Fall cover crops

By Sarah NoggleRachel Cochran, Ohio State University Extension

It is time for planting fall cover crops. Cover crops can serve many purposes, ranging from erosion control to nutrient sequestration. Depending on the type and species of cover crop, benefits range from providing a nitrogen source, scavenging nutrients to decrease leaching potential, acting as a soil builder, preventing erosion, fighting weeds, acting as a forage, conserving soil moisture, and enhancing wildlife habitats.


  • Can be used as a nitrogen source due to their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil
  • Many have good or excellent forage value, such as many clover species, alfalfa, and winter pea


  • Many are good weed-fighters, such as turnips, oilseed radish, and mustards
  • Many have good grazing and forage value, such as canola, turnips, and oilseed radish


  • Good erosion fighter due to fibrous root systems
  • Many have excellent grazing or forage value
  • Good nutrient scavenger due to vast root system

Cover crops can be seeded in ways to fit any operation.… Continue reading

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Don’t take drying shortcuts with stored corn

By Dee Jepsen and Lisa Pfeifer, Ohio State University Extension

Wet weather conditions are causing concerns with the 2020 corn crop going into storage. Proper management of stored grain will be the key to eliminating risks to human health and safety later in the season.

Grain that goes into the bin with higher moisture content presents a host of possible issues.

  • It can freeze or bind.
  • Mold issues can arise.
  • An environment susceptible to insect problems can be created.
  • Higher volumes of bin fines can result.

All of these issues ultimately affect grain flow efficiencies, which can lead to a number of safety hazards. These conditions can cause grain to become bridged or line the sidewall of the bin, resulting in the need for bin entry into an unstable environment.

Producers will need to monitor bin conditions and test the moisture level of the product more frequently throughout the storage season.… Continue reading

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Weed management in Ohio: Maybe we are getting better?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension

Our OSU Extension AgNR educators have been conducting fall weed surveys in Ohio soybean fields since 2006. That was about 10 years after the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans and we were starting to see break throughs and wanted to document those occurrences.

We again observed soybean fields across the state this fall to see what was out there during our annual fall soybean weed survey. We each drive about 80 miles around our county and rank weed control on a 1 to 3 scale — with a 1 being very few weeds and a 3 a trashy mess. We also count the number of weed free fields.

Statewide our most frequently observed weed was again marestail as has been regularly since 2006 I believe. It was present in 21% of the fields. Giant ragweed is right there with it at 20%. Waterhemp is again a problem, even THE major problem, in some areas of the state.… Continue reading

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Farmers invited to XtendFlex Live Premiere

Farmers from Minnesota to Mississippi are planning to join Bayer and special guests for the XtendFlex Soybeans Live Premiere. The 90-minute web event is scheduled on Nov. 12 at 8 a.m. (CST).

“Ever since we started talking about it, farmers have been anxiously waiting for the XtendFlex soybeans technology approval. Ultimately, XtendFlex soybeans offer farmers the yield they want with the choice they need,” said Brandy Cullen, traits marketing communications manager at Bayer’s Crop Science division. “XtendFlex soybeans are the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System’s ‘next big thing,’ and we are excited to celebrate this milestone with farmers across the country.”

U.S. Farm Report anchor Tyne Morgan will host the prize-packed event where three farmers will each win 500 acres’ worth of XtendFlex soybeans. Prizes also include a new drone, Google Nest, YETI Cooler, grill, smoker and Omaha Steaks. The live premiere will also feature a guest appearance from American country music singer and songwriter Dustin Lynch and a surprise guest. … Continue reading

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Rattan Lal, Hans Kok headline Dec. 3 Ohio No-till Conference

By Randall Reeder, Ohio State University Extension (retired)

 We plan to have a hybrid conference (combination of in-person at Der Dutchman and broadcast live online by Ohio Ag Net). With COVID-19 issues we might have to change.

At Der Dutchman Restaurant, Plain City, we will be limited to 140 participants (pre-registration required). Most of the speakers will be in-person. Rattan Lal plans to present live, but virtually.

The program will start at 9:00 a.m., with Dr. Hans Kok, Program Director, CTIC, speaking on “Soil Health and Cover Crops: Effect on Environment.”  

Cover crops have many benefits, both short term and long term. Cover crops improve water quality by reducing runoff, and loss of soil and nitrogen.

Interestingly, cover crops pull more phosphorus from deep in the soil, meaning no P fertilizer may be needed for 10 years or more. The effect of cover crops on P getting into Lake Erie is still not clear.… Continue reading

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Carbon initiative rewards farmers for stewardship

Agriculture may now have another solution to positively impact climate change thanks to a new initiative launched by Bayer. Beginning starting last summer, Bayer began rewarding farmers in Brazil and the U.S. for generating carbon credits by adopting climate-smart practices — such as no-till farming and the use of cover crops — designed to help agriculture reduce its carbon footprint and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The pilot program has been offered in 9 states in the Midwest, including Ohio.

“We want to reward farmers for adopting new practices that sequester carbon from the atmosphere. That is what we started in the U.S. and Brazil with around 1,200 farmers. We’ve had a great response from farmers joining the pilot program,” said Leo Bastos, head of the Carbon Business Model for Bayer Crop Science. “They do not have to buy any Bayer products, the only requirement is for the farmer to use Climate FieldView and have an account because of the data management.… Continue reading

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Wet weather slows harvest

Precipitation throughout the week continued to slow harvest and other field activities, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 91
percent adequate to surplus by week’s end, up 7 percentage points from the previous week. Average temperatures for the week were 4.2 degrees below historical normals and the entire State averaged 1.56 inches of precipitation. There were 2.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 1.

Soybean and corn harvest progress fell further behind normal. Soybeans were 77 percent harvested by week’s end compared with the 5-year average of 86 percent, while soybeans moisture content was at 14 percent. Forty-one percent of the corn was harvested compared to the five-year average of 65 percent. Corn moisture content was rated 22 percent. Alfalfa hay fourth cutting was at 93 percent, behind last year by 5 percentage points. Other hay third cutting was at 94 percent, 5 percentage points behind last year.… Continue reading

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Make the pass count

By Andy Westhoven, AgriGold Regional Agronomist, CPAg, CCA

At the conclusion of a harvested field, many options abound for growers on how to prepare their fields for the next season. Inevitably, we want to make the subsequent season better, which may mean enhancing the soil fertility, using cover crops, tillage, no-tillage, fall herbicides, etc. Whatever the decision, the goal is to always leave the field improved and ready for next spring – so make the pass count.

No one wants to waste time, energy, and resources on a pass across the field that will not improve the soil. Many growers will fall-apply nutrients with variable rate(s) and/or different placement methods such as strip till and broadcast. It is extremely important to “know before you throw” fertilizer on/in a field. The importance of soil sampling cannot be forgotten. Simply applying fertilizers because “it’s what we do” or blindly applying fertilizers can go wrong.… Continue reading

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Soybean Cyst Nematode has made itself at home in Ohio

Adapted from article by Dr. Anne Dorrance, OSU Plant Pathology, C.O.R.N. 2020-36

The Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) is an invasive species has adapted quite well to Ohio conditions, and is unfortunately doing very well in some fields based on egg counts. We are wrapping up intensive sampling of Ohio Fields from the support of the soybean check-off through Ohio Soybean Council and United Soybean Board.  To date, 566 samples were submitted from 34 counties. From these, 33.7% had populations of 200 eggs or more. There were 7.6% in the high range (>5,000 eggs per cup of soil), which are associated with significant yield losses.

More importantly, from these samples that had high numbers, we have completed the SCN Type test. This evaluates which resistance will be effective, PI 88788 or Peking. From the 56 SCN populations (each from a single field), only 7 populations were still controlled by PI 88788. The remaining populations could reproduce on the soybean roots of the PI 88788 source of resistance, albeit at levels of 30 to 60% of the susceptible.

Continue reading

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Commodity Classic announces transition to digital

Commodity Classic has announced it will transition its annual conference and trade show, originally scheduled for March 4 to March 6, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas, to an alternative digital format. The change was necessary due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new format is expected to be offered the first week in March 2021.

“This is about doing the right thing for our farmers, exhibitors, stakeholders and the broader community in terms of health and safety—which is our top priority,” said Anthony Bush, an Ohio corn farmer and co-chair of the 2021 Commodity Classic representing the National Corn Growers Association. “After careful deliberation among our farmer-leaders and industry partners, the COVID-19 restrictions would prevent us from delivering the type of high-quality experience Commodity Classic attendees and exhibitors have come to expect and enjoy for the past 25 years.”

According to Brad Doyle, an Arkansas soybean farmer and co-chair of the 2021 Commodity Classic representing the American Soybean Association, directed health measures due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic such as social distancing guidelines would prevent Commodity Classic from conducting the trade show, educational sessions and farmer networking — each of which are hallmarks of Commodity Classic.… Continue reading

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The smell of rain and microbes

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

After a dry summer, the smell of rain is often refreshing but maybe a little less so to farmers at harvest time!  People can often sense it is going to rain.  This “pre-rain” smell comes from ozone formed when oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere is spilt through electrical charges in the clouds to form ozone (O3). Ozone is blown down from the upper atmosphere and has a sharp odor, somewhat like chlorine or burnt wires. This pre-rain smell is a good indication a storm is brewing before the pleasant smell of rain occurs.

Recent research shows that the smell of rain is caused by soil actinomycetes or actinbacteria.  Scientist have a name for it called petrichlor (pronounced pet-try-cure).  As rain infiltrates the soil, it causes the actinomycetes to form spores which are released along with geosmin, a chemical that creates that earthy soil smell when soil is tilled. 

Continue reading

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EPA announces new five-year registration for dicamba products on soybeans

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

This past summer was tumultuous for soybean growers across the country in many ways. On June 3, farmers were caught in limbo as discussions between the U.S. EPA, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and herbicide manufacturers were precarious after the Ninth Circuit Court vacated the product registrations of three dicamba-based products. Those products include: Monsanto’s XtendiMax, DuPont’s FeXapan, and BASF’s Engenia, which had been registered to be applied as conditional use pesticides for post-emergent applications. The court held that when the EPA conditionally amended the registrations for an additional 2 years, the process they used violated the provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

On June 8, the EPA issued a key order providing guidance on how those in possession of the products could legally proceed. The order applied to the sale, distribution and use of stock for the three dicamba products in question.… Continue reading

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Soil health indicators

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, and Jon Traunfeld, University of Maryland Extension

How do I know if my soil is healthy and what are indicators of soil health ?  Plants thrive in healthy soils and are not overtaken by pests (weeds, insects, diseases).  Weeds are the first colonizers of unhealthy, compacted or newly formed soils. Usually something is missing (soil organic matter (SOM), a certain nutrient, soil too tight) and weeds thrive under these conditions until the condition improves.  Insect and disease pest also thrive, because the plant is sick and easy prey.  Just like the lion or wolf in the wild, the sick and weak are consumed.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Healthy soils have deep loose soil for good root growth.  The soil should be dark in color meaning that the soil has plenty of SOM.  Healthy soil should be slightly moist, crumble,  have soil aggregates that fall apart, and have an “earthy” smell.

Continue reading

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Stalk rot issues are showing up in some corn

By Pierce Paul and Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Corn harvest is progressing very slowly across the state as the crop is taking unusually long to dry down this year. The longer the crop stays in the field, there greater the risk of late-season diseases such as ear and stalk rots, especially if it continues to rain. Stalk rot often refers to a combination of several interrelated problems, including stalk breakage, stalk lodging, premature plant death, and root lodging. Several factors may contribute to stalk rot, including extreme weather conditions, inadequate fertilization, problems with nutrient uptake, insects, and diseases. For instance, when leaves above the ear are severely damaged (either by diseases, insects, or some environmental stress) well before grain-fill is complete, the plants often translocate sugars from the stalk to fill grain, causing them to become weak and predisposed to fungal infection. A number of fungal pathogens cause stalk rot, but the three most important in Ohio are Gibberella, Collectotrichum (anthracnose), and Fusarium.… Continue reading

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Extended drydown in corn

By Alexander Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

As fall is progressing, crop harvest is also occurring throughout the state. However, many producers are seeing slower than usual drydown in their corn fields this October. This may be in part due to how the weather conditions impacted corn growth and development this year.

In many parts of Ohio in 2020, temperatures were near the long-term average this season. One marked difference though was that precipitation was below normal for much of the season around the state.

In 2018 and 2020, temperatures were very similar to one another in each month, with the exception of May being slightly cooler and September being slightly warmer in 2020. The only month in which 2020 received more precipitation than in 2018 was May. Cool wet conditions resulted in planting dates that extended into the latter part of May for the state (USDA reported 57% corn acres planted on May 17, 2020), but also may have contributed to delayed emergence due to slow heat unit accumulation (only 11% of the corn was emerged on May 17).… Continue reading

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2020 field crop insect recap

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

It has been a year of uneasiness for farmers in Ohio due to weather stress. Many areas in the state experienced various level of abnormally dry to drought conditions during the summer months. While some areas received timely rains, others often saw hit and miss rain shower activity. Given the moisture stress on crops, many growers in Ohio were fortunate that additional stress from insect pressure was not a large factor. Familiar insect pests such as soybean aphids and brown marmorated stinkbugs, or the common defoliators such as bean leaf beetles, Japanese beetle adults and grass hoppers, were present, but not in numbers that were problematic in most situations.

Kelley Tilmon, associate professor and state specialist for field crop entomology at The Ohio State University reported a year with less insect pressure than in the past.… Continue reading

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Soybean harvest over half complete

Modest precipitation throughout the week was not enough to decrease the amount of acres seeing abnormally dry conditions, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 55 percent adequate to surplus by week’s end, up 14 percentage points from the previous week. However, approximately 56 percent of the State was abnormally dry, according to the most recent Drought Monitor. Average temperatures for the week were 0.1 degrees above historical normals and the entire State averaged 0.50 inches of precipitation. There were 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 18.

Farmers harvested crops, planted cover crops, and tilled fields. Soybeans dropping leaves was at 97 percent, ahead of the five year average by 2 percentage points. Soybeans harvested was at 65 percent while soybeans moisture content was at 13 percent. Corn mature was 3 percentage points behind the five-year average at 86 percent while corn moisture content was rated 22 percent.… Continue reading

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Intelligent sprayer upgraded

By cutting the amount of pesticide that ends up in the air or on the ground, a new high-tech pesticide sprayer can save vineyard, orchard, and nursery growers money while protecting the environment.

The “intelligent sprayer” system was first put on the market in spring 2019, but since then it has been upgraded. Now, among other improvements, it can take an inventory of trees or vines by height and width and measure the amount of pesticide sprayed per tree or vine to help growers manage pesticide costs.

Developed by a team led by an agricultural engineer with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), the spray technology can sense the location and structure of the trees or vines it is spraying. In the gaps between trees and branches, the spray automatically shuts off, so no pesticides are discharged.

“A standard sprayer releases pesticide constantly down a row, so a lot of extra pesticide goes into the air and onto the ground,” said Heping Zhu, a CFAES adjunct professor and an engineer with the U.S.… Continue reading

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Still planting wheat?

By Laura Lindsey and Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

There is still time to plant wheat. Wheat planted 3 to 4 weeks after the fly-free-safe date can achieve a similar yield as earlier planted wheat if freezing weather does not occur until late November or early December. However, as we enter three to four weeks after the fly-free-safe date, growers should plant at a higher seeding rate than the regularly recommended 1.2 to 1.6 million seeds per acre in 7.5-inch rows.

Generally, the best time to plant wheat is the 10-day period starting the day after the fly-free-safe date. When wheat is planted more than 10 days after the fly-free-safe date, there is an increased change of reduced fall growth and reduced winter hardiness.

Instead, plant at a rate of 1.6 to 2.0 million seeds per acre. The number of seeds per pound and germination rate are important for determining the correct seeding rate and calibration.… Continue reading

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Enrollment begins for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for 2021

Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The signup period opened Tuesday, Oct. 13.  These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops, and more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year.

“Although commodity prices are starting to show a glimmer of improvement, recent depressed prices and drops in revenue compounded by the effects of the pandemic have seriously impacted the bottom line for most agricultural operations,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “Through safety-net programs like ARC and PLC, we can help producers mitigate these financial stressors and keep the ag industry moving forward. Make time over the next few months to evaluate your program elections and enroll for the 2021 crop year.”… Continue reading

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