Tackling important production decisions with on-farm research

By Aaron Overholser and John Fulton

Making decisions centered on crop production and how best to manage inputs and select practices that make sense for the farm operation can be difficult at times. Many times, information is obtained from neighboring farmers and searching the internet to understand what works or not. With precision ag technology and software available within the industry today, conducting on-farm studies has provided an opportunity for farmers to proactively address production questions. This then leads to insight about what works or not while fine-tuning input management; especially fertilizer application decisions. 

One of the programs in the state of Ohio that works with farmers to setup and answer their production questions is The Ohio State University’s eFields program. This program was developed in 2016 as a means to tackle farmers’ questions from around the state while helping Extension and research personnel conduct meaningful studies addressing research questions as well.… Continue reading

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2021 Ohio Crop Tour recap

We have been crop touring all week and the final results are in! For the in-person leg of the 2021 Ohio Crop Tour we had one group collect samples in 12 counties in northern Ohio and another group collect samples in southern Ohio. In addition, we had nearly 60 entries from around the state in our Virtual Crop Tour for corn and soybeans. Many of these samples were provided with cooperation from Ohio State University Extension educators.

The tour totals (multiplied by an agronomic fudge factor of .9 for corn yield estimates) generated a final yield of 181.83 bushels per acre for a statewide average yield. Our soybean estimate for the state came in right at 55 bushels. 

The tour certainly found some big yields, particularly in the northern part of the state, but also revealed some surprisingly dry and challenging growing conditions in other places. The lack of water in recent weeks for many parts of the state is likely going to knock the top end off of some of those bigger yields for corn and could be a significant detriment to the state’s soybean crop if they persist. … Continue reading

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Moisture haves and have nots showing up

By Matt Reese and Dave Russell

Most of Ohio had enough rain in the early part of the 2021 growing season (in some places too much). In the last 3 weeks or so, though, the rains have stopped in some areas. The Aug. 12 update from the U.S. Drought monitor has a large portion of southeastern and portions of western Ohio listed as “Abnormally Dry.”

This map was released Aug. 12 by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Yellow areas are “Abnormally Dry.”

Some of those dry conditions showed up in this week’s Ohio Crop Tour.

“The places we have been, I’d say Greene and Champaign counties have had more moisture than any other place we were, Fayette would be in there too. The western side of the state and back to Pickaway County was drier than what I imagined it would be,” said Bill Black, a Pickaway County farmer who participated in the in-person tour.… Continue reading

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Hazy days: How does light influence crop?

By Alexander LindseyLaura LindseyAaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

Quite often this summer, our skies have been filled with smoke from western wildfires. Strong, dominant high pressure has focused record-breaking heat in the west while here across the Midwest, westerly to northwesterly flow has funneled that smoke our direction. Typically, this smoke remains at high altitude, resulting in hazy sunshine. What impact can this filtered sunshine have on crop production?

Capturing sunlight energy, which drives photosynthesis, is important to maximize crop yield. Typical plant canopy-level instantaneous light values (also known as photosynthetic photon flux density) on sunny days range from 1200 to 1800 µmol/m2/s while typical instantaneous plant canopy-level values for cloudy days are 100 to 400 µmol/m2/s. In general, sunny days (all else equal) are better for crops, especially if moisture is non-limiting.

For soybean, photosynthetic photon flux densities that exceed 700 µmol/m2/s produce minimal gains in leaf-level photosynthetic efficiency, which ultimately can translate into yield production.… Continue reading

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Virtual crop tour by county: 2021 corn

Adams County

Conditions of the corn were very good. Corn was very healthy and had little signs of stress due to lack of nitrogen. It was planted May 23. Disease pressure was very low and insect pressure was little to none. Pollination looked to be very complete. Yield came in at 230 bushels.

Adams Co. corn

Allen County

This field looked very impressive from the road. Unfortunately, it seemed to be seeing significant tip back and kernel abortion. There was also a small amount of gray leaf spot present. This field also looked to have a higher planted population than several others in the area. I would expect there to be 33,000 harvestable ears per acre. It was planted May 18. The yield estimate was 186 bushels per acre.

Allen Co.

This field was planted May 19 with multiple hybrids and there was significant variability between hybrids. Disease pressure was very low and there was no pest pressure.… Continue reading

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Virtual Crop Tour by county: 2021 soybeans

Adams County

Adams county soybeans resulted in very good condition overall with little signs of weather-related stress. Disease pressure was low. There were some Japanese beetles feeding on foliage. The estimated yield was around 60+ bushels per acre.

Adams county bean field.
Adams county bean plant.

Ashtabula County

This field of soybeans were some of the earliest planted in Astabula county. The field was noted as very tall and having strong color. There was no disease pressure noted, but there were some aphids feeding. The yield esitmation of 60+ bushels per acre.

Ashtubula county soybeans

Champaign County

These Champaign county soybeans were planted April 10, and are a consistent field. There were signs of Sudden Death Syndrome and low Japanese Beetle feeding. The yield estimation for this field is 60+ bushels per acre.

Soybeans in Champaign county.
Japanese beetle feeding in Champaign county.

Delaware County

The soybean field surveyed in Delaware county was tall and further along in maturity when compared to others around it.… Continue reading

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Rain is making grain in Wood County

By Matt Reese and Dave Russell

Many parts of northern Ohio have had a solid growing season in 2021 and that is showing up in crop yield checks this week.

Amid rain showers, Wood County Extension educator Nick Eckel has been out scouting fields and, for the most part, has been pleased with what he has seen, especially with the corn crop in the county.

“This is a really nice corn crop out here in Wood County. Most guys got some fungicide sprayed and we have pretty clean fields. I’ve been finding anywhere from 175 bushels to upwards of 225 bushels. The kernel counts are there and we are getting a little rain today and hopefully that can help fill the rest of this crop out and we can have a good corn crop here in Wood County,” Eckel said. “I did a tour of the entire county. I started in the northeast corner and drove a horseshoe around the county and looked at about 10 different corn fields.… Continue reading

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Federal Legislation and Carbon Markets (Part 3)

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

Carbon Credits are a concept that most in agriculture have now heard about.  All the major agriculture publications have featured articles about the new revenue opportunities carbon markets can present to landowners and farmers. While the big picture of a carbon market system is simple to understand, the details are more complicated.

There are several legal issues that can surround carbon market agreements. “In the legal world right now, we are asking the question: What are they? Are they real property? Are they tangible, are they intangible? Are they personal property? What are these things, and how do we track them in the legal world,” said Peggy Hall, Associate Professor and Field Specialist in Ag Resource Law at The Ohio State University. “If there is interest by farmers or landowners to engage in this carbon market, there are a couple of legal issues that need to be considered.”

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Federal legislation and carbon markets (Part 2)

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

Carbon Credits are a potential revenue source for farmers across the country. In Ohio, it was recently announced that the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund is offering farmers $40 per acre to sign up for their carbon credit agreements if they live in the Upper Scioto River Watershed. “The idea of carbon markets has been around for a long time,” said Peggy Hall, Associate Professor and Field Specialist in Ag Resource Law at The Ohio State University. “About 15 years ago there was a lot of talk about the carbon market and carbon credits, and then it fizzled out. Now the discussion is back again with the concept of the carbon credit. Those agreements establish a market for carbon capture or carbon reduction. The practices that farmers engage in that can reduce greenhouse gasses or sequester carbon can be converted to a carbon credit that can be sold on the open market.”

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Leafhopper issues in alfalfa

By Andy MichelMark SulcCurtis Young, CCAKelley Tilmon, Ohio State University Extension

Potato leafhopper (PLH) adults arrived in Ohio during the last week of June and first week of July. Since then, the eggs have hatched and we are now seeing late stage nymphs and adults infesting alfalfa fields.  A few fields are showing the typical “hopperburn”, which is a triangular yellowing from the center of the leaf to the leaf margin. The more mature the crop of alfalfa is since the last cutting, the more the hopperburn symptoms will be showing. Hopperburn will also become more pronounced in areas of the state that are short on rain or are predicted to become drier because the alfalfa will not be able to outgrow the feeding activity of PLH.  Scouting now and making appropriate management decisions based on the scouting can help avoid serious damage to the crop.… Continue reading

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Ohio Crop Tour North summary

It is said that “rain makes grain”, and that was the take away from the northern leg of the 2021 Ohio Crops Tour sponsored by Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and Soybean Check-off. Those farms that have had sufficient rainfall early-on looked very promising, and have the potential for excellent yields with some timely rain to finish it out. Those fields that were lacking rain as of late, are in need of some moisture to relieve the stress and help the crop finish out with the potential that is left. July rains help the corn during the critical periods of pollination and grain fill. Timely August rains can literally translate to millions of dollars of revenue for the Ohio soybean crop.

Overall the corn fields on the northern leg of the crop tour looked very good. Many had been sprayed with a fungicide. There was very little disease present, and virtually no insect pressure observed.… Continue reading

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Ohio Crop Tour South summary

There were definitely some surprises along the way on the southern leg of the in-person 2021 Ohio Crop Tour. First, we found some surprising pollination issues and one of the highest disease levels we have ever seen in corn in the first couple of counties. Of course, there were some highlights with strong yields in counties where rains have been steady through the growing season, which is what we expected after a strong start and generally good growing conditions for much of Ohio in 2021. We were very surprised, though, about the extent of areas suffering from very dry conditions, particularly in the western part of the tour. We found some pretty wide and deep cracks in the soil we were not expecting to see.

We sampled fields in 12 counties over a day and a half. Overall we settled upon an average yield of 174.7 bushels for corn on Ohio Crop Tour South this year.… Continue reading

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2021 Ohio Crop Tour: North leg

Crawford County

Corn: The corn we evaluated was 109-day maturity corn planted on May 16 with an estimated yield of 200 bushels per acre. It was another good crop.

Ears of corn in Crawford county.
Close-up of an ear of corn in Crawford county.

Soybeans: The soybeans we evaluated were a group 2.7 maturity bean planted in 15-inch rows on April 27 with an average pod count of four to five pods per plant and three beans per pod. Fungicide was applied to the crop. Overall, a good looking stand that could yield 55+ bushels per acre.

Crawford county soybean field.
Crawford county soybean sample.

Wyandot County

Corn: The corn we evaluated was 110 day maturity corn planted on April 26 with an estimated yield of 219 bushels per acre. The crop was sprayed with fungicide and insecticide after some pressure was evident. Overall, an excellent crop.

Ears of corn pulled from Wyandot county.
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2021 Ohio Crop Tour: South leg

Pickaway County

Corn: The corn had a good green color with no disease pressure on the upper canopy. The fill to the tip was getting small kernels due to dry weather. This is a nice looking field with a 33,000 population and a 185-bushel yield.

Pickaway Co. corn
Pickaway Co. corn

Soybean: The beans were green and looked nice. These were the tallest beans of the day at 39 inches. The distance between nodes was 2.5 inches with very low amounts of frogeye present. There was a little leaf feeding. There were 2-3 beans per pod and most were in groups of 2-3 pods per cluster. These were 50 to 60 bushel beans.  

Pickaway Co. beans
Pickaway Co. beans

Fayette County

Corn: There was a nice green color in this field and the corn looked really healthy. The disease pressure was light with tiny lesions of gray leaf spot far down in the canopy.… Continue reading

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Crop progress still ahead of last year

Dry weather throughout the week benefited crops in some areas of the State but caused moisture stress in other areas, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 75 percent adequate to surplus, down 11 percentage points from the previous week. Temperatures for the week ending August 8 were 1.6 degrees below historical normals, while the entire State averaged 0.40 inches of precipitation. There were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending August 8.

Farmers sprayed crops and mowed wheat stubble. Winter wheat harvest was complete. Alfalfa hay second cut progress was 97 percent complete while third cut was 55 percent complete. Oat harvest was 94 percent complete. Corn silking progress was rated 93 percent complete and corn dough was rated 51 percent complete. Corn condition was rated 80 percent good to excellent. Soybeans blooming was rated 90 percent complete while 72 percent of soybeans were setting pods.… Continue reading

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Manure incorporation with the H2O Ohio Program

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Livestock farmers have an opportunity to be a part of the H2O Ohio program on manure incorporation.  This program pays farmers for three years to apply manure to a cover crop or a growing crop in the summer or early fall.  The program is designed to encourage farmers to tie up nitrogen or phosphorus in manure to decrease the risk of manure or nutrient runoff into surface water.  Keeping nutrients and manure on the land and out the water helps to keep our water clean to drink (after treatment), and is good for recreational activities like swimming and fishing.

For farmers to get state funding, the local soil and water conservation district (SWCD) needs to approve a mandatory nutrient management plan for each farm.  When manure is applied, the local SWCD needs to be notified within 24 to 48 hours.  Every farm needs to follow the recommended setback distances and apply manure based on Ohio NRCS 590 standards. 

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Funding for river system improvements is moving forward

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in late July that would allocate millions of dollars in funding to improve the navigability of the Upper Mississippi River System, a vital national artery for the shipment of corn and other crops.

“Corn growers depend on the Mississippi River to deliver corn to key markets. When barges are delayed because of problems on the river, farmers are economically affected,” said Brooke Appleton, vice president of public policy for the National Corn Growers Association. “That’s why we have worked closely with members of Congress to get funding for this project passed.”
The House bill, which includes appropriations funding on other issues, provides $8.66 billion to the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Mission. From those funds, $22.5 million will go toward construction funding for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP). NESP funding will be used to construct new locks on the river and help address efficiency issues with existing locks and dams.… Continue reading

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Monitoring Plant Health

By Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, and John Kemp

Farmers are often looking for a quick way to measure plant health.  Soil and tissue tests are commonly used, but the results may take several days or even weeks in some cases. This can be too late on a growing crop.  A quick and easy method to evaluate plant health is to measure a plant’s sap pH which gives instant feedback.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

A plant’s sap pH represents the percentage of hydrogen ions in a solution or the liquid (sap) from the plant cell.  The pH ranges from 1 which is highly acid to 14 which highly alkaline. Since pH is a logarithm, a one pH unit change equals a tenfold change in the hydrogen ion concentration. If the pH is increased or decreased by two units, the hydrogen ion concentration changes by a hundredfold! A slight shift in plant sap pH can lead to disaster for the farmer.

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Corn Yield Contest deadline coming soon

Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association members have until Aug. 18 to sign up for the 2021 Corn Yield Contest. To enter visit Entering the National Corn Yield Contest automatically enters participants in the Ohio Corn Yield Contest.

In the Ohio Yield Contest, prizes include Trophy Recognition to first and second place in each of Ohio’s 9 grower districts. In addition, the overall state winner gets 1-year free lease on Unverferth Seed Tender and the overall state runner-up gets Bayer fungicide. Both top spots are also eligible for NCGA category prizes.

For questions, contact Brad Moffitt at (614) 530-1957 or… Continue reading

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