Fall soil sampling?

By Greg LaBarge and Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension

Simply put, the goal of soil sampling is to make a fertilizer recommendation for crop production.

  • To provide that recommendation, calibration studies are done to measure crop response.
  • For Ohio, the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations provide the calibration study history for recommendation development. For 2020 we just rolled out the latest “Tri-State” recommendations.

It’s about statistics. We want to take a representative sample, meaning that the sample should represent the fertility level of the area we sampled.

  • Choose sample areas in the field that have similar crop yields, crop rotation histories, fertilizer application methods and sources of applied nutrient.
  • Fields or field areas with a history of livestock production (a former pasture, had manure applications or produced hay) or other unique characteristics may require a different sampling strategy.
  • Field areas represented by any single sample should not be greater than 25 acres.
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University/industry partnership takes field scouting to the next level

It’s no secret that farming has become increasingly high-tech, but a partnership between The Ohio State University and an Ohio agribusiness is taking things even further with new field scouting technology that involves a drone and artificial intelligence (AI).

The Molly Caren Agricultural Center, home to the annual Farm Science Review (FSR), is no stranger to implementing new technology and best practices to optimize production and, more importantly, serving as a resource for Ohio and regional producers.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, FSR 2020 will be a three-day virtual show held Sept. 22–24 at Although the center is closed to the public, Molly Caren Ag Center farm manager Nate Douridas and his team have been conducting various research projects to ensure that Ohio remains at the forefront of agricultural innovation.

In partnership with Integrated Ag Services, a local agribusiness based in Milford Center, a new high-definition field scouting program is being studied using a drone equipped with AI software.… Continue reading

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Visit the Agronomic Crops Team at the (Virtual) Farm Science Review on September 22-24th

By Amanda Douridas, Mary Griffith, Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Elizabeth Hawkins, Ohio State University Extension

This year the Farm Science Review will be virtual for the first time in its nearly 60 year history. The virtual show takes place on September 22-24th and includes many livestreamed educational sessions and demonstrations, as well as recorded videos. The show is free to attend with a simple registration process. To register, start at and click on the red box that will take you to the My Show Planner. For registration guidance, check out this quick video that demonstrates the process.

The Agronomic Crops Team will be at the virtual Farm Science Review and available to discuss agronomy related issues with visitors through a virtual portal. Once you have registered to attend the Farm Science Review, you can find the Agronomic Crops Team here. The main activities hosted by the Agronomic Crops Team include:

Virtual Agronomic Plots Tour: This year the Agronomic Crops Plots were planted as always, and visitors can take a 360 virtual reality tour of the plots.… Continue reading

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The legalities of noxious weeds

The legalities of noxious weeds

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

We have been receiving many questions about noxious weeds lately. This is meant to be a refresher about what you should do if noxious weeds sprout up on your property.

What are noxious weeds?

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is in charge of designating “prohibited noxious weeds.” The list may change from time to time, but currently, noxious weeds include:

  • Shatter cane (Sorghum bicolor)
  •  Russian thistle (Salsola Kali var. tenuifolia).
  • Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense ).
  •  Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa).
  • Grapevines (Vitis spp.), when growing in groups of one hundred or more and not pruned, sprayed, cultivated, or otherwise maintained for two consecutive years.
  • Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense ).
  • Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum).
  •  Cressleaf groundsel (Senecio glabellus).
  • Musk thistle (Carduus nutans).
  • Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).
  • Mile-A-Minute Weed (Polygonum perfoliatum).
  • Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).
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Cover Crop Champions & Cover Crop Driving Tour

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

Cover Crop Champions is an educational initiative funded through a grant from the National Wildlife Federation. There are two Cover Crop Champions programs in Ohio.  One is in the northwest corner of the state, and the other is located in west central Ohio.

The program in Northwest Ohio is being overseen by the Conservation Action Project (CAP). CAP was started in 1988 and serves the seven-county corner of Northwest Ohio which includes: Paulding, Defiance, Williams, Henry, Fulton, Wood, and Lucas. The governing board is made up of farmers, ag retailers, and agency personnel with the goal of working to help farmers and ag retailers implement conservation practices in an economically sustainable way.

Abby Wensink is the coordinator of CAP, and is administering the Cover Crop Champions grant. Cover Crop Champions utilizes the knowledge of area farmers who are experienced with cover crops.

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Fall harvest tips

By John Fulton (FABE Associate Professor) and Elizabeth Hawkins (Extension Specialist)

Fall harvest is here and is one of the more exciting times of the year on the farm. Spending time sitting in the combine cab or delivering grain can be fun. However, harvest also brings about the opportunity to collect yield and other data from fields that can be valuable when evaluating individual fields for the year. Today, there is a lot of data collected throughout the growing season that can be beneficial as one evaluates each field and the impactful variables on yield and profit.

We would all like to see over 300 bushels of corn and 80 bushels per acre of soybeans consistently displayed on the yield monitor across an entire field. This year that will not happen as yield variability within and between fields is likely to be quite high for the 2020 harvest. However, to work towards reaching yield and profit goals, it is important to collect data that is beneficial for the farm operation to use during post-harvest evaluation.… Continue reading

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Tips for harvest and planning for 2021

By Dr. Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension Plant Pathology, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2018-33

The 2020 Soybean harvest has started in Ohio.  The following items are things to keep track of as the combines run across the fields to help evaluate the 2020 crop and plan for 2021.

  • Make note of those low yield spots in soybeans to soil sample for soybean cyst nematode levels.
  • Did you leave unsprayed strips?  Harvest each of these first separately.  Yield is not even throughout a field so comparisons to the average of these unsprayed strips are a more accurate measure of what the baseline level of yield is within a field.  This is the number to compare yields for any treatments. Note: the outside borders of the field are usually not comparable since these have additional secondary factors such as shade from trees, compaction, old fence rows etc. which can impact yield.
  • Fields with Sclerotinia should be harvested last. 
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Western Ohio cropland values and cash rents 2019-20

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, Director, OSU Income Tax Schools, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension

Ohio cropland varies significantly in its production capabilities and, consequently, cropland values and cash rents vary widely throughout the state. Generally speaking, western Ohio cropland values and cash rents differ from much of eastern Ohio and parts of southern Ohio cropland values and cash rents. The primary factors affecting these values and rates are land productivity and potential crop return, and the variability of those crop returns. Soils and drainage capabilities are the two factors that heavily influence land productivity, crop return and variability of those crop returns.

Other factors impacting land values and cash rents may include buildings and grain storage, field size and shape, field accessibility, market access, local market prices, field perimeter characteristics and potential for wildlife damage, previous tillage system and crops, tolerant/resistant weed populations, population density, USDA Program Yields, and competition for the cropland in a region.… Continue reading

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EPA denies of gap-year waiver petitions

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied 54 of 68 pending past-year (2011-2018) small refinery exemptions (SREs), or waivers, to oil refiners. An additonal 14 gap-year waivers remain under required review at the Department of Energy (DOE). The EPA also has 31 waivers under consideration for 2019 and 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance years.

“Asking for waivers for nearly ten years ago was a new low by the oil industry to undermine the RFS and rewrite history. Denying these petitions was the obvious answer and farmers are pleased to begin to move past this distraction. We thank our bipartisan supporters in Congress, including Senator Ernst, for their advocacy in upholding the RFS,” said the National Corn Growers Association in a statement. “While denial of these past-year waivers is obviously positive news for farmers and biofuel producers, we’re never going to have the certainty we need until the underlying waiver issue is fully resolved.”… Continue reading

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Soil moisture and 2020 corn

By Matt Reese

Ohio’s corn crop has faced everything from a little too wet to hot and dry this growing season and evidence of those challenges is likely going to be showing up in some fields during harvest, said Brad Miller, technical agronomist for DEKALB Asgrow.

“This spring we had some wet conditions after planting that persisted. The good news is that many of the places that were unable to plant last year were able to get a nice, early start and got their acres planted. In some of those instances, though, wet ground conditions persisted after planting which led to some stand establishment issues,” Miller said. “We have had some dry conditions through July, and for corn planted a little too wet, those root systems could be compromised. That may impact yield potential.”

High temperatures and long stretches with limited rainfall in July also set some fields up for pollination challenges.… Continue reading

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Scout now for cressleaf groundsel in hayfields, or pay the price in May

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension

Some hay producers have been unpleasantly surprised in the past when cressleaf groundsel infestations became evident in their hay fields in May prior to first cutting. Cressleaf groundsel in hay or silage is toxic to animals, and infested areas of the field should not be harvested and fed. Groundsel is a winter annual, emerging in late summer into fall, when it develops into a rosette that overwinters. Growth restarts in spring, with stem elongation and an eventual height of up to several feet tall. The weed becomes evident in hay fields when in becomes taller than the alfalfa/grass and develops bright yellow flowers in May. The problem with passively waiting until this point to discover that the hay is infested with groundsel is that: 1) it’s too late to control it with herbicides; and 2) hay from infested areas has to be discarded instead of sold or fed, and large plant skeletons are still toxic even if herbicides were effective on them.… Continue reading

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September is the time to get ready to plant wheat

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

I will admit I have not done much wheat work since the 1980s but I observe that many producers who do grow wheat are happy with their results — from the economic side by having three crops in a rotation and from the ability to do additional practices in the field after wheat harvest. Some benefits to having a summer fallow field are:

  • the application of manure,
  • to install tile,
  • the opportunity to do some deeper tillage or some levelling, and maybe to do some fertility adjustments along with that tillage,
  • to cleaning up perennial weeds (although this has been accomplished with RoundupReady crops too),
  • add a cover crop in the rotation and really have an impact on nitrogen accumulation or to build soil health,
  • or even to double-crop soybeans.

What are best management practices for growing wheat in Ohio?

Variety selection is of utmost importance.… Continue reading

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Drought and herbicide carryover

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

The 2020 summer was hotter and drier than normal for most farms, so herbicide carryover will be a major issue for planting cover crops.  Herbicides degrade based on soil temperature, rainfall, time of application, organic matter, soil type, soil pH, and sunlight.  Generally, microbially active soils break down herbicides quickly.  Moisture is critical for microbe activity, so drought or dry summers means slower herbicide breakdown.  High soil temperatures can also reduce microbial activity and herbicide breakdown.  High soil microbial activity occurs between 75-850F but once soil temperatures get above 900F, generally microbial activity declines.  On bare soils, the soil temperatures in the top inch may reach 110-1400F on a hot sunny day, greatly reducing microbial activity and herbicide breakdown.

Mark Loux OSU Extension Weed Scientist
Dr. Mark Loux, OSU Extension Weed Scientist

Herbicide application timing also determines herbicide degradation.  Herbicides applied in the spring or early summer have a longer time to break down. 

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A shocking solution to weed control

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

The annual task of getting effective weed control is a challenge every farmer is familiar with. Each year millions of dollars are spent in the United States on herbicides to manage weed pressure in fields. As a boy, Seth Stutzman got tired of pulling and hoeing weeds on his family farm. The Stutzman family farms around 350 acres of organic corn, soybean and wheat near Plain City. Those involved in organic crop production realize one of the greatest production challenges they face is getting consistent weed control, largely due to a much smaller number of approved chemical options for certified organic crops.

Two years ago, Stutzman found what he thought was a good solution to his hours of hand labor in the fields. Stutzman purchased The Weed Zapper and began using it to clean up his fields, and those of neighboring farms.

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Cover crop driving tour

Those interested can drive themselves to three different fields to view cover crops planted in August. The farmers will be on hand to answer questions and discuss their challenges and opportunities in using cover crops. Refreshments will be served at each location. There is no cost to attend. Total drive time is just under 30 minutes and farms can be visited in any order.

The event will be held Thursday, Sept. 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. The field locations are:

• Hosted by Jack Sommers: Hoffman Farm, Hammond Rd, Cable near Mingo

• Hosted by Tom Smith: 2684 Mt. Tabor Rd., West Liberty

• Hosted by Tim Lyden: near 5745 St Rt 47 E Bellefontaine.

Contact Amanda Douridas at or 937-484-1526 for more information. This event was paid for by a grant from the National Wildlife Federation.

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Ask the expert sessions to be held live during 2020 Farm Science Review

By David Marrison, Jeff Workman and Chris Bruynis, Ohio State University Extension

For the first time in its nearly 60 year history, Ohio State’s Farm Science Review scheduled for September 22 -24 will not be held in-person.  Instead, a virtual show will be held and the Review will come to you on your laptop or smartphone this year, and for free.  You can watch live streamed talks and recorded videos featuring the latest farm equipment and research to pique your curiosity.

Virtual visitors can find out about the show’s offerings by going to and clicking on an image of the show’s site. Within that image, people can click on the various icons to find the schedules for talks and demos they’re most interested in, such as field demonstrations or “Ask the Expert” talks.

Among the livestreamed talks will be Ask the Expert presentations. Viewers will enter the talks through a Zoom meeting link and be able to post their questions in chat boxes.… Continue reading

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Innovative state approaches to the hemp regulations Under the 2018 Farm Bill

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

Our newest report for the National Agricultural Law Center examines the different approaches states are taking to regulate hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill. Innovative State Approaches to Hemp Regulations under the 2018 Farm Bill is available on our website at:

Over the last few years, the agricultural sector has been buzzing with excitement about the potential of a new crop — industrial hemp. For years, hemp was increasingly regulated across the country because it was legally classified the same as marijuana, another type of cannabis.

In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act completely illegalized hemp production. This criminalized approach to hemp changed with the 2018 Farm Bill, however, which removed hemp from the definition of “marijuana” and gave states a chance to create their own hemp regulation programs. Many states seized the opportunity.… Continue reading

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Isons name Excellence in Ag winners

Drs. Josh and Sarah Ison of Clermont County have been named winners of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s 2020 Excellence in Agriculture Award. The award recognizes successful young agricultural professionals who are actively contributing and growing through their involvement with Farm Bureau and agriculture.

The Isons will receive a John Deere Gator courtesy of Farm Credit Mid-America, a $1,000 cash prize sponsored by Nationwide and a $1,000 cash prize courtesy of Ohio Farm Bureau. Josh is the director of sales and tech services for a U.S.-based biotechnology company. Sarah is an animal scientist, food safety consultant and university instructor. The Isons own and operate a direct-to-consumer and retail sales meat business, Flourish & Roam, focusing on raising high-quality Angus beef that is direct-marketed to consumers, restaurants and retailers.

To support the grassroots policies of Farm Bureau, the Isons each have participated in multiple visits with local, state and national legislators. Sarah is an aspiring influencer on social media platforms, sharing positive messages about agriculture.… Continue reading

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Why should you bump corn seeding rate in 2021?

By Dave Nanda, Ph.D., Seed Genetics Direct, Director of Genetics

What plant population do you want to get for your corn?  Suppose you just upgraded your planter with electric drives and all the bells and whistles. You want to wind up with 32,000 plants per acre at harvest, so you figure if you seed just over 32,000 seeds per acre, you will have all the plants you need for your desired yield.

However, no matter how much technology you have on your planter, some slippage will occur between the seeding rate and final population. If you plant 32,000 seeds per acre, you won’t always get 32,000 plants per acre at harvest. In fact, most of the time, you would more likely get closer to 30,000 plants per acre. Seed germination is not 100%, no matter whose seed you plant, so you can’t assume every seed will germinate. If you want 32,000 plants at harvest, you should consider seeding rates closer to 33,000 to 34,000. … Continue reading

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USDA announces first-ever recipients of urban agriculture grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the selection of recipients for approximately $4.1 million in grants and cooperative agreements through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. Famicos Foundation in Cleveland was among the first-ever recipients of these grants and cooperative agreements, which will enhance urban agriculture efforts in their community.

“Ohio is certainly doing its part to support a sustainable food system including work being done in urban agriculture and community gardens,” said Terry Cosby, State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Ohio. “I look forward to seeing the innovations in urban and other emerging agricultural practices that result from these efforts.”

The Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program supports a wide range of activities through two grant types, which are Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. Activities include operating community gardens and nonprofit farms, increasing food production and access in economically distressed communities, providing job training and education, and developing business plans and zoning.… Continue reading

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