Featured News

Natural cover crop termination

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

As the planting season progresses, many cover crops and weeds continue to grow. Letting cover crops grow may reduce soil moisture, improve soil structure, reduce dust storms, and add soil carbon.  Crop rollers naturally kill cover crops by mechanically terminating (crimping) them.  Crimpers are used to kill grass cover crops (cereal rye, oats, barley, whet, millets, sorghum species), vetches (hairy, common), annual clovers (crimson and balansa), brassicas (kale, rape), buckwheat, sunflowers, and multi-species cover crops. Crimpers do not work well with perennial cover crops like red clover, alfalfa, or annual ryegrass.  Best results when the heads or flowers are in the “boot” or head stage, when mechanically crushing cover crop stems kills them.

Crimping advantages include suppression of weeds by forming a natural mulch, reduced summer soil temperatures, it conserves soil moisture, decreases soil erosion, adds organic matter, and reduces blowing soil.  Crimping cover crops works well on corn and soybeans but not on small seeded crops like hay.… Continue reading

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More ticks expected this season

Backyard lovers, campers, outdoors enthusiasts, and pet owners beware. If you thought last year’s tick season was bad, just wait. This year has the potential to be even worse.

Ticks—and the diseases they carry—are on the rise in Ohio and will likely continue to increase. There has been a steady increase in tick-vectored disease numbers in Ohio each year, and officials don’t expect to see a reverse of the trend, said Tim McDermott, an educator with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“While you can encounter a tick during any season, spring marks the beginning of heavy tick season, and this year, the tick population statewide is expected to continue to rise,” he said. 

McDermott said there are multiple factors contributing to the increase in tick-vectored disease, including global climate change, tick range expansion, and increasing numbers of wildlife living in close proximity to people. … Continue reading

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Lessons learned from HPAI

By Joel Penhorwood and Matt Reese

Ohio continues to face concerns regarding high path avian influenza (HPAI) after dealing with some devastating losses last year in the state’s poultry industry. 

The virus is still causing problems around the country with 15 states dealing with HPAI issues in February and March in commercial and backyard poultry flocks. Pennsylvania has been the worst hit with over 75,000 birds affected in late February and early March, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. This winter, though, Ohio has been in the clear in terms of commercial and backyard poultry flocks after facing some tough situations last summer and fall. A wild, deceased bald eagle was found in Clermont County with HPAI in Clairmont County in November of 2022 and some additional wild waterfowl tested positive in Lake County in March.

While they were challenging, Ohio’s HPAI issues with poultry last year did serve as examples in the event of the future arrival of HPAI or other foreign animal diseases in the future.… Continue reading

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OAC scholarship recipients announced

Each year, the Ohio Agricultural Council offers up to three $1,500 scholarships annually to Ohio high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree in agriculture and up to three $1,500 scholarships to undergraduate college students from Ohio who are currently pursuing a degree in agriculture. 

The OAC is pleased to announce the 2023-24 recipients of the Scholarship Program. 

Haven Hileman is a junior at The Ohio State University. She is the daughter of Ed and Robin Hileman. Through involvement with organizations like 4-H, FFA, and Farm Bureau, Haven has discovered a love for advocating and educating others about the agriculture industry. Haven is majoring in Animal Sciences at OSU and, upon graduation, plans to become an agricultural education teacher and raise livestock on her family farm. 

Lauren Mellott grew up on a small grain farm in Butler, Ohio, where she learned the importance of the agricultural industry and found her passion for providing education about and advocating for the industry that provides the world with food, fuel, and fiber.… Continue reading

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Corn planting date concerns

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Soybean Lead/Field Agronomist, Seed Consultants, Inc. 

For much of the Eastern Corn Belt it is widely understood that the optimal planting period is between April 20 and May 10. Research has proven that corn loses yield potential daily when planted after the beginning of May. For the Central Corn Belt, the declines in yield potential due to planting delays vary from about 0.3% per day early in May to about 1% per day by the end of May. Knowing that this is true, it can be frustrating during a wet spring or when field work is delayed for one reason or another. Planting is a critical component of a successful crop as it sets the stage for the entire growing season. However, it is important to keep in mind that early planting is just one of many factors that contribute to high yield potential. Planting early favors high yields, but it does not guarantee them and growers should not focus entirely on the calendar.… Continue reading

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Biodiesel boat racing inspires future agriculturalists

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

At first glance, a group of students racing boats may appear to be more about play than learning about Ohio agriculture. First glances, though, can be misleading. 

Through curriculum from the Ohio Soybean Checkoff’s GrowNextGen program, students learn the science to make biodiesel from vegetable (soy) oil and use it to power boats for racing. Variations of the program are available for elementary and junior high, but Rachel Sanders, FFA advisor and science instructor at the Global Impact STEM Academy in Springfield, uses the boat racing with high school juniors.

“They’re actually looking at the chemical formulas and equations, figuring out the ratios of how much methanol and potassium hydroxide catalyst to use to make biodiesel, and hopefully race some boats,” Sanders said. “A couple of us teacher leaders, about 10 years ago, started looking at how could we incorporate this lesson into a chemistry classroom and some traditional science classrooms and show them how ag relates to any field in any area of science.” … Continue reading

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A Groovy place to be for unique and unusual plants

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

For plant lovers, a visit to the Groovy Plants Ranch feels like you’re a proverbial kid in the candy store. The whole property feels both whimsical and a bit weird, which is exactly the vibe that owners Jared and Liz Hughes were going for. 

“We never want to be boring. It’s more fun to do weird stuff,” Liz said. “If we like it and it’s fun, anything can be groovy.”

She and her husband Jared welcome thousands of visitors from across the country to their Morrow County business every year. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener. 

The botanical selection at Groovy Plants Ranch is quite diverse, boasting over 1,500 varieties of plants, herbs and vegetables. Everything from house plants, air plants and cacti to begonias, peonies, petunias and more are for sale, in practically every color, too. There are the same varieties visitors would find at any typical garden center, but also an array of rare plants. … Continue reading

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Early Soybean Planting and Stand Evaluation

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

Planters were rolling early across the state during the second full week of April.  Now in the second full week of May, not much is occurring.  Rainfall and cooler temperatures since April have slowed planting progress. The Ohio Ag Statistics Service reports planting progress as of May 7th at 11% complete in Ohio for soybeans with 2% emerged.

Dr. Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension State Soybean Specialist is conducting an early planting date study in 2023 (along with a corn planting date study). “Two of the three planting dates have been completed with the first planting occurring from April 12-14,” said Lindsey. “The farm managers at the three locations the study is being conducted reported good planting conditions in early April. The field conditions at the Western Research Center were a little damp.  The second planting occurred April 26-27.… Continue reading

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Part-Time Seasonal Job Opening at Ag Net Communications

Position: Media Specialist

Hours: Part-time Position – flexible hours – 10 hours a week

Pay: Based on experience

Location: Works remotely – home based

Deadline to apply: May 26, 2023

Start date: Immediately

Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net are looking for a highly detail oriented and organized individual to assist with website posts, graphic design and eNewsletter management. Ideal candidates should have some experience in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign; however, candidates without this experience may be considered.

Duties would include daily preparation of the content and advertisements in our eNewsletter Digital Dale, graphic design of digital and possibly print ads, and posting information to our website. Availability would be needed Sunday evening through Thursday evening from 4 to 5 p.m. to create the following day’s email newsletter. Other hours can be somewhat flexible if the needed work is completed by deadline.

This position is a temporary position for the summer; however, it is possible it could be extended.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 300 | 95th Ohio FFA Convention Recap

On this week’s podcast Dusty and Joel sit down to talk about the 95th Ohio FFA Convention with student reporters, Aubree Topp and Allison Kinney. Aubree is from the Botkins FFA Chapter and Allison is from the Indian Lake OHP FFA Chapter. During this year’s convention, they conducted interviews and captured photos and videos. 

Wyatt Morrow, a student reporter and from the Fairfield FFA Chapter, interviewed Katie Oestreich, Ben Bitner, Kennedy Short, Luke Jennings, and Landon Shelpman about their year of service together as State FFA Officers. Allison also interviewed Luke Jennings, who was named the New State FFA President. Lastly, Dusty talks with Dr. Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension State Specialist for small grains and soybeans, about soybean planting progress and stand evaluation. All this and more on this week’s podcast!

00:00 Intro and OCJ/OAN Staff Update

05:41 Wyatt Morrow – State Officer Recap

18:42 Allision Kinney – Luke Jennings, New State President

22:05 Dr.… Continue reading

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ODA announces farm pesticide collection dates

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) will be sponsoring three collection events for farmers wishing to dispose of unwanted pesticides. This year, the collections are happening in Morgan, Putnam and Miami counties on the following days and locations:

• Aug. 9, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.: Morgan County, Morgan County Fairgrounds
2760 South Riverside Drive, McConnelsville, Ohio 43756

• Aug. 10, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.: Putnam County, Putnam County Fairgrounds, Gate 5
1206 East Second Street, Ottawa, Ohio 45856

• Aug. 22, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.: Miami County, Miami County Fairgrounds, North Gate
650 North County Road 25A, Troy, Ohio 45373

The pesticide collection and disposal services are free of charge, but only farm chemicals will be accepted. Paint, antifreeze, solvents and household or non-farm pesticides will not be accepted.

The pesticide collections are sponsored by ODA in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To pre-register, or for more information, contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-6987.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau job opportunity to provide accounting services for Ohio Ag Net

Ohio Farm Bureau is looking for an accounting coordinator that will provide general business support, payroll and accounting functions and activities for Ag Net Communications. This is an exciting opportunity to work in a hybrid schedule that allows flexibility to work from home and collaborate in the office as well. Ohio Farm Bureau offers a generous benefit package that includes vacation, sick and personal time; nine observed holidays and extra time off during the Christmas and New Year Holiday; incentive bonuses and extra vacation days, a 401k retirement plan with company match; three health plans to choose from, a company provided contribution to a health savings account, dental, vision, life insurance, voluntary insurance, short-term disability, long-term disability; employee incentive plan, tuition reimbursement and bonus for employee referrals. Deadline to apply: May 26, 2023

Ohio Farm Bureau is looking for a candidate that is a self-started, problem-solver and wants to contribute to the team and the success of the organization.… Continue reading

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Cool and wet days slow planting progress

Another week of below-average temperatures and scattered showers inhibited fieldwork, according to the USDA NASS, Great Lakes Regional Field Office. Farmers referenced cool, wet soil as having limited row crop germination and emergence last week. Adequate conditions for evaporation later in the week made field work possible on lighter soils before the arrival of a weekend storm.

Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 2 percent short, 60 percent adequate, and 38 percent surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending on May 7 was 50.9 degrees, 4.8 degrees below normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 0.94 inches of precipitation, 0.03 inches above average. There were 1.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 7.

Oat progress reached 79 percent planted and 49 percent emerged. Winter wheat advanced to 85 percent jointed and 1 percent headed. Winter Wheat crop condition was rated 67 percent good to excellent, up slightly from the previous week.… Continue reading

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Fields starting to dry, warm

(Update as of May 5)

Kyle Nietfeld

We’ve seen snow and rain here the last couple days. The snow was not accumulating, but there were some flakes flying around. In the last week, we’ve had almost two inches of rain. There were a few small, short downpours but mostly it was just wet, misty and drizzly. Currently, it’s nice out and it’s starting to dry off on the top. Ideally, we could get back in on Monday, but I think there’s an 80% chance of rain in the forecast this Saturday to Sunday. If we get missed, I would say on some of the drier ground we could be going on Monday.

I heard soil temperatures were as low as 38 or 39 degrees last weekend. I’m guessing after the nice sunny day yesterday and again this morning, I would say by this afternoon they’ll be in the 50s again. This area is maybe only 10% to 15% planted.… Continue reading

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Improving herbicide performance

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers (even gardeners) use herbicides to kill weeds.  There are many factors that affect herbicide performance.  Water quality; water pH; water, air, and soil temperature, type and volume of water; size of weeds; and even time of day can impact herbicide effectiveness.

Purdue University has several good publications on improving herbicide performance.  PPP-86: The impact of water quality on pesticide performance.  PPP-107 Adjuvants and the power of the spray droplets. PPP-112 Water temperature and herbicide performance.  PPP-115 Compendium of herbicide adjuvants. This last publication explains how to prevent water minerals from tying up herbicides.  Here are some tips from these publications:     

Check your water quality.  Water makes up at least 95-99% of the spray volume, so water minerals affect herbicide performance.  Water quality is measured by water hardness.  The more minerals there are, the higher the hardness.  Hard water can reduce not only the herbicide solubility but also how well it is absorbed.… Continue reading

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A presidential example to follow…

By the Ohio Ag Net Staff

It was 40 years ago today (May 6, 2023) that Ohio Ag Net general manager and farm broadcaster Dale Minyo was elected as the Ohio FFA President. 

In the decades since then, Dale has tirelessly promoted the national blue and corn gold. Beyond FFA, though, the key leadership role for Dale four decades ago has led to hundreds of thousands of miles traveled, countless county fair visits, an untold number of agricultural events, and steadfast service to Ohio agriculture. Dale’s unwavering dedication to his craft — from (very) early morning radio broadcasts through late night farm banquets — during the last 40 years was certainly shaped by his experiences and leadership development in the FFA.  

Plenty has changed with agriculture and FFA in this timeframe, but fresh off the 2023 Ohio FFA Convention, it is clear the passion for agriculture, dedication to service and work ethic remains much the same as it did in Dale’s era in the organization.… Continue reading

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Soybean Planting Considerations

Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2023-12

May is here, and the planting season will speed up with better weather in the coming days/weeks. According to the USDA-NASS report for the week ending 04/23/23, 6% of Ohio’s soybean were planted. Relative to the 5-year average (2% planted), that suggests a quicker start for the same period before.

Early planting dates can bring advantages and disadvantages for both crops. Following the OSU Agronomy Guide recommendations, below is a list of key reminders/considerations for planting season this year:

Soil Temperatures:

Planting soybeans after soil temperatures reach the 50°F mark is recommended. We recommend measuring ½ – 2 inches below the soil surface in the early morning.

Generally, early planting comes with the risk of late spring frost, insect/disease losses, and slug damage. However, timely planting is important to maximize yield. In Ohio, we have measured a 0.5 bu/acre reduction in yield for each day soybeans were planted after the end of April.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Hall of Fame announces 2023 inductees

The Ohio Agricultural Council is set to honor four individuals who have dedicated their lives to working in and promoting Ohio’s farm community. On Friday, August 4, Kenneth D. Davis of Leesburg, Terry McClure of Grover Hill, Thomas Menke of Greenville, and Dr. Don Sanders of Urbana will be inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame, an esteemed recognition of their contributions to the agricultural industry.

“It gives us great pleasure to acknowledge this outstanding group of Hall of Fame inductees,” said Chris Henney, president of the Ohio Agricultural Council and president and CEO of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association. “Their commendable contributions to the agricultural industry, including advocacy, mentorship, leadership, and conservation efforts, have garnered recognition at the local, state, national and international levels.” 

In its 57th year, the annual event is typically attended by over 600 guests who gather to honor the inductees for their lifetime of service and dedication to Ohio’s agriculture community.… Continue reading

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Ohio Field Leader Podcast Episode 31: Land Use Issues

The Ohio Field Leader Roadshow is back for another year, and takes center stage for the podcast as Dusty visits with Jed Bower, a fifth generation farmer from Fayette County. Dusty and Jed discuss the past year as well as the early spring and upcoming planting season. They discuss the multiple markets available to corn and soybean farmers in Southwest Ohio. They also talk about some of the land use challenges faced all across the State of Ohio with industrial development taking prime farmland out of production, and what that means for rural communities and to farmers in the future.… Continue reading

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