Ohio Field Leader

Extremely Early Soybean Planting Date and Cover Crops

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

For the last two years, in two separate locations, a study has been conducted to determine how early soybeans can be planted in Ohio.  In the past, studies have looked at early planting at the end of April or early May.  Dr. Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension State Small Grains and Soybean Specialist, is looking at an earlier planting date than the past, and also the interaction between very early planting and the presence of cover crops.

“The past two years we were able to plant soybeans for this project in Wayne County during the first week of April, and last year in Clark County we were able to plant the soybeans on March 30th,” said Lindsey. “We really wanted to see how early we can plant soybeans. Almost every agronomist will tell you that it is important to plant soybeans early.”… Continue reading

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Soybean stress detection using UAVs and checkoff dollars

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

Scouting soybean fields to detect stress factors impacting the crop is a never-ending process during the growing season. Stress caused by weather, disease, insects, and weeds are constantly challenging a soybean crop’s yield potential. The idea of using Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to assess crop stress is being explored by researchers at The Ohio State University.

Scott Schearer, Professor and Chair of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering has lead the initiative, funded by the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off dollars, to investigate the potential of using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), to aid in this task. UAVs, commonly referred to as ag drones, can be equipped with sensors to detect and map out the stress areas in fields, with the intent of being able to return to those areas to address the stress factor present.… Continue reading

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Stink bug research, the stealth pest

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

Some Insect pests in soybeans can be very evident, such as defoliators feeding on leaf tissue. Others such as stink bugs can be more stealth in their feeding. Kelley Tilmon, professor of Entomology at The Ohio State University has been doing research, funded by the Ohio Soybean Check-off, to develop more efficient ways of scouting for stinkbugs in soybeans. 

“I call stinkbugs a stealth pest because the damage they cause is not obvious to the naked eye as you look across a field like you would see from a leaf feeding insect,” Tilmon said. “The way that stinkbugs feed is that they punch their sharp straw like mouth part directly through the pod wall into the seed and suck on the developing seed and can destroy that seed. It can go unnoticed unless you are looking at the pod very closely.” … Continue reading

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Upcoming soybean educational opportunities

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

There are two educational opportunities to learn more about soybean production coming up in February. One is a virtual meeting and one is available in-person.

The OSU Extension AgCrops Team will be hosting their 3rd annual virtual Corn College and Soybean School on Feb. 10, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m featuring your OSU Extension state specialists and soil fertility guest speaker, Dr. Kurt Steinke, from Michigan State University.

CCA CEUs will be available during the live presentations.

To register for this online meeting, visit: go.osu.edu/cornsoy

Registration is requested by February 9 at noon. There is a $10 registration fee for this event, which goes directly to support OSU AgCrops Team activities.

Presentations will be recorded and uploaded to the AgCrops Team YouTube channel after the event (https://www.youtube.com/c/OSUAgronomicCrops). However, CCA CEUs will not be available for the recorded presentations.… Continue reading

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Cover crop value

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

What value do cover crops bring to a farm field?  As the old saying goes: There are a 1000 ways to skin a cat! Please do not take that literally.  I came across two sources that try to put a value on cover crops for their farms. 

Rulon farms in Indiana have been doing no-till and cover crops since 2005.  They farm 5600 acres, 50-50 corn -soybean, using no-till and about 90% of their acres have cover crops. This is a family farm with one brother being a Purdue Economist.  Since they believe the benefits accrue over many years, they do a “whole farm” cost-benefit approach (costs and benefits/acre are additive).  The Rulon’s have used 4 different cover crop mixes using mostly spring oats, radish, rape, and crimson clover (after early corn) or simply cereal rye after late corn.  Their average cost per acre for seed is around $22/acre. … Continue reading

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Rotate SCN-resistant seed varieties for optimal protection

By The SCN Coalition™

Understanding the difference between soybean cyst nematode-resistant varieties may help soybean growers understand the importance of rotating sources of resistance, which is one of the “active SCN management” strategies advised by The SCN Coalition. For combating SCN during the 2022 growing season, The SCN Coalition encourages growers to work with their advisors to select the appropriate SCN-resistant varieties.

“Most soybean growers are familiar with PI 88788 and Peking, the two most widely used sources of resistance to soybean cyst nematode,” says Melissa Mitchum, University of Georgia molecular nematologist. “What might be news to growers is these different sources of SCN resistance have different resistance genes — also known as different modes of action.”

Simply speaking, resistance from the PI 88788 line contains one gene, Rhg1. Resistance from Peking contains two resistance genes, Rhg1 and Rhg4. “There are also different flavors — aka alleles — of the Rhg1 genes, which is where the A and B designations come into play,” Mitchum adds.… Continue reading

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Ohio Field Leader Roadshow | John Buck – Buck Farms, Marion County

Ohio Field Leader’s Dusty Sonnenberg visits with John Buck of Buck Farms in Marion County. This video, originally shot this past fall, discusses the application of many different agricultural technologies at Buck Farms. The full in-depth discussion can be heard in the Ohio Field Leader Podcast.

Ohio Field Leader is a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.… Continue reading

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The power of soil biology

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

It has been said the more we learn the less we know. That seems true when it comes to our soil biology.  Danielle Kusner is a certified crop advisor and Terrain Advocate for Deep Soil LLC.

“Transitioning from what we traditionally study in soil chemistry and the elements, to soil biology is a higher level of understanding of soil systems,” Kusner said. “We are at a revolutionary time in agriculture. Understanding soil microbes and biology will change what we do on our farms.”

Kusner said studying the soil food web helps farmers realize that the more they learn about the soil, the less they find that they know.

“The soil food web is comprised of multiple levels,” Kusner said.

The first level is made up of photosynthesizers. It contains the plants shoots and roots. The second level is made up of decomposing mutualists, such as pathogens, parasites, and root feeders (bacteria, fungi, and nematodes).… Continue reading

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Planning for high yielding soybeans

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Soybean Lead/Field Agronomist, Seed Consultants, Inc.

When planning for the upcoming growing season, it can be easy to focus more energy on corn production as it has traditionally been the more intensively managed crop. However, producers who put in the effort to manage their soybean crop have proven it is possible to attain high yields potential. Below are some tips for planning to produce high-yielding soybeans in 2023.

• Quality Seed: Planting the right seed sets the stage for the entire growing season. Growers should plant genetics with high yield potential. Choose varieties that have been tested at several locations and across multiple years. Growers should choose varieties adapted to their soil types and management practices. As with corn, choosing varieties with strong disease packages and agronomic traits with aid in achieving higher yields.

• Planting Date: University research has proven that timely, early planting is one way to increase soybean yields.… Continue reading

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Tips for first time no-tillers

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, Adapted from article by Elizabeth Creech, NRCS.   

Veteran no-tillers know that no-till farming  offers several benefits including keeping soil in place, improved nutrient recycling; savings on labor and fuel; and improved water infiltration, water storage, and drought resiliency. No-till means that farmers plant into an undisturbed soil that is teaming with microbes.  Beneficial microbes prefer a stable environment to grow, so soil health improves over time.  

High fuel prices, high inputs costs for chemicals and fertilizer, labor shortages, and weather issues are starting to make no-till farming more appealing. Getting started in no-till can be challenging because it is a different system and it takes time to learn new skills.  Here are some tips for getting started.   

First, it helps to solve some of your existing problems.  Make sure you have adequate drainage, take care of the weeds, and soil tests to address fertility issues. … Continue reading

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Rye Cover Crops in Organic No-till Soybeans

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

Rye cover crops bring benefits, and biomass. Both need to be managed.

“Take care of your rye biomass,” said Lea Vereecke, a certified crop advisor and consultant with the Rodale Institute. 

Vereecke has been conducting research on organic no-till soybeans for several years at the University of Wisconsin, Madison with Erin Silva. She now works as an organic crop consultant with the Rodale Institute. Adequate cereal rye biomass is a key component in the successful production of organic no-till soybeans.

“Many farmers like tillage because it aids in nutrient cycling. Tillage moves organic matter and nutrients to different layers of the soil profile. Tillage can improve weed control and reduce the germination of certain weed species. It allows the soil to warm quicker in the spring, resulting in improved germination and crop emergence. It also aids in residue management and plays a role in disease control by burying that residue and speeding up the decomposition,” Vereecke said.… Continue reading

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U.S.A. soil erosion

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services 

The following article was adapted from an article entitled “More than 50 billion tons of topsoil have eroded in the Midwest” (Elizabeth Gamillo). The estimate of annual soil loss is double the rate of erosion USDA considers sustainable.

Soil scientist estimates that 57.6 billion tons of  topsoil has been lost in the USA in the last 160 years.  During the Dust Bowl era (1930’s), over 20 tons of topsoil per acre were lost annually in the Midwest due to wind erosion.  Due to soil conservation efforts, erosion rates declined to around 7.4 tons nationwide and new estimates are closer to 5 tons per year.

However, these are only estimates and sometimes the way these numbers are calculated differs.  In many cases, they are looking at only sheet, rill, and wind erosion; ignoring the gully erosion which is the most severe.  Sheet erosion is the thin layer of topsoil that erodes across the whole field and is barely noticeable. … Continue reading

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Ohio Field Leader Podcast Episode 27 – Growing for the Next Generation

For the first podcast of 2023, the Ohio Field Leader looks ahead to the future. This is a look beyond 2023 to the needs of agriculture in future generations with the help of the Ohio Soybean Council’s check-off funded GrowNextGen program. Listen in as Dusty visits with Jane Hunt to learn more about this educational program that takes science into the classroom to educate and inspire young people to consider agriculture and the soybean industry in their future. Dusty and Jane look back at the last 10 years of GrowNextGen and what is ahead in terms of hands-on learning, educational activities, careers, and resources for teachers and students alike.… Continue reading

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Check-off dollars and the next generation — GrowNextGen

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

As a new year begins, it is natural to look to the future. The Ohio Soybean Council is looking to the future far beyond 2023 with help from the soybean check-off to fund the GrowNextGen project.

The concept of GrowNextGen is to bring agriculture science to the classroom by providing real-world educational tools to engage the next generation workforce. Jane Hunt serves as Director of Education, at Education Projects. That organization administers the GrowNextGen project for the Ohio Soybean Council. They work with educational partners to develop lessons with the goal of getting soybeans into every classroom in Ohio. Their vehicle of delivery is hands-on lessons and activities utilizing soybeans and soy products that align with current elementary and high school standards.

The GrowNextGen project started 10 years ago focusing on creating content that could be used by a traditional science teacher and easily implemented in their classroom.… Continue reading

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Avoiding Herbicide Carryover

By James Hooman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

With a new year coming, farmers are buying inputs for next years crops.  Now is the time to think about purchasing herbicides, but also think about how to avoid herbicide carryover, especially if planting cover crops.  Factors that increase herbicide carryover include dry weather, late application especially on herbicides with long half-lives, low soil microbial activity, low soil organic matter (SOM), and cooler and cloudy days.  Soil texture (especially sandy soils with low SOM) and soil pH also affect herbicide breakdown.

In soybeans, there are five major types of herbicides to watch to avoid herbicide carryover.  Flexistar/Reflex and Warrant Ultra (fomesafen) soybean herbicides have a long half-life with up to 18 months planting restriction for small seeded legumes and clovers, brassicas (radish, kale, rape), and even some grasses (oats 4-18 months, rye, wheat, barley 4-11 months). The mode of action is a Group 14 which is a PPO inhibitor (causes reactive oxygen). … Continue reading

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A soil health baseline

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

The analysis of soil from a “soil health” perspective is relatively simple and yet can be very complex. There are numerous items to consider. At a recent soil health seminar hosted by the Farmer Advocates for Conservation program and The Nature Conservancy, Jeremiah Durbin was featured as one of the keynote speakers. Durbin is the founder and CEO of Sustainable Legacy Consulting and serves as the Soil Health Specialist for the Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts. He shared several thoughts on what makes up soil health and how to measure and manage it.

There are four main principles surrounding soil health. These include keeping the soil covered, minimizing soil disturbance, maximizing plant diversity, and having continual living roots.

“The main goals of improving soil health include increasing soil organic matter, increasing nutrient cycling, increasing the number and varieties of fungi, increasing earthworm numbers, improving soil structure, improving water infiltration and improving pore spaces,” said Durbin.… Continue reading

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Planting Small Seeded Clovers and Legumes as Cover Crops

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Planting small seeded clovers and legumes can be challenging, be that for forages or as a cover crop.  Soil types, surface residue, weather especially moisture, seeding depth and getting the right rate on can all either cause a failure or a reduced stand.  Here are a couple planting tips. 

Small seeded clovers and legumes can grow well in sandy loam soils to clay soils with some modifications.  Sandy soils tend to dry out and the seed may move too deep in the soil at planting.  On clay soils, the soil may be more compacted but they tend to hold more moisture.  If the seed stays to close to the surface, without adequate rain, the seed may dry out or get tied up in a thick crust.  Often a nurse crop (oats) may help small seeded crops emerge and also initiate critical microbes that can assist a small seedling in germination and growth.… Continue reading

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The benefits of gypsum

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

At the 2022 Ohio No-Till Conference, Dr. Warren Dick, retired soil scientist at The Ohio State University, discussed the benefits of gypsum and how it may play a key role in water quality issues when properly applied to soils. Gypsum can help capture phosphorus and prevent it from leaving the field. Gypsum is a soft mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate. The word gypsum is derived from a Greek word meaning “chalk” or “plaster”. Gypsum is moderately water-soluble. Gypsum can be mined or synthetically sourced.

Several possible sources of gypsum for agricultural use are currently available in the United States. These include mined gypsum from geologic deposits, phosphogypsum from wet-acid production of phosphoric acid from rock phosphate, recycled casting gypsum from various manufacturing processes, recycled wallboard gypsum, and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum from power plants.… Continue reading

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Phosphorus dynamics in water and soil: A study of 3s

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

At the 2022 Ohio No-Till Conference, Warren Dick, retired soil scientist at The Ohio State University, discussed a 10-letter word that has everyone’s attention – phosphorus. Largely blamed for many of the water quality issues we hear about today, phosphorus is one of the primary nutrients in crop production. There is a phosphorus (P) cycle, much like there is a water cycle. Animal manure, commercial fertilizers, biosolids, and plant residue are added to the soil. These all contain phosphorus. There is also atmospheric deposition of P in rain and dust. The phosphorus is mineralized in the soil and becomes soluble P that can be taken up by the crops.

Dick describes understanding phosphorus as a series of 3s. 

“There are three forms we find phosphorus in the environment,” Dick said. “There is mineral P that interacts with iron, aluminum and calcium.… Continue reading

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Manure benefits soil health

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health,  Source OSU Manure Newsletter, Mary Wickes.

Manure is a great fertilizer for improving soil health, commonly used before commercial fertilizer.  If manure is applied correctly, using the 4R’s (right source, right rate, right time, right place) and proper best management practices, manure greatly improves crop growth and also increases biological activity, leading to improved soil health.  Some of the environmental benefits include: increasing soil carbon and reduced atmospheric carbon, reduced soil erosion and runoff, reduced nitrate leaching, and reduced demand for commercial nitrogen fertilizer derived from natural gas. 

Manure increases soil organic matter because it has nutrients plant require for adequate growth (N-P-K, micronutrients), so plants grow better and faster, producing more roots and crop residue to build soil carbon.  Manure consists of carbon residues which the plants can use in the form of carbon dioxide for increased photosynthesis.  Adequate soil carbon is limiting plant growth, so manure and carbon may boost plant growth significantly. … Continue reading

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