Q&A_with_a_CCA

Nutrients and hypoxia

Adapted from Crop and Soils Magazine, September-October 2022, By Tom Bruulsema, Plant Nutrition Canada, and Dr. Matt Helmers, Iowa State University by Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off

What is the role of plant nutrition in the Gulf of Mexico hypoxia 2022? 

The discussion of water quality issues in Ohio often revolves around what is going on with the algal bloom in Lake Erie. Ironically, a majority of Ohio’s 88 counties drain south to the Ohio River and the run-off eventually ends up in the Gulf of Mexico. That rainwater, carrying nutrients, drains to the Ohio River, then Mississippi River, and finally through the delta region into the Gulf of Mexico. In the hypoxia zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the concentration of oxygen in the bottom waters falls too low to support fish and other marine life.

What are the concerns and economic impacts of hypoxia?… Continue reading

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TMDLs and Ohio agriculture

By Greg LaBarge, CCA, Ohio State University Extension; Rick Wilson, Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water; and Joshua Griffin, Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water

What is a Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL?

When a stream or lake is not meeting the expectations for a healthy waterbody it is considered impaired and the clean water act requires that a plan is developed to restore it to a healthy state. The plan is called a “Total Maximum Daily Load” or TMDL. A TMDL identifies the linkages between the impairment and a pollutant, then prescribes pollutant load reductions needed to restore the waterbody. 

Sources of pollutants are classified under a TMDL as either point sources or nonpoint sources, both of which are evaluated for needed reductions. Point sources include all sources regulated under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program, including wastewater treatment facilities, industrial facilities, and some stormwater from developed areas.… Continue reading

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Building soils for the future

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA (Adapted from Crop & Soils Magazine, May-June 2022 by Jerry Hatfield and Wayne Fredericks)

It is often recommended to farmers when adoption a new practice that they start on a small scale so they can make mistakes and learn on a small scale before adopting it across a large number of acres. Over time, much is learned about the practice they are implementing and ways to modify it to best fit the operation. Over that same time period, the soils will also exhibit changes. While not all the changes are understood, many can be explained and managed.

Understanding the soils on your farm is the first step to measuring any change. Soil health and weather work in tandem to produce crops. We cannot control the environment, however as we improve soil health we can mitigate the risk of adverse weather conditions, and hopefully increase crop yields.… Continue reading

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The agronomic art of growing small grains

By Greg McGlinch, CCA, Wright State University Lake Campus, Agriculture Professor

Farmers are like artists when seeding winter small grains, especially if the grain is intended for a specialty or seed market. The seed is the paint, the land the canvas, and the equipment a brush. Farmers must pay attention to special details and make sure there are no flaws in the agriculture masterpiece, as they have only one chance to get it right.

Greg McGlinch, CCA. Photo by Wright State University Lake Campus.

In Ohio, farmers are familiar with soft red winter wheat but with the onset of new opportunities, like malting barley and cereal rye, farmers may need to tweak their management methods. Management practices are similar among winter small grains; however, farmers may need to pay special attention to certain aspects of fertility and care, depending on the intended market. What specifics are needed for the production of high-quality small grains? … Continue reading

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Scouting for disease

By Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Agricultural and Natural Resources Educator, Ohio State University, Extension Crawford County

Q: We had tar spot bad in our area last year should we be planning to spray all of our corn acres this year?

A: Tar spot treatment, like with all other diseases, should rely on a strong scouting program. The risk is higher this year, especially in continuous corn, but we also have to have favorable environmental conditions. In fields where corn is following soybeans or wheat, the risk is slightly lower but if favorable conditions develop, spores may move in from other areas. With all diseases, scouting is critical to determining if a fungicide needs to be applied. Lesions will be small, black, raised spots appearing on both sides of the leaves along with leaf sheaths and husks. Spots may be on green or brown, dying tissue. Spots on green tissue may have tan or brown halos. Once tar spot is identified, fields should be monitored every 7 to 10 days for incidence levels to increase, even if a fungicide is applied.… Continue reading

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A look at contest practices to bump up soybean yields

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA (Adapted from Crop & Soils Magazine, July-August 2021)

Names like Kip Cullers from Stark City, MO, or Randy Dowdy from Pravo, GA are legends in soybean yield contests. In 2010, Cullers raised 160.6 bushel per acre soybeans. In 2019, Dowdy raised 190 bushel per acre contest soybeans. While many sales agronomists have worked alongside of Cullers, Dowdy and other top soybean producers across the country, academia has not thoroughly evaluated the production until recently.

An examination of high-yield practices was undertaken by Larry Purcell, University of Arkansas soybean physiologist, Distinguished Professor of Crop Physiology and Altheimer Chair for Soybean Research. Also in 2020, Shawn Conley, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor and Extension soybean and small-grain specialist and the North Central Soybean Research Program soybean agronomist, and 12 other university agronomists participated in a large collaborative research SOYA project to investigate a high-input system’s impact on soybean yield and profitability.… Continue reading

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Q&A with a CCA: Corn nitrogen management

…With Kevin Otte, Otte AG, LLC, Maria Stein

Q: How much nitrogen (N) do I need to supply my corn crop?

A: Depending on your efficiency factor of nitrogen, you can figure from 0.8 to 1.2 pounds of nitrogen per bushel to be supplied to the crop. You can enhance your nitrogen rate determination by utilizing an economic return to nitrogen model. These models consider the price of nitrogen and the price of corn and give a range of nitrogen rate that will return most dollars per acre.

Kevin Otte

Q: Should I include a stabilizer with my N source?

A: Anything that can help keep the nitrogen in the field should be looked at. Stabilizers offer protection from nitrogen losses and there are a number of different stabilizer products to choose from. If your nitrogen can be split applied, this can reduce the potential need of a stabilizer. 

Q: The price of N is high.… Continue reading

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