Ohio Field Leader

Fall control of tough weeds

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension

We have heard a lot about dandelion, wild carrot, poison hemlock, birdsrape mustard, cressleaf groundsel, and annual bluegrass over the past several years. Fall is the best time of the year to control these and a lot of other weeds that cause problems into the following summer, either because they are well established biennials/perennials or they just don’t respond well to herbicides in spring. It’s also worth pointing out that we seem to have shifted to wet springs that mess with all kinds of operations, including herbicide burndown. 

The inability to apply burndown in a relatively timely manner results in large weedy burndown situations, requiring more complex and expensive herbicide treatments, which can still struggle to be effective enough. Fall herbicide application results in an essentially weed-free field until sometime in April when giant ragweed and a few spring-emerging winter annuals start to creep in.… Continue reading

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Fall nutrient management

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, Adapted from Fall Nutrient Management webinar, David Miller/John Kemp.    

Crops flourish and grow quickly in the spring.  The first cutting of hay may be 50% higher than any other cutting.  It’s not just due to more water.  Increased spring growth comes from plant available nutrients (PAvN) from dormant microbes.  Usually, this spring flush lasts 30-45 days, but with good management, this growth (and yield) flush may last all summer.  However, it starts with fall nutrient management.

All soil nutrients are part of a biological system.  Each element is like a component or part in an engine.  If one component is lacking or missing, the engine may not run as well or even stop running.  Soil nutrients, especially micronutrients, are the activators to many biological processes.  Over the winter; microbes release nutrients when they die, are consumed by others, but also when they are active. … Continue reading

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New field research and Extension effort

By Laura Lindsey and Osler Ortez, OSU Extension, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2022-32

Which crop has the smallest yield penalty for delayed planting?

Can you adjust your management practices to mitigate losses due to late planting?

How are insects, diseases, weeds, and other factors affected by planting date?

We will answer these questions and more!

For both soybean and corn, earlier planting is promoted to maximize yield. However, due to bad weather, the planting date window is often short and disconnected (e.g., good weather in April, bad weather in May, then good weather again in June). Farmers often ‘debate’ which crop should be planted first- corn or soybean.

The ‘Battle for the Belt’ project is a field research and extension effort to help address the question, what crop should be planted first- corn or soybean?

Research: the plan is to conduct field experiments at three locations in 2023: Western, Northwest, and Wooster.… Continue reading

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Impacts from weather cycles

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Weather is always hard to predict. The weatherman can be right less than 50% of the time, and still keep their job! However, with the weather, it is somewhat cyclical. Solar flares, sunspots, and the La Niña/El Niño phenomenon are a little more predictable and may give an indication of future weather patterns. Several cycles are coming together that farmers need to watch. 

The 1930s was a turbulent decade for the U.S., leading to drought and a Depression in the economy. The 1930s was a 10-year drought, made worse scientist think by excess tillage of the prairies. Is it possible that we could repeat history with another long-term drought? Maybe? However, understanding some regular weather cycles that tend repeat themselves may allow farmers to be a little more prepared for what may or may not happen. 

Let’s start with solar flares and sunspot activity. About every 11 years, the sun has a pattern of high sunspot activity followed by lower sunspot activity.… Continue reading

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Using cover crops with fall manure applications

By Greg LaBarge and Glen Arnold, Ohio State University Extension, Field Specialist, Manure Management

As corn silage harvest starts, livestock producers and commercial manure applicators will follow with fall manure applications. Manure should be incorporated with a toolbar at application or soon after application with tillage to keep nutrients in place. Incorporation works well to preserve P and K for future crops, but nitrogen is different. Nitrogen is initially retained in the soil but will leach through tile or volatilize into the air unless we capture it in a growing crop. Cover crops fit well in the role of N retention. Ohio edge-of-field research monitoring agricultural practice impacts shows a reduction of tile nitrate losses of 84% with cover crops. Plus, there is an added benefit of preventing soil erosion.

Cereal rye, wheat, and oats are common cover crops after manure application. However, farmers also use radishes, clover, annual ryegrass, Sudan grass, or almost species they are comfortable growing.… Continue reading

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Improving high clay soils

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, Adapted from Dale Strickland article, Green Cover Seeds.

Working with clay soils can be difficult when trying to grow crops.  Sticky when wet and rock hard when dry, a high clay soil can drive you crazy!  However, clay soils have many great qualities.  Compared to sand and silt, clay has higher water holding capacity and greater cation exchange capacity (CEC).  CEC means the clay has a negative charge and can hold many positively charged soil nutrients. Water and soil nutrients are needed for plants to optimize yield.  Yet, clay has several problems.

First, even though a soil has plenty of water, plant roots have to access that water.  Roots need oxygen to grow and tight clay soils that are saturated have limited oxygen for roots to grow. The tight pore spaces in clay soils limits root growth and does not allow atmospheric oxygen from getting into the soil. … Continue reading

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Two-stage ditch and sod waterways pulling a farm together.

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

For Les and Jerry Seiler, soil conservation became a necessity to keep a farm in production. Les Seiler farms with his brother Jerry and son Nathan in Fulton County near Fayette, Ohio. They farm consists of corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and alfalfa. The Seilers plant cover crops and use no-till and conservation tillage. “Fulton County has around 62 different soil types. We farm about 32 of those.  Some of our fields may have 4-5 soil types in the same field,” said Seiler. “Using conservation practices allows us to mitigate some of the variability. We now use cover crops to try to keep something living in the soil all year around.”

Nathan, Les, and Jerry Seiler

While most of the acres the Seiler’s farm are the very typical of the flat Northwest Ohio landscape, one farm in particular had a significant amount of slope to it.… Continue reading

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Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) or Brown Stem Rot (BSR)? That is the question!

By Horacio Lopez-Nicora, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2022-30

In August we started finding soybean diseases in Ohio. Recently, several fields in Ohio have been showing foliar symptoms (Fig. 1) very similar to those caused by sudden death syndrome (SDS)

Photo Credit, Dr. Horacio Lopez Nicora, The Ohio State University Extension

Figure 1. Soybean field in Ohio severely affected by sudden death syndrome (SDS) with premature defoliation in the R5/R6 growth stage (A); symptoms begin with interveinal yellowing (chlorosis) of leaf (B); eventually leaf tissue dies and becomes brown but veins remain green (C). The fungus infects the root and produces toxins that are responsible for the above-ground symptoms.

SDS is caused by the fungal pathogen Fusarium virguliforme. This species is the most prevalent in the region, however, other Fusarium species can cause SDS. SDS above-ground symptoms can be confused with those produced by a different fungus (Cadophora gregata) that causes brown stem rot (BSR).… Continue reading

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Late season weed scouting resources

By Alyssa Essman, Ohio State University Extension

Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth plants that have escaped POST applications or emerged after are now starting to develop mature seed. These plants can produce upwards of one million seeds per plant in certain situations. When it comes to the management of these weeds, the best offense is a good defense. Anything we can do from now through harvest to prevent seed from being deposited into the soil seed bank will pay dividends down the road. At this point in the season there are limited options for control beyond scouting and hand pulling. Just a few plants left in the field can lead to a total infestation within a few years. Viability of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth seed is greatly reduced after 3-5 years.

Some diligence over a couple of growing seasons can drastically reduce populations. Aside from tremendous seed production, fast growth rates, and lengthy emergence windows, what makes us most nervous about these weeds is their propensity to develop herbicide resistance.… Continue reading

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Late soybeans can attract more pests

By Kelley Tilmon and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension

At the end of the growing season, when many soybean fields are shutting down, those which are still green can be a magnet for certain insect pests as they leave the mature fields. Double-crop soybeans and late planted beans that are running behind and are still fresh can be attractive for stink bugs, bean leaf beetles, and sometimes grasshoppers when they leave yellowing fields for greener pastures. If you have such soybean fields in areas where other fields are maturing, they are worth an extra eye until they reach the R6 (full seed) growth stage. After R6, the yield is mostly set and insecticide will not provide a return. Also, if you do spray late in the season, be mindful of the pre-harvest interval of the product you’re using, which can be up to several weeks. Consult our pest management guide for more information about these chemicals at: https://aginsects.osu.edu/news/msu-osu-insect-ipm-guideContinue reading

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Lessons learned through the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network (Part 2)

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

Since 2011, the algal bloom on Lake Erie has garnered much attention. The general public that uses the lake for recreational purposes, and the tourism industry and the media are quick to point the finger at agriculture as the primary contributor to the problem. The Western Lake Erie Basin is fed by rivers that drain nearly 7 million acres of farmland. The Maumee River Watershed (which contains the Blanchard River) flows into the Western Basin of Lake Erie. Phosphorus and Nitrogen in the river water are considered a contributor to the growth of the algal bloom each year.

“The harmful algal bloom (HAB) on Lake Erie has been a problem because the lake serves as the primary drinking water source for the City of Toledo. The HAB can produce toxins that can cause liver damage if the concentration is high enough,” said Greg LaBarge, OSU Extension Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems.… Continue reading

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Soybean oil use now and in the future

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

From the national kick-off on his farm in Hancock County back in 2011, to the nationwide use of hi-oleic soybean oil today, John Motter has been a fan of the product he produces. John Motter is a soybean grower and member of the Ohio Soybean Council and United Soybean Board.  He not only grows soybeans in the fertile soils of southern Hancock County, but he also promotes their use internationally.

John Motter, Hancock County Soybean Farmer

Motter is a third-generation farmer, on a farm started by his grandmother.  In 1942, during World War II, Motter’s grandmother moved from where the family was living outside of Bluffton to a farm outside of Jenera. She moved along with his uncle while his father was away in the service.  When his father came back from the war Motter’s uncle rented another farm and his father farmed his grandmothers farm along with working as a carpenter. … Continue reading

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Beneficial soil fungus, Part 2

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, and Dale Strichler, Green Cover Seeds

Beneficial soil fungus called mycorrhizae fungi (MF) can optimize crop yields. MF use to be abundant be MF must have a live root as a host. Plowing soil, fallow periods, and annual crops caused many beneficial MF to died off. Long fallow periods, 14-16 weeks; greatly reduce (85-98%) MF population levels while shorter fallow periods, 3-6 weeks; reduce MF populations 30-70%. Some hardy MF species survive in tilled crop land but using cover crops with a live root, can gradually increase MF populations over time (maybe 5-10 years). Inoculating a crop with MF spores speeds up the process and crops respond quickly.

A full rate of MF inoculant, depending on formulation, costs about $12-15/acre. This rate is designed to provide 150,000 propagules (spores and root fragments containing MF) or more per acre. MF research on crops is extensive with over 155,000 published research articles at this time with 10X more research articles on the use of corn (maize MF) than corn using anhydrous ammonia!… Continue reading

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Beneficial soil fungi

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services and Dale Strichler, Green Cove

Mycorrhizal fungi (MF) are one of the most beneficial organisms on the planet. These fungi colonize plant roots, acting as root extenders to aid roots. MF are more efficient than roots and MF benefits are numerous.

 Increased root mass. Plants allocate a certain amount of energy to the root system. In the absence of MF, plants must build root hairs, which requires a lot of energy. Plants colonized with MF do not produce root hairs and instead use a much smaller amount of energy to allow MF to perform the job of absorbing water and nutrients. The hyphae (root-like structure) of MF is about 1/16th the diameter of a root hair (1/10 the diameter of human hair), and it takes about 1/256th the energy investment per mm of length to build than a root hair. With this energy savings, MF colonized plants tend to build much better root systems.… Continue reading

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Lessons learned through the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network (Part 1)

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

Soil test phosphorus (P) numbers in the State of Ohio have continued to decline in recent years. “Much of the land in the state has soil phosphorus levels within the agronomic range. Even so, there are still some high phosphorus areas and issues with legacy phosphorus from past practices that we continue to work through,” said Greg LaBarge, OSU Extension Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems. “We are learning how slowly phosphorus changes in the soil when it is at high levels. There are opportunities to make changes, but simply employing the single practice of reducing phosphorus application is probably not going to be enough, and we need to make sure we are putting the right practice in the right place.”

Looking at the big picture, when we talk about agricultural impacts from the standpoint of water quality, there are three main components.… Continue reading

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2022 Ohio Crop Tour soybean results

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

The 2022 Ohio Crop Tour was sponsored by Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff. The Ohio State University Extension educators around the state also provided input by working with us on the Virtual Crop Tour. The in-person tour was held Aug. 8 and Aug. 9 with one group of scouts heading north and one group heading south. Each group sampled a representative soybean field. The county by county results are as follows.

A 4 bean pod

Adams County

These beans were planted May 10. They are in very good condition with little signs of weather-related stress or disease. There is some grass hopper feeding along the edge of the field. The canopy height is 36 to 45 inches with nodes spaced 3.5 to 4 inches in these 60+-bushel beans.… Continue reading

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New Soil Health Measurements

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

The Soil Health Institute (SHI), a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing soil productivity, recently announced results from a 3-year research project on identifying soil health measurements across North America.  Over 100 scientist reviewed data from 124 sites in Canada, Mexico, and the United States; comparing conventional tilled farming systems to long-term no-till, cover crops, and perennial cropping systems. 

Over 30 key soil health measurements were taken at various research sites in this project.   Measurements were taken across a wide range of climates, soil types, environmental conditions, cropping practices, and different management. Scientifically, evaluating that many sites and that much data gave the project the scientific rigor to valid these soil health measurements across many different systems. 

Evaluating soil health is all about how well soil’s function.  Functions such as water, carbon, and nutrient recycling are important for good plant productivity.  Healthy soils are able to absorb and store water, so after a heavy rain, water easily infiltrates the soil and does not run off. … Continue reading

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