I know we are supposed to already know the basics, but sometimes we forget

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension

One of my buddies often takes calls and visits fields where a problem has occurred. And although he doesn’t say this to the grower or crop consultant he visits with, afterward he tells me “it’s the agronomy, stupid.”

I have taught from the Ohio Agronomy Guide this year and used it for some excerpts a couple of other times as well — and even I forget what is in there. I sat last evening with one of our county folks — a good one, Bruce Clevenger — and an industry agronomist. We went through the Agronomy Guide and just kept finding these words of wisdom. I hope you will read through the publication but I want to share some of the nuggets that Bruce and I found:

  • How is CEC determined? 
    • Page 28 — CEC = ppm Ca/200 + ppm Mg/121 + ppm K/390 + 1.2 x (7-BpH). So it is calculated not directly measured.
  • When should you harvest corn?
    • Page 50 — The ideal kernel moisture level at which to harvest for grain storage is 25%. Doing this last fall would have saved a lot of Vomitoxin development assuming grain was dried when put in the bin.
  • What form of nutrient is taken up by the plant? And no they are not organic.
    • Page 50 — Table 3-1 shows the essential elements required by plants. Did you know that C, H, O make up 96% of the plant — all the rest are just rounding error. Wow!
  • Why do we still use the Hessian fly-safe date?
    • Page 70 — Avoid planting wheat prior to the fly-safe date because of the possibility of early establishment of foliar diseases, severe damage by barley yellow dwarf virus, and Hessian fly. So Hessian fly is not the only reason and not even the first reason — but also agronomically, planting in the 10 days after fly-safe date is when we get our highest yield.
  • When should we stop forage harvest in the fall? 
    • Page 98 — Because the plant needs to build reserves to get through winter and make growth in the spring complete last harvest September 7 in northern Ohio, September 12 in central Ohio and September 15 in southern Ohio.

The Ohio Agronomy Guide is available from the OSU Extension Publications group as a pdf: E472HO for $8.25: https://extensionpubs.osu.edu/ohio-agronomy-guide-pdf/. A digital copy rides in my smartphone, so I can double check something when on a field visit.

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  1. Harold, what a great reminder of the tried and true Agronomy Guide.

  2. With these knowledge, Agronomy engineers are able to set up their own farm or crop and livestock service business in an environmentally jigsaw puzzle sustainable manner.

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