Ditch design options

By Jon Witter, Jessica D’Ambrosio, and Justin McBride

A grant program through H2Ohio was recently announced by the Ohio Department of Agriculture to support the installation of two-stage ditches in counties draining to the Western Lake Erie Basin. The program will be administered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture through county Soil and Water Conservation Districts and County Engineer offices in Northwest Ohio. Contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District or County Engineer for more information on the program.

This program represents a significant investment in infrastructure that integrates conservation benefits and water quality protection with the need for reliable drainage.  We briefly describe ditch management approaches in the following article along with some very basic information on potential tradeoffs when considering a conservation channel design over a traditional (trapezoidal) ditch design.

Ditch design options 

The traditional trapezoidal ditch design is a good solution for surface drainage and works well in most applications if it remains well-vegetated, provides adequate tile drainage capacity, and doesn’t undergo frequent maintenance. … Continue reading

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Legal options for addressing damaged crops

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

Farm neighbor laws have been around nearly as long as there have been farm neighbors. From trees to fences to drainage, farmers can impact and be impacted by their neighbors. In the spirit of managing these impacts and helping everyone get along, our courts and legislatures have established a body of laws over the years that allocate rights and responsibilities among farm neighbors. Explaining these laws is the goal of our new series on farm neighbor laws. 

Here’s a timely farm neighbor problem that we’ve heard before: Farmer’s soybeans are looking good and Farmer is anxious for harvest. But some neighbors drive their ATV into the field and flatten a big section of Farmer’s beans. What can Farmer do about the harm? 

Ohio’s “reckless destruction of vegetation law” might be the solution. The law, Ohio Revised Code Section 901.51, states that “no person, without privilege to do so, shall recklessly cut down, destroy, girdle, or otherwise injure a vine, bush, shrub, sapling, tree, or crop standing or growing on the land of another or upon public land.”… Continue reading

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Laying the foundations for high yield wheat

By Greg LaBarge, CCA, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Making sound agronomic decisions give wheat a well-established root system as a foundation to maximize yield. Wheat is an annual crop, but there are ten months between planting and harvest. Here are seven practices to establish your wheat for its long growing season.

  1. Variety selection is of utmost importance. The Ohio State University Wheat Performance Trials shows yield and other important agronomic data for 79 varieties at four sites at The OSU trials traditionally included disease ratings, but weather wiped out the 2022 disease rating site. The 2021 disease rating data is still helpful and is archived at Company trials are another information source. The more information you look over, especially from your region, the higher your confidence will be about your choice. 
  2. Plant a high-quality seed and use a seed treatment. You take on that responsibility if you plant saved seed from the farm.
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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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USDA forecasts 2022 production down from last year

Corn, soybean, and cotton production is all down from 2021, according to the Crop Production report issued by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Corn production is down 8% from last year, forecast at 13.9 billion bushels; soybean growers are expected to decrease their production 1% from 2021, forecast at 4.38 billion bushels.

Because of the completeness of the data, corn and soybean acreage were reviewed for this report, a month earlier than usual. As a result, area planted to corn is estimated at 88.6 million acres, down 1% from the previous estimate; area planted to soybeans is estimated at 87.5 million acres, down 1% from the previous estimate.

The average U.S. corn yield is forecast at 172.5 bushels per acre, down 2.9 bushels from last month’s forecast and down 4.5 bushels from last year. NASS forecasts record high yields in California, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Acres planted to corn, at 88.6 million, are down 5% from 2021.… 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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Farm Science Review Agronomy College

By Amanda DouridasJason Hartschuh, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio AgriBusiness Association will again partner to hold the Farm Science Review Agronomy College on Sept. 13. The event is designed to educate agronomists, Certified Crop Advisers, custom applicators, and farmers on current agronomy issues.

The full-day event features time with OSU Extension staff in the field at the small agronomy plots and larger demonstration field on the east side of the grounds. Breakout session topics will address the challenges of the 2022 growing season and the opportunities moving into 2023 and beyond.

Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and the program will conclude by 4 pm. Participants will rotate between sessions throughout the day. Sessions are listed below and will be presented at various times throughout the day. Each session will be 60 minutes in length. ODA Pesticide Credits have been requested and CCA credits will be offered.… Continue reading

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Moisture provides optimism, but look for lodging

By Todd Jeffries, Vice President, Seed Genetics Direct

Speaking to a plethora of growers across Ohio, 2022 has been a rollercoaster. Some areas had perfect conditions and were able to get the crop in the ground, only to have it get hammered with five inches of rain 24 to 48 hours after planting. Other areas struggled to get a crop planted and many growers had to take actions they were not proud of, like mudding the crop in because it was June and they needed to get something planted. We can plan and have best practices all we want, but we need Mother Nature to cooperate. 

Todd Jeffries, Seed Genetics Direct

While we may not have the record yields across Ohio as we did last year, we still need to do everything we can to protect plants and yield. Hopefully by now, you’ve scouted your fields, applied fungicide and insecticide if you needed it, and have been diligent in keeping the weed-pressure at bay. … Continue reading

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Cover Crop Field Day

A Logan Soil and Water Cover Crop Field Day will be held Tuesday, Sept. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. State Route 68 Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311 Across from 5977 US 68N. A meal will be provided. 

Come see cover crop plot with over twelve species demonstrated as well as a soil pit. Ask questions and learn how cover crops can work. 

Speakers include: 

• Dave Brant – Walnut Creek Seeds 

• A representative – Origin Malt Barley 

• Mark Wilson – American Farmland Trust 

• Leisha Billenstein – NRCS / Waterway Programs Available 

• Steve Searson – Logan SWCD / Waterway Design. … Continue reading

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NASS reviewing acreage information

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will review all available data, including survey data, satellite-based data, and the latest information from USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency for planted and harvested acreage for chickpeas, corn, cotton, dry edible peas, lentils, peanuts, rice, sorghum, soybeans, and sugarbeets in preparation for the September Crop Production report. If the data review justifies any changes, NASS will publish updated planted and harvested acreage estimates in the Sept. 12 report.

It is normal practice for NASS to review these data in September for chickpeas, cotton, dry edible peas, lentils, peanuts, and rice. The review typically takes place in October for corn, sorghum, soybeans, and sugarbeets, however the data are sufficiently complete this year to consider adjustments in September. In October, NASS will review acreage for canola, dry edible beans, and sunflowers.  … Continue reading

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Foliar feeding soybeans and PFR Proven

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

Becks PFR Research investigates many production practices that farmers face and provides valuable information back to growers considering these practices.

“PFR Proven means a product or practice has been tested for three years and has shown a positive yield response and positive return on investment for all three years,” said Steve Gauck, Regional Agronomy Manager for the East for Becks.

Gauck recently presented at Becknology Days and discussed the attributes of foliar feeding soybeans.

“Just seven to eight years ago foliar feeding crops did not always have consistent results and the term snake oil was often used to describe the products used. Over time we have learned that there can be some advantages to correctly foliar feeding a crop. Foliar fertilization should not be used as a substitute for good soil fertility management. Foliar feeding can be a good addition however,” Gauck said.… 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: 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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Margin protection and wheat crop insurance and deadlines coming soon

The USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) reminds corn and soybean growers that the final date to apply for the Margin Protection insurance plan for the 2023 crop year is September 30. This policy is available in select counties in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.

Federal crop insurance is critical to the farm safety net. It helps producers and owners manage revenue risks and strengthens the rural economy.

Margin Protection is an area-based insurance plan that provides coverage against an unexpected decrease in operating margin (revenue less input costs), caused by reduced county yields, reduced commodity prices, increased prices of certain inputs, or any combination of these perils. Because Margin Protection is area-based (average fora county), an individual farm may have a decrease in its margin but not receive an indemnity or vice-versa.

Margin Protection along with a Yield Protection policy or a Revenue Protection policy (denoted as a base policy) on the same acreage.

To learn more about Margin Protection, please contact a crop insurance agent. There is also a national fact sheet on Margin Protection as well as Frequently Asked Questions on the RMA Website.

In addition, the final date to apply for wheat crop insurance coverage or for current policyholders to make changes to their existing policy for the 2023 crop year is the sales closing date of Sept. 30.

Federal crop insurance is critical to the farm safety net.… 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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Preharvest herbicide treatments for weed desiccation

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

There are plenty of fields with late season weed problems this year. Weeds that come through the crop canopy late may be small or spindly or sparse enough to be handled easily by a combine. Other fields can benefit from a preharvest herbicide treatment to kill/dissociate weeds, which makes harvesting easier and can reduce weed seed production and foreign matter in harvested grain. Information on preharvest herbicide treatments for field corn and soybeans can be found in the “Weed Control Guide for Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois”, at the end of those crop sections (pages 75 and 146 of the 2022 edition). Products listed for corn include Aim, glyphosate, 2,4-D, and paraquat, and for soybeans include Aim, dicamba, paraquat, glyphosate, and Sharpen. Keep in mind that Aim and Sharpen have relatively narrow spectrums of activity, and will be less effective than the others across a broad range of weed species (i.e.… Continue reading

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