Ohio Field Leader

Early vegetative soybean defoliation

By Dr. Laura Lindsey, Adapted from C.O.R.N.  20-2021

Hail Defoliated Soybeans Photo Credit: Tony Nye, OSU

Reports from surrounding states suggest defoliation or stem damage in soybeans are less critical to yield if they occur in vegetative stages, with stem damage being more critical to yield loss than defoliation (Shapiro et al. 2009). Even if some nodes on the stem were damaged or lost, soybeans can produce branches from the remaining nodes to help recover after hail events. Similar to corn, soybean defoliation and stem damage during reproductive stages will be more impactful on yield than during vegetative stages.

Recovery of fields should be assessed 4-5 days after the storm events at the earliest, and you should plan to contact your crop insurance agent if applicable regarding damage assessment.

A good resource to determine soybean yield loss due to hail damage can be found at: https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/saline/DLFE-10108.pdf.pdf

According to C. A. Shapiro, Extension Soils Specialist,  T.A.

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Canada thistle rebounds

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension

It can be nice to see old friends. Except when they cause crop and yield loss, refuse to leave after a few days, and don’t respond to chemicals. A while back we wrote about what appeared to be an increase in populations of dandelions and other winter weeds and made some guesses about why this was happening. Canada thistle has once again become a problem in some fields in a big way, probably for some of the same reasons that dandelion has. Our history with thistle during the past 30+ years is that it was a major problem before the widespread adoption of RoundupReady soybeans in the late 1990s. Back then we had to take advantage of specific windows in the cropping cycle to try to get control with glyphosate, and the rest of the time we just tried to keep it from getting worse.… Continue reading

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Double-crop soybean recommendations

By Dr. Laura Lindsey and Eric Richer, CCA, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 19-2021

Wheat harvest is rapidly approaching, and with relatively high soybean prices, we anticipate many growers will be interested in double-cropping soybean after wheat. According to the U.S. drought monitor (https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/), areas bordering Michigan are abnormally dry, but throughout the rest of the state, soil moisture is good. Early wheat harvest, high soybean prices, and adequate soil moisture make double-crop soybean an attractive option in 2021.

The two primary requirements for successful double-cropping are: 1) adequate time to produce the soybean crop and 2) adequate water. In Ohio south of I-70, double-crop soybean production is common as there is generally adequate time to produce soybean; however, yield can be variable depending on soil moisture and rainfall. In Clark County Ohio, we’ve had double-crop soybean yield averages of 50 bushels per acre, but as low as 21 bushel per acre when water was limiting.

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Leveraging technology and nutrient management

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

Thousands of people travel North on Route 23 and West across U.S. Route 6 on their way to Lake Erie, the islands, and Cedar Point every summer, driving right past the farm of Lowell and David Myerholtz. That means thousands of people observing the Myerholtz’s farming practices that have a direct impact on the lake the travelers are headed to visit.

“As we see the boats and campers go by, we know they are headed to Lake Erie, and it keeps it in the front of our mind where our water goes, and it doesn’t take very long to get there,” said Lowell Myerholtz. “If the rain is carrying our nitrogen or phosphorus away into the river and lake, we are hurting ourselves and the lake.”

Lowell and David Myerholtz have been utilizing strip-till for several years as a best management practice on their farm.

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Nutrient deficiencies and slug issues

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Summer has officially arrived and nutrient deficiencies and pests are now a problem.  Healthy plants have less problems with disease and insects, so optimum plant nutrition is important for keeping pests at bay and optimizing crop yields.  Several nutrients may be part of the problem.

Nitrogen is a corn macro-nutrient that farmers apply pre-plant, with corn starter fertilizer, or side-dress applications.  Nitrogen fertilizer can easily be lost depending on how much rain has occurred and whether inhibitors were used.  Nitrogen deficient corn is often seen in low areas or flooded fields.  Sulphur deficiency on corn leaves is becoming more common, seen as yellow striping with green veins and spindly plants.   Sulfur is the fourth most important nutrient needed by plants and is used in protein synthesis and to produce chlorophyll for photosynthesis.  Soybeans need sulfur for nodule formation and wheat to improve grain quality.

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SoyOhio.Org and carbon market information

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

Carbon Markets are being promoted everywhere in agriculture. They are advertised on the internet, in farm publications, and through major ag retailers. This has not gone unnoticed by many of Ohio’s farmers interested in diversifying their revenue sources. At recent board meetings of The Ohio Soybean Council and the Ohio Soybean Association, carbon market opportunities were a central discussion point. Soybean producers in Ohio are represented by farmers board members on the Ohio Soybean Council, which is the managing arm of the Soybean Check-off program, and the Ohio Soybean Association, which is the policy arm. A joint committee was created from both boards to further explore carbon market opportunities for Ohio’s soybean growers.

“Direction from the joint committee to Ohio soybean staff members was to explore carbon, think through what options are available to farmers, and what do farmers need to know about these programs to make an informed decision,” said Julia Brown, Communications Manager for the Ohio Soybean Council and Ohio Soybean Association.

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Soybean nutrient concentration research aims to improve fertilizer use efficiency

By Laura Temple, North Central Soybean Research Program

Modern soybean varieties produce much higher yields than decades ago. And researchers have identified other differences. New soybean cultivars have lower concentrations of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), according to a meta-analysis of soybean composition over time.

“What do lower nutrient concentrations mean to soybean plants?” asks Dr. Alvaro Sanz-Saez, an assistant professor in Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences at Auburn University. “Maybe new cultivars have higher, unrealized yield potential. Or maybe they need fewer nutrients. Or maybe breeding for higher yields has limited their ability to take up nutrients.”

The answers to these questions could impact fertilizer applications and costs or lead to knowledge to further increase soybean yields. Sanz-Saez and a team of researchers investigated differences in nutrient concentrations between older and newer cultivars in a project funded by a soy checkoff investment from Alabama Soybean Producers.

“This research could help us detect characteristics that make future soybeans absorb K and P more efficiently, reducing fertilizer application and farming costs,” Sanz-Saez said.

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Seeding cover crops after wheat

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Wheat will be maturing early due to 90-degree F temperatures.  Wheat grows best under cooler temperatures (less than 80 degrees F) and moist soil conditions.  Wheat stands look great, but starts to die with hot dry temperatures, resulting in lower wheat yields.   Wheat harvest may start in 4-5 weeks, so start ordering cover crop seed now.  A long growing season after wheat allows for many cover crops options.

Warm season cover crops grow in the summer but die with the first frost while cool season species generally survive the winter.  Major categories include legumes, grasses, brassicas, and other broadleaves.  Each cover crop has certain benefits and disadvantages. Cover crops benefits include adding carbon, improving water infiltration and soil structure, tying up soluble nutrients, and are good weed fighters.

Legumes and clovers are high nitrogen fixers before corn and are slightly more expensive.  Warm season legumes include cowpeas and Austrian winter peas while cool season legumes include true winter peas and vetches (hairy, wooly, common, etc) and may add 50-150#N/A if allowed to bloom.  

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Early season insect pests

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

With the slow growth, no growth or no emergence of the corn and soybean crop through the month of May, insects in many cases have been able to keep up with crop progress. I like to use a calendar of pests from the Corn, Soybean, Wheat and Forages Field Guide as a starting point to know what and when to watch for pest problems.

The scouting calendar is based on an average year. As you can see for both corn and soybeans we typically have some time to go before we are beyond the threat of insect pests. Pests we have seen in May have been a few slugs, some flea beetle, and a few chewing caterpillars — last year we saw a lot more. We have European corn borer and corn rootworm as well as some anticipated bean leaf beetle to scout for in June.… Continue reading

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Thin soybean stands: Should I replant, fill In, or leave them alone?

By Andrew P. Robinson, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University and Shawn P. Conley, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin, with additions from Laura Lindsey, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University

One of the most difficult early-season management questions that soybean growers ask is “Should I replant this poor soybean stand or leave it alone?” The answer depends on a number of factors, and growers quickly need to make accurate stand and potential yield loss estimates to determine the most profitable course of action.

Identify the causes of low plant population

The first step all growers should take before making any replant decision is to identify what caused the poor stand. Did the seed fail to germinate, or did it germinate, then die? What caused poor emergence? Identifying the cause is important because if conditions have not changed, then replanting will simply repeat the problem. Early planting is a common source of poor stand problems.

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Soybean stands: Emergence? Replant?

Adapted from Purdue University Pest and Crop Newsletter, Issue 2021.7, By: Shaun Casteel

Soybean planting progress was off to a good pace in April. All of that came to a screeching halt with rains (and snow in some areas). The past week, dryer conditions and warmer temperatures  prevailed. As of May 23rd, Ohio has 66% of the soybean acres planted and 28% emerged. Some parts of the state are evaluating the potential need to replant some of the early April plantings. The heavy rains, crusted soils, and cold late April temperatures have raised some concerns with the soybean stand establishment.

Time to Emergence

Purdue University has evaluated planting dates and planting operations for several management scenarios as well as documenting soybean phenology (development). The following information is really to help provide some guidelines to forecast soybean emergence. Heat unit accumulation is used in estimating the development of many crops (emergence to successive leaf development).

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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: https://ncsu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEkdeiqrTIqHNMYI3FuXRVPgsC87mavL6hs

If you have any questions, please contact Laura Lindsey (lindsey.233@osu.edu 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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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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Weather issues and spring planting

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

The warm weather this past week primed many farmers for spring planting.  Government weather forecasting had gotten better but the results are still variable.  According to the NOAA, the year 2020 was a year of extremes, with record temperatures, dry overall conditions, and forest fires in the West.  Northwest Ohio was dry last year with some rain coming later in the summer and fall.  This year, NOAA predicts slightly cooler temperatures as the weather moves away from a La Nina (80% probability) to a more neutral weather pattern.  The El Nino Southern Oscillation or ENSO measures how warm the Pacific tropical ocean water temperatures are with El Nino’s being warmer and La Nina’s being cooler.

NOAA predictions for the last half of April call for cooler than normal temperatures and possibly wetter than normal, depending on how quick the shift is from La Nina to neutral conditions. 

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