Drainage water management and winter cover crops

By Vinayak Shedekar, Rachel Cochran and Boden Fisher

With water-level control structures for controlled drainage gaining popularity in farms across Ohio, some questions about the management practice have surfaced, including this one: How can we effectively utilize both controlled drainage and winter crops? 

The NRCS Practice Standard 554 recommendation is to raise the outlet elevation of the water control structure to within 12 inches or less of the ground surface during non-cropped (fallow) periods. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t pose any issues, as there isn’t a need for field trafficability in the wintertime. However, having a water table within 6 inches to 12 inches of the soil surface while a crop is growing in that field may pose some risk for the crop’s root growth and yield potential. We spoke with experts in and around Ohio and a few farmers who are already using controlled drainage and winter crops to find out how they are managing both practices.… Continue reading

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Weed management considerations (part 4)

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off

Weed control in soybeans and herbicide trials have been the subject of research conducted in the Becks Practical Farm Research (PFR) the last several years. Getting back to the basics of herbicide application and tank mixing, and even the water used as a carrier are important considerations. “Most of the water used for spraying is well water which has varying degrees of hardness,” said Luke Schulte, Field Agronomist for Becks. “Anything about 125 parts per million is considered hard. The calcium and magnesium present in the water are cations that make water hard and can interfere with herbicide performance.”

The use of ammonium sulfate (AMS) to condition spray water is important for multiple reasons.

“AMS has two roles. The first role is as a nitrogen source to bond and magnetize with the weak acids herbicide to help move it into the plant,” Schulte said.

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Enlist herbicide banned in 12 Ohio counties

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a new seven-year registration for Enlist One and Enlist Duo, valid through January 2029. Changes include a revised application cutoff for soybeans, “through R1” that replaces “up to R2” on previous labels, and the addition of a slew of spray nozzles to the approved nozzle list. The most significant change for Ohio is that, due to changes in Endangered Species information, Enlist One and Enlist Duo cannot be used in 12 Ohio counties: Athens, Butler, Fairfield, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hocking, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Vinton, and Washington. We contacted Corteva to see if this was likely to change anytime soon, and got no assurances of this, although the PR information they have distributed indicates it is possible. 

This really couldn’t happen at a worse time for growers in these counties. We’re in the middle of an endless pandemic, a worldwide shipping fiasco, with herbicide scarcities and price increases, and parts shortages.… Continue reading

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Weed management considerations (part 3)

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off

Planting soybeans early can pay off.

“When you think about all the management practices preformed on a soybean field, such as tillage or foliar feeding, the most common thread among high yielding soybeans is planting as early as you can,” said Luke Schulte, Field Agronomist for Becks. “The risk of early planting is a higher volume of cold fronts with cold wet soils. Those conditions can impact soybean growth and herbicide metabolism. Injured soybeans may not metabolize certain herbicides as efficiently when injured.”

Yield loss can occur if there is injury to beans, but also if there are weed escapes from the pre- that needs to be contended with in the post application.

When going into a season, the weather and growing conditions need to be taken into consideration when implementing a herbicide program.

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Soybean farmers invited to participate in survey

Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois, and Carl Zulauf, Emeritus Professor, The Ohio State University, are conducting an online survey of soybean growers in nine soybean producing states, including Ohio. The nine states represent 75% of U.S. soybean production.

The researchers intend to measure the impact of each communication channel – mass media, social media, and interpersonal meetings – on farmers’ decision-making to adopt a new digital technology. This survey is focused on soybean producers in these states: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, Nebraska, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The results will support new research and contribute in a practical way to increase knowledge about the most efficient communication channels for the dissemination of digital agriculture technologies.

The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete, and all data will be kept confidential.  If interested, you can provide your email address to receive a copy of the final survey results.

If you are interested in participating in this survey, please click here: reading

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Weed Management Considerations (part 2)

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off

Weed control in soybeans and herbicide trials have been the subject of research conducted in the Becks Practical Farm Research (PFR) the last several years.

“There is a lot of old herbicide technology in the marketplace today. The salt in Enlist is a new formulation but the technology is still about 75 years old. Dicamba technology is over 50 years old, and Round-up (glyphosate) is over 50 years old.  The newest broad spectrum herbicide on the market today is Liberty. Liberty technology is 25 years old and we are putting a lot of trust in Liberty,” said Luke Schulte, Field Agronomist for Becks. “The gravitation as inputs are very high is to pull back input selection to what you know works from 10 or 15 years ago. The reality is that with the age of some of these herbicides, even though some of the technology formulations are new, and with a new understanding of how weeds impact yields, you may need to change your mindset and focus on keeping weeds from emerging in the first place.

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Emerging technology detects crop nitrogen with high accuracy

Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers transformed agriculture as we know it during the Green Revolution, catapulting crop yields and food security to new heights. Yet, despite improvements in crop nitrogen use efficiency, fears of underperformance spur fertilizer overapplication to this day. Excess nitrogen then ends up in waterways, including groundwater, and in the atmosphere in the form of potent greenhouse gases. 

Predicting the amount of nitrogen needed by a particular crop in a particular year is tricky. The first step is understanding crop nitrogen status in real time, but it’s neither realistic nor scalable to measure leaf nitrogen by hand throughout the course of a season.

In a first-of-its-kind study, a University of Illinois research team put hyperspectral sensors on planes to quickly and accurately detect nitrogen status and photosynthetic capacity in corn. 

“Field nitrogen measurements are very time- and labor-consuming, but the airplane hyperspectral sensing technique allows us to scan the fields very fast, at a few seconds per acre.… Continue reading

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Trends in Ohio soil test results

By Greg LaBarge, CCA, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

The Fertilizer Institute periodically summarizes soil test results from private and public soil testing labs across North America. The summary is done every five years and provides an understanding of trends in soil test values. An overview of 2020 has just been added to the data. Table 1 shows Ohio soil test results since 2001. The number of samples processed is significant and has leveled off at 275,000 to 300,000 samples per year.

Table 1. Soil Test Numbers and Key Values for Ohio, 2001-2020. (Source:

Year Number of Soil samplesP-M3(ppm)K-M3(ppm)Soil pHOM(%)

Table 1 also provides us with a feel for trends in soil test values.… Continue reading

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H2Ohio: Moving beyond Lake Erie

By Matt Reese

H2Ohio is expanding beyond the Lake Erie Watershed.

Late in 2021, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz announced that $5 million in H2Ohio grant funding will be directed to 13 wetland projects in 11 counties to help improve water quality in the Ohio River Basin.

“We are excited to continue the expansion of H2Ohio’s work into the Ohio River Basin and to take the next big step toward naturally improving water quality across Ohio,” DeWine said. “Water issues expand beyond Lake Erie, so by focusing this funding farther south, we can address water challenges on a bigger scale and help ensure that people throughout the state can experience the benefits of these wetlands.”

DeWine announced the launch of the Ohio River Basin H2Ohio Wetland Grant Program in July. The program provides up to $500,000 for wetland projects that address nutrient loading and contribute to water quality improvement in the Ohio River and its tributaries.

Awards will go to projects in Butler (2), Greene, Franklin (2), Hamilton, Holmes, Mahoning, Medina, Miami, Montgomery, Wayne, and Warren counties. Each… Continue reading

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Weed Management Considerations (part 1)

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off

Weed control in soybeans and herbicide trials have been the subject of research conducted in the Becks Practical Farm Research (PFR) the last several years. “In a time period when there are concerns of herbicide availability, in particular the post herbicides for the coming year, it is important to revert back to what we know works,” said Luke Schulte, Field Agronomist for Becks. “Understanding how weeds impact yields helps us better understand how we need to plan our herbicide program. The true cost of weed control is important to understand in light of higher commodity prices and higher input costs. Yield is a key variable as we try to determine what weed pressure really costs.”

The University of Guelph in Ontario Canada has been conducting weed research for a number of years in a slightly different manner.… Continue reading

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Can your combine kill weeds?

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Combines are traditionally thought of as one way to spread weeds from one field to the next. When we started seeing Palmer amaranth in Ohio, at least one infestation was traced to a combine purchased from the south. But maybe we need to rethink this notion that they only spread weeds. The headline in Crop and Soils Magazine, “From Spreader to Predator: Killing Weed Seeds with the Combine,” caught my attention. The research was initially done in Australia and has been adopted by 80% of that country’s farmers. 

Harvest weed seed control (HWSC) is the name of the concept. The concept is basic, using the combine to remove, concentrate or kill weed seeds harvested with the crop. Two goals can potentially be met. One, we reduce the seed bank. Two, by destroying or removing seed produced by escapes, HWSC can aid in herbicide resistance management.… Continue reading

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Your farm in 2,000 years

By Randall Reeder, P.E., Ohio State University Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired)

Most farm families are proud of their recent history, perhaps going back 50 to 100 years. And you may be looking ahead to a future when your children and grandchildren continue your legacy for the next century. 

Have you considered what your land might look like in 1,000 or 2,000 years? 

As part of a special project, I have read a few articles that describe agriculture in ancient times, 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. You may know part of this history from descriptions in the Old Testament. Vast areas of the Middle East (currently including Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Israel, for example) had fertile soil that provided food for tens of millions of people and supported huge cities. Canals carried water from lush highland forests to irrigate crops through a dry summer. Moses described it as “land flowing with milk and honey.”… Continue reading

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Cover crop challenges in northwest Ohio

By Matt Reese

It has been a wet harvest season in northwest Ohio. 

Bob Short farms in Williams County in the northwest corner of the state where, in some fields, the 2021 harvest is turning into 2022.

“The growing season this year was challenging at best. It seems like we were wet in the spring, then we were dry and now we have been wet all fall,” Short said. “Harvest has been extremely challenging. There are a lot of crops still in the field. The guys with wheat planting intentions, a lot of that didn’t happen because it was just too wet after the beans were off.”

The conditions also made it very challenging to get cover crops established. Jeff Duling farms in Putnam County. While his harvest is finished, it was too late for many fields to be planted to cover crops. The fields were still wet by mid-December. 

“With the rain events we have been having in northwest Ohio I still have cereal rye sitting in our air seeder yet and hope to get it planted.… Continue reading

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Enhancing crop growth with humic compounds

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health

Humic compounds are organic (carbon) compounds in soil organic matter that enhance plant growth.  Humic compounds are composed of fulvic acids and humic acids (highly decomposed SOM) and include many different compounds.  Adding humic compounds to your fertilizer may increase crop yields 22% for soybeans, 16%-53% for corn, and 21%-180% for certain vegetables. Humic compounds may be a good investment when fertilizer prices are high.

Fulvic acid is a biological activator and energizer, getting critical nutrients into the plant through roots, stems, and leaves.  Humic acid is much denser and a storehouse for plant nutrients; especially nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, and calcium. Fulvic acid (FA) decomposes and microbially becomes humic acid (HA) over time.

Soils with adequate HA have good soil structure, allowing soils to crumble and greatly improves microbial growth.  Drainage improves due to higher pore space and there is higher soil oxygen.  Soils are warmer due to its rich black color and it stores more water. 

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Fulvic acid

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

This article is from information gained from a book entitled Organic Soil Conditioning by Dr. William Jackson (958 pages), full of facts that are beneficial to agriculture. This information may help farmers cope with higher fertilize prices.

“Mother Nature” hates to waste soil nutrients so she designed two natural organic humic compounds to improve nutrient utilization. Fulvic acid has an open carbon structure that is a light weight compound  (low molecular weight) with almost miraculous properties!  It comes from lightly digested plant and microbial byproducts and is not just one carbon compound, its many varied compounds.  Its composition is very similar all over the world, yet it differs slightly depending upon soils, plants, weather, microbes etc.  Fulvic acid, over time gets degraded, digested, and transformed into Humic acid which has a denser and tighter carbon structure (high molecular weight).  These two organic compounds (fulvic and humic acid) are full of essential soil nutrients, making soils fertile while improving plant growth and crop yields. 

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Alternative spring burndown/postemergence strategies when herbicides are in short supply

By Mark Loux, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2021-40

There is a lot of speculation about herbicide shortages for the 2022 growing season, and some products are apparently getting more expensive and/or scarce now.  This will affect herbicide buying and weed management decisions for the 2022 season.  The two main active ingredients that we’re hearing about right now are glyphosate (Roundup, others) and glufosinate (Liberty, others), for which prices have increased substantially.  There will likely be limited supplies of other pesticide active ingredients as well, but in the short term, a shortage of these two active ingredients poses some major challenges for corn and soybean production.

Mark Loux OSU Extension Weed Scientist
Dr. Mark Loux, OSU Extension Weed Scientist

The purpose of this article is to discuss ways to minimize the impact of herbicide shortages, primarily glyphosate, on corn and soybean production. As you search for alternatives to these two herbicides and others, the weed control guides and technical guides produced by University Extension and industry are an important tool for planning weed management programs and herbicide purchases.

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Managing diseases and insects in greenhouses

By Mary Wicks and Peter Ling

Growing plants, whether for food or landscapes, is not easy. There are so many variables that can go wrong. Growing crops in a greenhouse permits greater control of environmental conditions, such as temperature, light and moisture, and allows for more precise delivery of nutrients. However, greenhouses can also provide the perfect environment for insects and diseases. 

Controlling these pests requires managing the environment and crop to reduce risks, identifying problems early, and understanding treatment options. Practices, such as providing a healthy growing environment to reduce disease and insect pressures, monitoring plants, and applying pesticides effectively and efficiently, need to be used consistently. Integrated pest management requires understanding of interactions among plants, pathogens, insects, and the physical environment for the entire system. Fortunately, researchers continue to make strides in developing methods and technologies that can improve production and reduce risks from diseases and insects.

Learn more from the experts

On January 26-28, 2022 greenhouse growers will have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals and latest best management practices to control diseases and insects for ornamental and food crop production in controlled environments.… Continue reading

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2021 Ohio Soybean Performance Trial – Final Report

2021 Ohio Soybean Performance Trial – Final Report

The purpose of the Ohio Soybean Performance Trials is to evaluate soybean varieties for yield and other agronomic characteristics.

Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension Soybean and Small Grains Specialist

This evaluation gives soybean producers comparative information for selecting the best varieties for their unique production systems. A pdf copy of the trial can be downloaded here: The data will also be available soon for download on the Ohio Crop Performance Trials website-

The 2021 trial included 19 brands of soybean tested in six Ohio counties (Henry, Sandusky, Mercer, Union, Preble, and Clinton). Entries included non-GMO (conventional), Xtend, Enlist, XtendFlex, sulfonylurea-tolerant, and Liberty Link/glyphosate tolerant (LLGT27). Soybean yield varied across the state. In Henry County, soybean yielded ranged from 26.0 to 52.0 bu/acre due to wet weather in the spring and fall; while in Clinton County, soybean yield ranged from 63.7 to 88.2 bu/acre with good growing conditions.

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BASF celebrates successes of 2021

BASF Agricultural Solutions delivered on its promise to farmers and the agriculture industry by launching more than 37 new products and programs in 2021. This growth reinforces BASF’s commitment to invest in research and development (R&D) and bring new tools to the market. 

The company introduced 17 new seed varieties in cotton and soybeans, 11 new products and two label extensions, two anniversaries, and multiple new initiatives, including the launch of Teraxxa seed treatment, introduction of the e3 Sustainable Cotton Grower Fund, and creation of a Soybean Cyst Nematode Awareness Month. 

“Through our pipeline of innovation and related efforts, BASF is focused on supporting farmers and their needs in a challenging environment,” said Scott Kay, Vice President of U.S. Crop, BASF. “We’re grateful that 2021 proved to be a year of such innovation, in which we continued to bring solutions that combine effective products, new technologies and services.”

Examples of 2021 BASF innovations and initiatives include the following:

  • Launch of Teraxxa seed treatment, the first and only seed treatment capable of eliminating wireworms for wheat growers
  • Introduction of Sphaerex fungicide, designed to help wheat growers reduce damages from DON
  • Label update for Provysol fungicide to include reduced pre-harvest interval to seven days for sugarbeets, suppression of powdery mildew in sugarbeets, approval for use in-furrow in sugarcane, and the addition of fruiting vegetables and cucurbits  
  • Expansion of the EPA registration of Cevya fungicide on additional crop groups, including berries; cucurbits; and bulb, fruiting and root vegetables
  • Launch of Vercoras canola seed treatment for InVigor hybrid canola, delivering broad-spectrum protection against key seed and soil-borne diseases
  • Integration of VanderSat’s innovative, fully operational Cloud-free Biomass product with BASF Digital Farming’s market-leading xarvio Field Manager solution
  • Expansion of xarvio Field Manager solution weather station device connectivity options to include integration of data from METOS by Pessl Instruments and Sencrop
  • Introduction of new digital tool for the Grow Smart Live app, providing crop input recommendations as well as the estimated value versus alternative options
  • Release of BASF’s first insecticide for the golf course market, Alucion 35 WG insecticide, the only non-restricted use pyrethroid labeled for golf courses
  • Launch of a new fungicide for the golf course market, Encartis fungicide, which offers long lasting, preventive and curative protection from dollar spot and ten other key foliar diseases
  • Introduction of Avelyo fungicide, a next-generation DMI fungicide for greenhouse and nursery growers with broad-spectrum disease control and exceptional plant safety at any stage in the production cycle
  • Launch of Finale XL T&O herbicide, a non-selective, contact herbicide with enhanced active ingredient loading that delivers fast and precise control of tough weeds on golf courses and in landscaping, greenhouses, and nurseries
  • Announcement of BASF’s newest innovation in pest control solutions, Ridesco WG insecticide, which will be available for purchase in early 2022.
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2021 Ohio Corn Performance Test: Regional Overviews

By Rich MinyoAllen GeyerDavid LohnesMatt Lowe, Ohio State University Extension

In 2021, 121 corn hybrids representing 16 commercial brands were evaluated in the Ohio Corn Performance Test (OCPT). Four tests were established in the Southwestern/West Central/Central (SW/WC/C) region and three tests were established in the Northwestern (NW) and North Central/Northeastern (NC/NE) regions (for a total of ten test sites statewide).  Hybrid entries in the regional tests were planted in either an early or a full season maturity trial. These test sites provided a range of growing conditions and production environments.

Growing conditions were very favorable for corn production across most of Ohio in 2021. The growing season was characterized by well above or above average rainfall and heat unit accumulation (growing degree-days). Precipitation and heat unit accumulation were generally greater at OCPT sites in the SW/WC/C region (with rainfall ranging from 20.3 to 29.4 inches and heat unit accumulation ranging from 3044 to 3210 GDDs) than at sites in the NW and NC/NE regions.… Continue reading

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