than normal weather. The middle of May will dry out and cool down before a warm finish to the month.

The outlook for summer still looks warmer than normal with rainfall highly variable with a tendency toward drier.