Remember the basics when getting back to planting

By Andy Westhoven, AgriGold Regional Agronomist, CPAg, CCA

I realize it is now mid-May and plenty of corn and soybean fields have been planted, but the feeling of planting crops when the markets have rallied is a beloved feeling by all. Another common sentiment with higher commodity prices is the willingness to try something new or different. If you are willing to step outside the box, please remember some of these general basics.

The planter is the most important pass of the season and no one enjoys a redo. Make sure to focus on the three key principles for germination: 1) uniform soil temperature, 2) uniform soil moisture, 3) consistent seed to soil contact. Oh, and plant two inches deep! (Couldn’t help myself.) If you have not finished planting your crops, one lesson we have learned in recent years is the ability to plant late (into June) and still reach respectable yields.… Continue reading

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Ohio Soybean Council launches website for carbon market resources

The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) has launched a new website for Ohio farmers interested in learning more about carbon programs. The site will help farmers answer common carbon-related questions, compare carbon programs available in Ohio and compile the questions they need to consider before enrolling in a program. Interested farmers can also sign-up to receive bi-weekly email updates about the latest news affecting carbon markets. The new site is available at

“Right now, carbon markets are a lot like the Wild West,” said Ryan Rhoades, Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) president and Marion County soybean farmer. “Each program has its own requirements and ways of measuring success so the sheer amount of information that exists can be overwhelming for farmers who are just trying to make the best decision for their operation.”

That is where OSC stepped in.

“As we began to learn about the carbon programs available in Ohio, we realized there was not a ‘one-stop-shop’ resource for farmers to compare programs and answer initial questions,” said Bill Bateson, OSC chairman and Hancock County soybean farmer.… Continue reading

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Growing Degree Days vs. calendar days — How long will emergence take?

By Alex Lindsey and Greg LaBarge, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 13-2021

When we examine crop emergence post-planting, two factors can impact speed of emergence — soil moisture content and soil temperatures. If soil temperatures are lower, it can take more calendar days for emergence to occur meaning rowing corn may take a little more time. In the Ohio Agronomy Guide, emergence should begin to occur after approximately 100 air GDDs.

A difference in 10 degrees in temperature can dramatically affect how quickly crops will emerge. For example, at a temperature of 60 degrees F heat unit accumulation per day would be 60 F – 50 (base temperature for growth) = 10 GDDs. If it takes 100 GDDs to start to see emergence, at this rate it would take 10 calendar days to see the crop start to emerge. If temperatures are 70 degrees F, heat unit accumulation per day would be 70 F – 50 = 20 GDDs.

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Does wheat need more N with wet weather?

By Laura LindseyEd Lentz, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

We’ve had several days of extremely wet weather, and there are some questions regarding the need for additional nitrogen fertilizer. Last week, wheat was between Feekes 8 and 10.2, depending on the area within the state. At this point in the growing season, additional nitrogen fertilizer applied to winter wheat is unlikely to increase grain yield.

As a reminder, nitrogen should be applied to wheat between green-up and Feekes 6 growth stage. Between Feekes 5-6 growth stage, wheat plants begin to rapidly take-up nitrogen from the soil. Nitrogen fertilizer can be applied as late as Feekes 7 growth stage if wet weather prevented an earlier application, but mechanical damage can occur from applicator equipment.… Continue reading

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Slugs will go after cover crops too

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Farmers plant cover crops for a number of reasons. Improving soil health, increasing water infiltration, reducing soil erosion, enhancing soil life and microbial biodiversity and breaking up soil compaction layers are just a few benefits cover crops provide. It is often said that to ensure a successful cover crop stand, a farmer should to be just as intentional when planting and establishing a cover crop as they are for their cash crops. One factor not often considered when establishing a cover crop is the threat of slugs.

Liz Bosak, Extension Educator Photo Credit Penn State University

Liz Bosak, an Extension Educator in Perry County with Penn State University, was recently featured on the “Cover Crop Strategies’ podcast discussing when during the growing season to look out for slugs, how slugs damage cash crops and cover crops, the weather conditions slugs prefer, and more.

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Are periodical cicadas a threat to field crops?

By Curtis Young, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Are periodical cicadas a threat to field crops? The quick and dirty answer to this question is NO. Are they a thread to the health and welfare of anything? There is no quick and dirty answer to this question.

The best way to answer the second question is to start by looking at what the periodical cicada is, what it feeds on, where one would expect to find them, and its life cycle.

The periodical cicada or 17-year cicada is an insect with an extremely long life cycle that takes 17 years to get from the egg stage to the adult stage. Some people mistakenly refer to this insect as a locust. Unfortunately, locusts and cicadas are not one-in-the-same.  Locusts are a type of grasshopper (Order Orthoptera).  Cicadas (Order Hemiptera) are not grasshoppers. And the 2 look nothing like one another.

The periodical cicada feed mostly in their nymphal stages and are hosted by trees of many species.… Continue reading

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Planting date

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc. 

For much of the Eastern Corn Belt it is widely understood that the optimal planting period is between April 20th and May 10th. Research has proven that corn loses yield potential daily when planted after the beginning of May. For the Central Corn Belt, the declines in yield potential due to planting delays vary from about 0.3% per day early in May to about 1% per day by the end of May according to Bob Nielsen at Purdue University. Knowing that this is true, it can be frustrating during a wet spring or when field work is delayed for one reason or another. Planting is a critical component of a successful crop as it sets the stage for the entire growing season. However, it is important to keep in mind that early planting is just one of many factors that contribute to high yield potential.… Continue reading

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Starting right to finish well

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Is there a place for using a starter fertilizer when planting soybeans? Farmers often think of using starter fertilizers when planting corn for various reasons. These can include: giving roots early access to plant nutrients, to stimulate early plant growth, to improve stand uniformity, to add micronutrients, and hopefully to increase yield.

Kurt Steinke, associate professor, Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Specialist for Michigan State University Extension has looked at research conducted when using starter fertilizer applied as a 2×2 when planting soybeans in 30 inch rows.

“The first thing to consider when thinking about using a starter fertilizer on soybeans, it what are your soil test concentrations,” Steinke said. “What are the P and K levels? If the K levels are not deficient, then a farmer can probably go without K in the starter.”

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Is there a fit for in-season liquid manure application for soybeans?

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Glen Arnold, Field Specialist for Manure Nutrient Management Photo Credit The Ohio State University

The use of livestock manure as a source of nutrients for crop production has been in place for decades. Manure is typically applied in the summer after wheat harvest, or in the spring prior to planting corn and soybeans, or in the fall after harvest.

“The vast majority of liquid livestock manure in the Western Lake Erie watershed is surface applied in the fall without a growing crop. This results in most of the nitrogen being lost, and a portion of the phosphorus,” said Glen Arnold, Field Specialist for Manure Nutrient Management with The Ohio State University.

Over time, as the livestock industry has evolved, more livestock production systems are managing liquid manure versus solid manure.

“Basically, we have built up a lot of liquid manure storage and application capacity and a lot of expensive equipment is used to move a lot of manure.

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Maximizing crop yield at planting

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

High grain prices for grain crops make any planting mistakes extremely costly.  Most corn yield is determined within the first several weeks.  Soybeans are a little more forgiving but any type of environmental (weather) or biological (weeds, disease, insects) stress can impact yields.  Healthy plants tolerate stress better than plants that are nutrient deficient.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

For corn, the best time to plant traditionally has been May 1-through May 10 according to Ohio State University Research.  Weather delays often make it hard to get all acres planted at this time.  Current varieties have a tremendous ability to compensate and still get good yields, but getting that plant off to a good start is critical.

Regarding soil health, soil microbes process the majority of the nutrients a plant absorbs.  Cold or wet conditions slow microbial growth and hurt plant growth. 

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Science for success: Answering soybean questions

With funding from United Soybean Board, soybean agronomists across the U.S. are hosting a ‘Notes from the Field’ webinar series the first Friday of each month beginning May 7. Join research and extension specialists from Land Grant institutions for monthly informal discussion on production topics of timely relevance. Bring your questions!

When-  May 7, June 4, July 9, and August 6 at 9:00 a.m. eastern time

Want to plug in- Register to attend (via Zoom) for each monthly session and you will receive Zoom login information. Register at:

If you have any questions, please contact Laura Lindsey ( or 614-292-9080).

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GMO versus non-GMO crops

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Ohio is one of the leading states planting Non-GMO crops.  GMO stands for genetically modified organisms.  About 92% of the US corn and 94% of soybeans in 2018 were genetically modified for weeds, insects, or drought tolerance.  Japan and many European countries are demanding crops that are Non-GMO, so farmers can pick up premiums by growing these crops.  Premiums vary by company, crop variety, and purity but premiums may be around $0.25 per corn bushel and $1-$2 per bushel on soybeans.

In a GMO crop, scientist identify a gene in a organism, then copy and insert that gene into a crop like corn, soybeans, potatoes, etc.  GMO crops are typically resistant to herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup with CP4 gene) or Glufosinate (Liberty Link, PAT gene).  GMO corn insecticides resistance is obtained by using up to seven genes from the Bacterium thuringiensis that produces proteins that are toxic to certain insect pests like corn rootworm, corn stalk borer, corn earworms, fall army worm and several other insect pests. 

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Avoid spreading SCN

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

Greg Tylka, Nematologist. Photo Credit: Iowa State University

As spring planting season rolls into full force, one of the last things on a farmer’s mind is the risk of spreading Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) during planting. “Anything that spreads soil spreads nematodes,” said Greg Tylka, Iowa State University Nematologist. This includes not just tillage equipment and planters, but even tractor and implement tires. If the tires are in a field with SCN and have soil that sticks to the tires, then that soil containing SCN can be spread to another field when if falls off.

The SCN Coalition campaign, “What’s your number? Take the test. Beat the Pest.”, encourages farmers to regularly test their fields for SCN. One of the only ways to reduce the likelihood of spreading it is to be aware of what fields have it present and at what levels.

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Ohio man sentenced for stealing grain

By Jeff Lewis, Research Specialist, Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Law Program 

How often do you hear of farmers being victims of theft and a criminal on the run?  Well, last month an Ohio man was sentenced to one year in prison and 5 years of probation after stealing over $94,000 in harvested grain.  The defendant took his employer’s gravity wagon full of grain and sold it to a local co-op in Ashland County under false pretenses.  

After the theft was discovered, the defendant fled from Ohio, eventually having to be extradited from New Mexico.  This case demonstrates just how vulnerable farmers are to potential crimes.  For more information on intentional harm to farm property and your rights, check out our law bulletin.… Continue reading

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Controlling corn and soybean pests

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Controlling pests of corn and soybeans can be difficult.  Most farmers rely on seed treatments and broad-spectrum insecticides which terminate the pests but also takes out the beneficial natural predators.  The most common Ohio pests in corn and soybeans fields with cover crops are wireworm, seed corn maggot, black cutworm, true armyworm, slugs, and grubs.

Wireworms have a five-year life cycle with adults (called click beetles) laying 100-200 eggs in the spring and early summer.  Larva live in the soil until they mature into adults. Wireworms are a copper color, long, and slender. Wireworms damage corn and soybean seeds and cause seedling roots damage.

Wireworms have many natural predators including centipedes, soldier beetles, wasp which infect their eggs, and parasitic nematodes.  Metarhizium fungi are a great wireworm predator; infecting the eggs, larva, and pupae and may give up to 95% control.  Metarhizium fungi infect up to 200 insect species in 50 families including root weevils, flies, gnats, thrips, locust, grasshoppers, grubs, borers, even mosquitoes.

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Rain slows planting progress

Farmers continued fieldwork as conditions allowed, but increased precipitation as the week progressed slowed planting progress, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil
moisture conditions were rated 93 percent adequate to surplus, up 6 percentage points from the previous week.

Temperatures for the week ending May 2 averaged almost 3 degrees above historical normals, while the entire State averaged 1.17 inches of precipitation. There were 3.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 2. Snow and freezing temperatures occurred last week but nothing extremely damaging was reported. Oats were 81 percent planted and oats emerged was 54 percent. Corn planted progress was at 22 percent complete while corn emerged was at 4 percent. Soybeans planted progress was 17 percent and soybeans emerged was 4 percent; weeds were reportedly an issue in some soybean fields. Winter wheat jointing was 76 percent and the winter wheat crop was rated 81 percent good to excellent condition.… Continue reading

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Early season crop scouting

By John Fulton and Elizabeth Hawkins

Planting is one of the critical field operations during the growing season with yield potential established and impacted once seed is placed in the soil. Uniform emergence and making sure the correct population emerges are important objectives after planting. Emergence is impacted by plant density, seed-to-soil contact within the furrow, seeding depth, soil moisture, soil temperature, seed size, seed orientation, and genetics. It is important to scout your corn and soybeans to evaluate planter performance and crop establishment. Scouting can provide valuable field-by-field insights on how planter performance affected yield potential. 

Scouting can be enhanced by using one of the several mobile applications (APPs). Not only can you take notes, these mobile applications allow you to drop geo-referenced pins and collect images at these points. Another aspect of these mobile applications is the ability to share this information with others within the farm operation or with your trusted advisor. … Continue reading

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Overholt Drainage Workshop


By Vinayak Shedekar, Ohio State University Extension

Join Ohio State University Extension for a webinar focused on drainage design, installation, and management including updates on recently passed H.B. 340 on Ohio’s “petition ditch laws” that address the installation and maintenance of drainage works of improvement in Ohio. A panel of professional engineers representing state and federal agencies, drainage contractors, and tile manufacturers will discuss some standard practices, common issues, and troubleshooting associated with drainage design, installation, and repairs.

The 2021 Overholt Drainage Workshop will be held Wednesday, June 9, 2021 9 a.m. to noon. There is no cost to attend, but registration required. (Register Here) or visit: There are CEU credits available for CCAs and Professional Engineers.… Continue reading

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Early weed control, bumping seed rate could pay big dividends

By Dave Nanda, Ph.D., Director of Genetics for Seed Genetics Direct

Dave Nanda

I favor early planting if the ground is ready. However, earlier planting also requires early weed control. I saw several fields last year where weed control was not very effective, perhaps due to too much rain. Is early weed control necessary? Yes, because the micro-environment of each plant is very important for their ability to reach maximum yield potential. Plants sense early on if they have competition from weeds or other crop plants, and they start to react and plan their future accordingly. If growers can reduce pressure from weeds, it will encourage crops to produce more yield. 

It is especially important to control weeds early so herbicide-resistant weeds won’t get started. Many weeds, such as marestail and waterhemp, have developed resistance to glyphosate herbicide because it was used on millions of acres of corn and soybeans. Genetic and chemical suppliers promoted the use of glyphosate in spite of warnings by many university scientists and crop consultants.… Continue reading

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