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?

Continue reading

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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.

Continue reading

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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.

Continue reading

Read More »

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

Read More »

Ohio No-Till events canceled

The Ohio No-Till Council had three events planned in August that have been canceled.

“With Farm Science Review canceled, it became clear we had to cancel our three half-day events,” said Randall Reeder, Randall Reeder, P.E., Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired).

The events were:

Aug. 19: Ohio No-till (Summer) Field Evening, Nathan Brown Farm, Hillsboro

Aug. 20: Ohio No-till (Summer) Field Morning, Fred Yoder Farm, Plain City

Aug. 20: Ohio No-till (Summer) Field Evening, Keith Kemp Farm, W. Manchester.… Continue reading

Read More »

Watch for frogeye leaf spot in beans

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

Frogeye leaf spot is a disease that can impact soybean yields across this eastern Corn Belt. Typically, more prevalent in the southern growing regions, the disease can occur farther north as a result of weather favorable to its development.

The fungus that causes frogeye leaf spot (Cercospora sojina) survives in infected plant debris and can cause infections in growing plants when weather conditions are favorable. Frogeye leaf spot lesions produce spores that are easily transported by wind, acting as inoculum for leaf infections on other plants. The disease is promoted by warm, humid weather and will continue to develop on infected plants during patterns of favorable weather. With the warm and wet weather patterns that have existed in the eastern Corn Belt during 2017, it is expected that frogeye would be observed in some fields.

Frogeye leaf spot symptoms begin as small yellow spots that become larger lesions with gray centers and dark reddish-purple or brown borders.… Continue reading

Read More »

Scouting for spider mites

By Andy Michel and Kelley Tillmon, Ohio State University Extension Entomology, C.O.R.N. 2020-22
Hot, dry weather encourages certain pests in field crops, in particular spider mites in soybean and occasionally corn. Spider mites are a sporadic problem that most often occurs in August, but infestations in July are possible with sustained periods of hot, dry weather like some parts of Ohio are experiencing. Crop scouts in areas that have not received rain recently should be on the lookout for this problem; spider mites are easy to miss in early stages and can build quickly.

Look for light-colored stippling damage which is easier to spot than the mites themselves. In areas with heavy stippling you can confirm the presence of mites by tapping vegetation over a black piece of construction paper. (Many sources will say to use white paper; but insider tip: they are actually easier to see against a dark background.)… Continue reading

Read More »

Is fungicide the right move for corn and soybeans in 2020?

By Alexandra Knight, Ph.D., Field Agronomist, Pioneer

Late season fungicide and insecticide applications to corn and soybeans is a management decision growers will be making rather quickly but, does it appear this year will pay?

In many parts of Ohio, 2019 left fields unplanted. In many cases, cover crops were planted to preserve mycorrhizal fungi. While this left an opportunity for beneficial organisms to thrive, it also provided an opportunity for insects and diseases to maintain a home. This combined with the mild winter, would lead us to suspect 2020 to be a strong year for both insects and disease.

In both corn and soybeans, the leaves serve as “solar panels” to capture sunlight and turn that sunlight into sugar to produce grain. When leaves remain healthy and undamaged more sugar can be produced and ultimately more yield obtained.

When fungicide applications occur, the leaf is protected from further disease development for a period of approximately 2 to 3 weeks.… Continue reading

Read More »

Take action: Pesticide resistance management

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

Production threats facing soybean farmers are constantly changing. Weeds, insects, and diseases create stress on crops that can contribute to reduced yields throughout the growing season. Take Action: Pesticide Resistance Management is an initiative of the United Soybean Board to help growers better identify and understand these production challenges and find solutions to protect their crops while reducing the threat of resistance developing in the pest.

Take Action is both a website and an app for smart phones and tablets that gives farmers the tools needed to follow an integrated pest management strategy with the resources to correctly identify pests, determine thresholds, and select treatment options the reduce the chances of developing pesticide resistance.

The Take Action website is divided into a resources section and a management section. Both sections are broken down into three key areas: Herbicide-resistance management, Disease-resistance management, and Insect-resistance management.

Continue reading

Read More »

Soybean weed management in hot, dry conditions without dicamba

By Mark Loux Ohio State University herbicide specialist

Here are 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.
Continue reading

Read More »