Can you dig it?

By Andy Westhoven, AgriGold Regional Agronomist, CPAg, CCA

Just when you thought 2019 was challenging…the year of 2020 has laughed in the face of last year! So far, this season is shaping up as the have and have nots in terms of moisture. At a recent training, attendees brought in samples showing our growth stages ranging from V5 (or shin-high) to pollinated corn from around the state. The variability is evident in the sizes of corn plants, but what we are also seeing below ground. Let us take a journey to investigate the variability of the corn roots and what stories we might learn.

In years of dry weather, I have a belief that subtle variations are exaggerated. What might only be a bushel swing never noticed on a yield monitor becomes a 10+ bushel swing (and usually blamed on the hybrid). Our own farm can provide a perfect example.… Continue reading

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Pollinator protection efforts continue

Throughout the growing season, farmers utilize stewardship practices for proper pesticide use while protecting crops from insect pests and also protecting pollinators. NCGA supports the BeSure! campaign as one way to support farmers protect bees and other wildlife. Some of the other groups we work with include:
• Honey Bee Health Coalition
• Farmers for Monarchs
• EDF Monarch Butterfly Habitat Exchange
• Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund
You can find a wealth of information on protecting pollinators in NCGA’s publication Best Management Practices for Pollinator Protection in Field Corn at

Keystone Monarch Collaborative also offers an excellent resource called the Insect Pollinators and Pesticide Product Stewardship guide. Knowing and following label instructions is a key step to protect all pollinators. Farmers and applicators know that reading and following labels are the first and most important consideration when handling any pesticide. Cooperation and communication among farmers, landowners, applicators, crop advisors, and local officials greatly increase successfully protecting insect pollinators and habitats.… Continue reading

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Waste management really not that different for the city and the farm

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

Ever since the harmful algal bloom (HAB) of 2014 developed in the Maumee Bay of Western Lake Erie and impacted the water intake and treatment plant for the City of Toledo, the question of who is to blame has been center stage. Unfortunately, as multiple sources contributing phosphorus (P) have been identified, the blame game continued.

Agricultural run-off, industrial waste water, municipal waste water, and residential septic systems are the commonly identified sources of phosphorus entering the water. Many farmers feel like they have caught the most scrutiny because they are considered a non-point source compared to the industrial and municipal waste water sources, which are point sources. Municipalities will point to the strict regulations they must follow from the EPA for any application or discharge in comparison to agriculture.

Point sources typically have a single discharge point or multiple points that can be identified and monitored, whereas non-point sources cannot be measured as easily, and are typically a catch-all for what is left.… Continue reading

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OSU Extension releases new crop staging videos

By Alexander Lindsey and Amanda Douridas, Ohio State University Extension

A new suite of crop staging videos have been built by faculty at The Ohio State University that highlight corn, soybean, and alfalfa. The videos highlight some common staging methods for each crop, and connect the staging guidelines to practice using live plants in the field. The videos can be found in the “Crop Growth Stages” playlist on the AgCrops YouTube Channel: These compliment some of the wheat staging videos previously posted on the AgCrops YouTube channel as well. As the crops progress through the reproductive stages, expect some more videos to be posted.

Accurate crop staging is important to time management practices in the field. Many pesticides may have stage limitations for applications in addition to a height restriction. Growing conditions may also affect how stage and height interact, in that turgor pressure and water availability may affect stem elongation.… Continue reading

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ODA asks public to not plant any unsolicited packages of seeds

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has been notified that several Ohio residents have received unsolicited packages in the mail containing seeds that appear to have originated from China. The types of seeds in the packages are currently unknown and may contain invasive plant species. Similar seed packets have been received recently in several other locations across the United States.

Those who receive a package of this type, should NOT plant these seeds. If they are in sealed packaging, do not open the sealed package. Ohioans can report the seeds to ODA online here or you may contact the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Anti-smuggling Hotline by calling 800-877-3835 or by emailing Also, if possible, please retain the original packaging, as that information may be useful to trade compliance officers as they work through this issue.

Unsolicited seeds could be invasive species, contain noxious weeds, could introduce diseases to local plants, or could be harmful to livestock.… Continue reading

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Late summer early fall cover crops

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Late summer and early fall are great opportunities to plant cover crops and improve soil health. Days are shorter,  but with ample sunshine left and a little rain, cover crops grow quickly.  Both summer annuals which die with the first frost and winter annuals can be grown.  Legumes and clover which add soil nitrogen, all types of grasses for carbon, and brassicas to reduce soil compaction and reduce weeds all grow well at this time.

After wheat, either bale or chop the straw and spray the weeds.  Baling straw makes you more money than chopping straw. The high carbon content in wheat straw can reduce cover crop establishment and the by-products upon decomposition may be toxic to germinating cover crop seedlings.  If possible, spray weeds with gramoxone (a dessicant) rather than glyphosate.  Glyphosate reduces soil health and biology for several weeks and causes oxidizing microbes to make manganese unavailable while promoting Fusarium root diseases and weed resistance. 

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Southwest Ohio Corn Growers Agronomy Field Day Aug. 18

The 9 a.m. kickoff session for the Southwest Ohio Corn Growers Agronomy Field Day features  Keynote Speaker Aaron Wilson,from Ohio State University with a Climate and Weather Update and Sakthi Subburayalu from Central State University talking about Water Quality and Edge of Field Research. Ryan LeGrand, the CEO of the U.S. Grains Council is another featured speaker for the field day and the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a “Business After Hours” event as well.

The event is at the Fayette County Airport and Demonstration Farm at 2770 Route 38 Washington C.H. Admission is free and lunch is included. There will be large equipment and table top displays.

For more information, contact Ken Ford, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County at 937-335-1150 or… Continue reading

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What is soil health?

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Soil health is a term that everyone seems to be confused about or have their own opinion. Soil health is about three things: soil organic matter (SOM), soil microbes and organisms, and plants. Good soil and soil health are dependent upon the interaction of these three things. Active short-term organic matter are the root exudates, root carbohydrates (sugars) and microbial bi-products which produces good soil structure and is missing from most of our tilled soils. Soil microbes process nutrients to make them plant available and produce humus which is the long-term SOM. Plants and live roots supply the carbon, nitrogen and energy from sunlight to feed the microbes and to produce SOM. The end result is a rich fully functioning soil producing healthy dense food to feed livestock, humans and wildlife.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

What is the difference between good soil health and degraded soil health?

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Late summer establishment of perennial forages

By Mark Sulc, Ohio State University forage specialist

The month of August provides the second window of opportunity for establishing perennial forage stands this year. The primary risk with late summer forage seedings is having sufficient moisture for seed germination and plant establishment, which is a significant risk this summer given the low soil moisture status across many areas.

The decision to plant or not will have to be made for each individual field, considering soil moisture and the rain forecast. Rainfall/soil moisture in the few weeks immediately after seeding is the primary factor affecting successful establishment.

No-till seeding in August is an excellent choice to conserve soil moisture for good germination. Make sure that the field surface is relatively level and smooth if you plan to no-till seed because you will have to live with any field roughness for several years of harvesting operations.

Sclerotinia crown and stem rot is a concern with no-till seedings of alfalfa in late summer and especially where clover has been present in the past.… Continue reading

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Court allows Enlist Duo registration but requires closer look at monarch butterflies

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

In a decision that turns largely on scientific methodology and reliable data, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed continued registration of the Enlist Duo herbicide developed by Dow AgroScience (Corteva). Unlike last month’s decision that vacated registrations of three dicamba herbicides, the two-judge majority on the court held that substantial evidence supported the EPA’s decision to register the herbicide. Even so, the court sent one petition back to the EPA to further consider the impact of Enlist Duo on monarch butterflies in application areas. One dissenting judge would have held that the science used to support the Enlist Duo registration violates the Endangered Species Act.

The case began in 2014, when the same organizations that challenged the dicamba registrations (National Family Farm Coalition, Family Farm Defenders, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety and Pesticide Action Network North America) and the Natural Resources Defense Council each filed petitions challenging the EPA’s registration of Enlist Duo.… Continue reading

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It is time to scout for insects

By Kelley Tilmon, Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension

As the summer progresses we are receiving reports of insect problems often encouraged by hot, dry weather. Last week we reported on spider mites and especially if you are in an area of continued dry weather we recommend scouting your soybeans and corn. For more visit

Some areas are also reporting increases in young grasshoppers in soybeans, another insect favored by dry weather. Grasshoppers of often start on field edges so early scouting may allow for an edge treatment. Japanese beetles are another common defoliator of soybean that are starting to appear. Both of these pests fall into a general defoliation measurement, and we recommend treatment if defoliation is approaching 20% on the majority of plants in post-flowering beans. Download our guide to estimating defoliation in soybean at

A weird problem being reported not just in Ohio but in parts of the Midwest as far-flung as Minnesota is the red headed flea beetle, which is being found in corn and soybean.… Continue reading

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Specialty crops available for CFAP funding

By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR Tuscarawas County

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced earlier this year the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Developed earlier this year, CFAP is intended to assist farmers who suffered economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial payments were made available to growers of certain non-specialty and specialty crops, dairy, livestock, and wool producers. On July 9, 2020 USDA announced additional specialty crops eligible for economic assistance. The list of specialty crops includes: alfalfa sprouts, anise, arugula, basil, bean sprouts, beets, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celeriac (celery root), chives, cilantro, coconuts, collard greens, dandelion greens, greens (others not listed separately), guava, kale greens, lettuce — including Boston, green leaf, Lolla Rossa, oak leaf green, oak leaf red and red leaf — marjoram, mint, mustard, okra, oregano, parsnips, passion fruit, peas (green), pineapple, pistachios, radicchio, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, fresh sugarcane, Swiss chard, thyme and turnip top greens.… Continue reading

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Moisture stress and high temperature effects on soybean yields

By Michael Staton, Michigan State University Extension Soybean Educator

Producers want to know how their soybean fields will be affected by the recent heat wave and lack of rain and the warmer and drier than normal conditions that are forecast to prevail for the remainder of July. Soybean yield losses are most likely to occur when moisture stress occurs during germination and reproduction. Inadequate soil moisture during germination causes uneven and spotty emergence. This is the reason why soybean agronomists recommend placing soybean seed into at least 0.5 inches of moist soil at planting. Soybeans that were planted later in June may have germinated under marginal soil moisture conditions.

Michael Staton, MSU Extension Soybean Educator

Soybeans can tolerate moisture stress relatively well during the vegetative stages. Stress at this time reduces shoot growth, but not root growth. These conditions diminish water use by the plants and increase their ability to extract water from deeper in the soil profile.

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BASF filed petition for a rehearing

On July 20, BASF filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit requesting a rehearing of its June 3, 2020 decision. The court’s decision vacated the EPA registration of its dicamba-based Engenia herbicide without giving BASF an opportunity to be heard. Specifically, the petition requests a review of the decision by a panel of 11 judges from the Ninth Circuit instead of the three-judge panel that issued the previous decision. This request for “en banc” review is necessary to correct errors by the panel in issuing a decision inconsistent with basic due process and administrative law principles.

The panel’s decision undermined the authority of the EPA to make science- and data-based regulatory decisions to determine which herbicide products are safe and effective to meet the challenges farmers face every season. The EPA should be allowed to continue following a science-based approach to evaluate and manage ecological risks, while balancing agricultural and societal benefits, when reviewing registration applications.… Continue reading

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Drought returns to Ohio

By Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

Hot and mostly dry conditions have continued across Ohio. As of July 20, Columbus has reached at least 90°F on 16 out of 20 days in the month, with many locations around the state recording at least double-digit days at that mark. Recent temperatures averaged 2 to 8 degrees F above normal, with the warmest conditions compared to average across northern Ohio.

Outside of locally heavy thunderstorms, widespread rainfall has been lacking. Only far northeastern counties, far northwestern Ohio, and isolated locations generally south of I-70 picked up more than 0.50 inch of rain this past week, with much of the state collecting less than 0.10 inch. With very little rain and intense evaporation rates (0.25 to 0.30 inch per day), soil moisture continues to dissipate across the region.

Much of northwest Ohio has now fallen below the tenth percentile for soil moisture in the top 1 meter (3.3 feet) of the surface.… Continue reading

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Corn silks, beans bloom despite dry conditions

Warm and dry weather prevailed throughout the week, allowing small grain harvest to progress quickly, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture decreased from 43 percent adequate or surplus last week to 24 percent adequate or surplus this week. Approximately 59 percent of the state saw abnormally dry conditions according to the latest Drought Monitor, and several reporters observed crop stress due to lack of soil moisture. Average temperatures for the week were approximately 2 degrees above historical normals, and the entire state averaged less than .5 inches of precipitation. There were 6.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 19. Farmers harvested wheat, baled straw and hay, installed tile, conducted tillage, and hauled manure. Winter wheat harvested was at 95 percent, ahead of the five-year average by 12 percentage points. Soybeans blooming was at 64 percent, ahead of the five-year average by 14 percentage points.… Continue reading

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A new era of victory gardens

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

When the United States entered World War I nearly a century ago, citizens were asked to do their part to support the troops by planting gardens.

Propaganda and pamphlets were distributed across the country, encouraging everyone to plant gardens to aid in the war. School yards, parks, backyards and more were all converted into gardens. Again, following the start of World War II, these “victory gardens,” as they were named for their wartime efforts, began to reemerge. Food rations led to many families producing their own fruits and vegetables. Gardens boosted morale and brought a sense of collectiveness to the country.

As the world has gone to war in a new battle in the form of a pandemic, there appears to be another wave of these “victory gardens.” For the first time in a very long time, Americans went to the grocery store and were met with empty shelves.… Continue reading

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GPS concerns for agriculture

By Matt Reese

There has been much discussion about the importance of improving rural broadband and cellular connectivity. As efforts to address this challenge move forward, new potential challenges are emerging.

“We know there are places where there is no cellular connectivity in Ohio making it very hard to get a connection to the Internet. The Internet has become a necessity for production agriculture today. Cellular services have advanced to 5G but that is limited to large cities and making that accessible to rural communities is very important,” said John Fulton, professor in the Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. “The federal government has taken initiatives on the finding solutions to rural broadband coverage. One of the more debatable discussions currently is about the Ligado Company. Many people in the ag sector would recall LightSquared back in the 2011 era trying to deliver rural broadband via satellite.… Continue reading

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Mid-season weed management in soybeans

By Dr. Mark Loux, OSU Extension Weed Specialist, adapted from C.O.R.N. 2020-21

A few weed-related observations while we try to stay cool and hope for a day of rain or at least popup thunderstorms.

One of the frequent questions during extended dry weather is — do I wait for rain before applying POST herbicides, or just go ahead and apply before the weeds get any larger and tougher to control.  Our experience has been that it’s best to go ahead and apply when weeds are still small, even if it’s dry, and herbicides will usually do what they are supposed to.  Letting them get larger without any sure forecast for rain can make for a tough situation that requires higher rates or a more injurious mix.  On the other hand, waiting to apply can be fine if there is a good chance of rain within the next few days.  It’s not always an easy decision.

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Western bean cutworm numbers starting to increase

By Amy Raudenbush, Mark Badertscher, Jordan Beck, Frank Becker, Lee Beers, CCA, Bruce Clevenger, CCA, Sam Custer, Tom Dehaas, Craig Everett, Allen Gahler, Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Andrew Holden, Stephanie Karhoff, Alan Leininger, Ed Lentz, CCA, Rory Lewandowski, CCA, Cecilia Lokai-Minnich, David Marrison, Sarah Noggle, Les Ober, CCA, Eric Richer, CCA, Garth Ruff, Beth Scheckelhoff, Clint Schroeder, Jeff Stachler, Mike Sunderman, Curtis Young, CCA, Chris Zoller, Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon, Matthew Lorentz, Ohio State University Extension

We are in the third week of monitoring for Western bean cutworm (WBC) in Ohio. Numbers of WBC moths doubled from the previous week; however, overall numbers across the state remain low. Trap counts for the week of July 6 – 12 resulted in a total of 117 WBC adults (1.3 average moths per trap). A total of 27 counties monitored 91 traps across Ohio. Sandusky County reported capturing more than 1 moth per day over the 7-day monitoring period; therefore, scouting for egg masses should begin in this county.… Continue reading

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