Archive for the ‘Agronomy’ Category


2011 Ohio County Level Crop Yields Available

The National Agricultural Statistics Service has release the 2011 Ohio county crop yield estimates. The data can be viewed at:

Additional data available are livestock inventories for cattle, dairy cows, milk sold, hogs and sheep.


Determine “A Deal” on Liming Material

by Bruce Clevenger, OSU Extension Defiance County

Soil pH is an important consideration when producing any crop, and soil pH should be the first soil consideration when attempting to grow a plant. Soil pH affects soil microbial activity and populations, many soil chemical reactions, and nutrient availability; thus it is an important soil property to consider for maximum productivity. High yielding crops, applications of certain forms of nitrogen, and other agricultural practices also contribute to soil acidity. Roots of high-yielding grain and forage crops remove basic cations from the soil and release hydrogen into soil solution to maintain an ionic charge balance within the tissue. Ammonium-based fertilizers release hydrogen when oxidized to form nitrate, contributing to soil acidity. The amount of lime required to neutralize the acidity created by various nitrogen fertilizer materials can be estimated. Even though liming materials are not the same, they all follow the same process to neutralize soil acidity. Lime supplies a surplus of the basic cations in a carbonated, hydroxide, or oxide form. Any legitimate liming material (based on Ohio Department of Agriculture standards (2005) works the same way. However, quality and cost do differ among lime sources. For more information read OSU Extension fact sheet Soil Acidity and Liming for Agronomic Production AGF-505 found at:



Honeybee Deaths Linked to Seed Insecticide Exposure

Source: Science Daily (

Posted by Bruce Clevenger

ScienceDaily (Jan. 12, 2012) — Honeybee populations have been in serious decline for years, and Purdue University scientists may have identified one of the factors that cause bee deaths around agricultural fields.

Analyses of bees found dead in and around hives from several apiaries over two years in Indiana showed the presence of neonicotinoid insecticides, which are commonly used to coat corn and soybean seeds before planting. The research showed that those insecticides were present at high concentrations in waste talc that is exhausted from farm machinery during planting.

The insecticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam were also consistently found at low levels in soil — up to two years after treated seed was planted — on nearby dandelion flowers and in corn pollen gathered by the bees, according to the findings released in the journal PLoS One this month.

“We know that these insecticides are highly toxic to bees; we found them in each sample of dead and dying bees,” said Christian Krupke, associate professor of entomology and a co-author of the findings.
Read the rest of this entry »


Chart Clarifies Corn Refuge Confusion

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

With more insect traited corn hybrids on the market and different refuge requirements depending on the trait plus new in the bag options to say the least it confusing to manage the refuge requirements today. The issue is important as the first reports of field-evolved resistance to a Bt toxin by the western corn rootworm and by any species of Coleoptera in Iowa this past year. The research findings of this find can be found at

Chris DiFonzo (Michigan State University) and Eileen Cullen ( University of Wisconsin) have put together a chart of traits from all the major companies with the insect control that can be expected and the refuge requirements for that product. As you work through planning for next season this guide helps you understand what you need to do to prevent insect resistance.


Corn Ears Tell a Story

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

The shape of a corn ear can tell a story about the growing season and help identify how some practices worked and identify things we may want to change in a future year. Dr Peter Thomison, OSU Extension Corn Specialist has put together a great resources on ear shape and what may have lead to what you are seeing in the field. The poster on corn ear shapes can be downloaded at

Western Bean Cutworm Damaged Ears. Ear to the left was harvested in the late milk stage and the three ears to the left are full maturity.

One thing you may want to keep an eye out for is damage from Western Bean Cutworm. We saw increased moth flights and identified several fields with egg and small larvae. A couple of field showed ear damage. A picture is included in the poster as well as the damage in the accompanying photo from 2010 show what this type of misshapen ear looks like.

Are all the ears filled to the end? This looks great and feels good but the questions to ask in this situation is could I have increased yield by increasing population. There are several questions to ask this time of year as we harvest to make plans to improve next years crop. The Abnormal ear poster is a great tool.


Adjust Seeding Rates to Late Planted Wheat

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

“From the Ohio Agronomy Guide.”  The optimum seeding rate is 1.2 to 1.6 million seeds per acre (18 to 24 seeds per foot of 7.5-inch row when planting during the two weeks following the fly-safe date).  For the Maumee Area the Fly Free Dates are 9/22 for Williams, Fulton, Lucas;  9/23 for Defiance, Henry, Wood; 9/24 for Paulding; 9/25 for Putnam, Hancock and 9/26 for VanWert, Allen.

During the third and fourth week after the fly-safe date, plant 1.6 to 2.0 million seeds per acre (24 to 30 seeds per foot of row). Do not plant faster than the speed at which the drill was calibrated. Dates to increase seed rate to compensate for lower tiller are after October 6th in the northern part of the area and October 10. At this time (10/14) all wheat should be planted at an increased seeding rate.

The number of seeds per pound and germination rates are critical factors that need to be known before a proper seeding rate can be determined and the drill calibrated. This information should be listed on the bag of seed. The information in Tables 6-2 and 6-3 can be used to accurately calibrate grain drills.


Reducing Water Quality Concerns in Phosphorous Application

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

Phosphorous is back as a water quality concern but it is not the same problem that Ohio farmers successful solved in the mid 1980’s. The issue today is more complicated and while absolute answers are not available, implementation of best management practices will help keep phosphorous on fields where we want to keep it.

The issue of phosphorous in the 1970’s and 1980’s was related to the total phosphorous load going into lake systems across the state. While multiple sources of P were targeted, the majority of this loading from agriculture standpoint was sediment bound phosphorous that moved with soil particles eroded from fields via sheet and rill erosion. A shift to no-till and conservation tillage crop production methods left a protective residue cover over soil, reducing erosion while lowering phosphorous level in water. Reducing other sources of P from sewage treatment, detergents and multiple other sources were focused on as well. The health of the lake improved.

Today’s phosphorous problem leading to harmful algae blooms finds it roots in increased levels of dissolved reactive phosphorous (DRP) in Ohio’s waters that have been observed since the  mid 1990’s. The levels of DRP have increased in spit of observations of steady total phosphorous levels equal to that of the mid 1980’s entering Lake Erie.

As we approach the fall fertilization season some practices that are thought that will help keep the phosphorous were we want it in the plant root zone. Read the rest of this entry »


Fly-free Date and Wheat Planting

Hessian Fly larvae

by Glen Arnold, Putnam County 

Many farmers are visiting the Farm Science Review this week before fall harvest starts in earnest. In addition to harvesting soybeans and corn, will also be planting soft red winter wheat. Most soybean fields are still not close to harvesting so wheat planting will likely be a bit later than normal.

Wheat should never be planted prior to the Hession fly-free date of September 25th in Putnam County because of the possibility of severe damage by virus such as Barley Yellow Dwarf  and by the larvae of the Hessian Fly.

The fly-free date is September 23 for Henry, Wood, and Sandusky counties; September 24 for Seneca County; September 25 for Hancock and Putnam counties; and September 26 for Allen, Hardin, and Wyandot counties. These dates have been selected and determined from years of research for wherever wheat is grown in the county.

The Hessian fly can be one of the most destructive pest species in wheat. This insect originated from Russia and was accidentally introduced into North Americawhen Hessian troops imported straw bedding during the American Revolutionary War. Hessian flies were first observed on Long Island, New Yorkaround 1779. Today, they are present in most wheat growing areas of the United States. Around the turn of the 20th century, this insect destroyed millions of bushels of wheat in Missouri.

In late summer and early fall, Hessian fly adults begin to emerge from wheat stubble and the “fly-free date” is set to occur after the peak emergence of Hessian fly adults. When wheat is planted after the fly-free date, there is not a suitable host for females to lay eggs on. These females will then die without laying their full complement of eggs. If these eggs are laid and then hatch, the larvae will feed between leaf sheaths and stems until they pupate in mid-autumn. Infected plants become weakened and fail to “tiller” (sprout new stems).  Plants may also “lodge” (plant falls/lies down) during grain fill, which is usually where the damage is noticed the most.

Research has also shown that farmers, by planting after this fly-free date, are not only controlling the Hessian fly – but also aphids that carry a harmful virus called Barley Yellow Dwarf, and also other foliar wheat diseases.

It is certainly a win-win situation when a farmer is able to control harmful insects and diseases merely by planting after a certain date as opposed to applying pesticides.

Research has also determined that long-term average yields are actually higher for wheat planted during a 10-day period after the fly-free date.

There has also been new genetics developed in wheat varieties to be more resistant to the Hessian fly; but like any other fly, changing biotypes of the Hessian fly have overcome some of this resistance over the years.


How Much Time do we Need to Finish out 2011 Corn and Soybean Crops?

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

With Labor Day around the corner and some pretty green crops covering all but a few fields in the region, the question becomes how much more time do we need to finish out our corn and soybean crop? The short answer is we need about another 30-45 days to get the majority of the acres to physiological maturity. The last CORN newsletter provided some hope via Jim Noel that we could expect a normal frost date.

Dates in fall by which the chance of the first 32 degree F temperature will have occurred is 50%.

The graphic below shows historic dates for a 50% chance of first Temps below 32 degrees. Thus a normal frost date of 10/10 to 10/15 would be a good thing and November 1 would be even better.

The answer about where your fields are at is in the growth stage of the crop.  Staging is not a difficult as it sometimes seems and hopefully a couple of hints here will help you in a look at your fields and days to harvest.

Soybeans are generally in an R5 stage approaching R6. During the pod set and pod fill stages you want to focus on the top four nodes on the plant.

Soybean Late Reproductive Stages:

  • R3 is initial pods set and there will be a pod 3/16 of inch long at one of the four upper nodes on the plant.
  • R4 is full pod and one of the four upper nodes will have a 3/4 inch long pod  when this stage is reached.
  • R5 is beginning seed where a bean in one of the pods is 1/8 of an inch long at one of the four upper nodes or basically when the pod is a full size but the bean is not noticeable.
  • R6 is full seed where the green bean fully fills the pod cavity in one pod at one of the four upper nodes.
  • R7 is the next to last stage or beginning maturity. At this stage a mature pod at any node on the plant indicates this stage. Typically the middle of the stem has the most mature pods.
  • R8 is full maturity.
  • Note a field is considered at the given stage when more than 50% of the plants reach that stage.

To reach the R7 stage from the stages listed above requires approximately the following number of days.

Current Stage Number of Days to R7










10 days to R8


5-10 days to 15%

For Corn we also have the late reproductive stages to take a look at:

  • R3 is milk stage where the ear has the look of an ear of sweet corn.
  • R4 is the dough stage where the starch are solidifying.
  • R5 dent stage where the top of the kernel is depressed.
  • Between R5 and R6 is the half milk line stage. Where the starch line has moved half way down the kernel.
  • R6 black layer when a kernel is plucked off the ear and you see a black layer where the kernel was attached to the ear.

Corn stages are across the board due to the planting dates and hybrid maturity so it is hard to generalize.

The table below shows approximate days to R6.

Current Stage Number of Days to R6







Half milk line




The number of days are approximate and depend upon actual temperatures for the period. For those hybrids or varieties in the earlier stages it would be worthwhile to check progress a couple of times as we move further into fall.


Tomato Harvest Underway

by Glen Arnold, Putnam County

Commercial tomato harvest started about three weeks ago in northwest Ohio. Farmers grow several thousand acres of commercial tomatoes that are mostly machine harvested. Putnam County is the largest tomato producing county in Ohio.

Dry weather in late June and July, combined with the very late planting season will limit the yields of the early varieties harvested in mid-August. Later varieties likely benefitted from the late July and August rains and should yield better.

Tomato producers usually need over 20 tons of tomatoes per acre to pay their crop input expenses. On good years, some fields can yield 30 to 40 tons of tomatoes per acre. Exceptional growing seasons can see even higher yields.

Although the cool weather has made for pleasant evenings of watching soccer games and sleeping with the windows open, the cool weather is delaying the ripening of the tomato crop. When tomatoes fields are deemed mature enough they are sprayed with a ripening agent to ripen all the tomatoes at the same time so they can be machine harvested.

Tomato farmers are watching the weather forecast for warmer temperatures later this week in hopes of providing a boost to the harvest season. High daytime temperatures will help ripen the crop and allow farmers to more quickly move forward with harvest. Harvest will continue through the first hard frost in October.


Dodder in Clover Fields

Dodder in a clover field

by Glen Arnold, Putnam County

Some clover fields in northwest Ohio are showing signs of field dodder. These appear as yellowing areas that could be confused with water damage. Dodder is a unique plant in the fact that it is parasitic. It must have a host plant to survive.

Dodder does not have any leaves or, for that matter, any chlorophyll to produce its own food.  It lives by attaching to a host plant and extracting the host plant’s carbohydrates. The pale yellow color of the dodder plant makes the infested area of the clover field have a decidedly yellow color.

Dodder is an annual and is spread by seed.  Having a hard seed coat, it is suspected that time and soil moisture levels control dormancy.  How long the seed can survive appears to be variable.

For farmers who clip clover for seed, areas of the field known to have dodder should be avoided. Also, any clover seed harvested needs to be cleaned to avoid spreading dodder to other fields.

Glyphosate has been reported to control dodder post attachment and can be applied as a spot-treatment of a 1-2% solution to clover.  However, be aware that there will be damage to the clover where the glyphosate is applied. Some farmers opt to hand-spray small patches of dodder to control its spread.


Sudden Death Syndrome in Soybeans

Early stages of sudden death syndrome

by Glen Arnold, Putnam County

In the past few weeks many local soybean fields have shown symptoms of a disease first found in Ohio less than ten years ago called Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS). The disease was discovered in Indianain 1986 and is thought to have originated in Missouri in the early 1970’s.

Foliar symptoms of SDS may appear anytime from bloom to pod fill, although symptoms usually appear between the R3 and R6 growth stages. Symptoms begin as small, bright, pale green to yellow circular spots on the leaves.

As the disease progresses, brown to tan areas surrounded by chlorotic tissue develop in between the veins. The veins of the leaves remain green much longer than the tissue between the veins. Usually the upper leaves are affected first. The pith of affected plants is white. The classic foliar symptoms of SDS only last about 2 weeks and then the infected plants look like any other dead soybean plants.

Soybean plants with SDS also have substantial amounts of root decay and discoloration of roots and crown. Yield reductions due to SDS are dependent on when infections begin. Typically infections that occur after flowering will not have a significant impact on yield. Infections that occur early will result in pod abortion, reduced seed number and size. Usually the most productive part of a field is affected.

There have been numerous studies in the past 10 years to determine which environmental factors favor SDS development as well as interactions with soybean cyst nematode. Some of the factors that favor disease development include high soil moisture during the vegetative growth period and unseasonably cool temperatures prior to or during flowering and pod set.

The association of SDS with soybean cyst nematode has not been as clear cut. Several studies and field observations indicate that soybean cyst nematode is not necessary for infection, but that its presence can increase the severity of the foliar symptoms.

Farmers wanting to see the white female soybean cysts can do so now by carefully digging up soybean roots and looking at the small hair roots. The cysts have to be kept moist for easy viewing.

Companies and Universities are beginning to rate soybean varieties for resistance to SDS. Farmers planting soybean into fields with a history of SDS next season should ask for this information.

More information and a photo of SDS in soybeans can be found at this Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center website


Soybean Aphid Numbers Building-Time for Scouting

Soybean Aphid Population-Southern Henry County 2011

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

Friday afternoon I was in Archbold, Wauseon, Custer (OARDC Branch) and Holgate. I stopped at 19 different soybean fields along the way and found soybean aphid in all but 2 fields. All but two field had soybean aphid that were easily found. Number would be 3-70 per plant with many in the 20-50 range. Greatest numbers were in Fulton County but there was a hot spot in Henry. See picture to the left. Aphids were on the OARDC Branch as well. Soybeans are in R3-R4 stages generally. Did not see lady beetles.

Threshold number for aphids remain a rising population reaching 250 aphids per plant. Sample several areas in the field with at least 30 plants per 20 acres to come up with that average. The type of infestation pictured would near 250 but remember we are talking about average infestation for multiple plants not just a single plant 250. We need to be concerned with aphids until we reach R6.

Some scouting keys:

  • At this point look at the growing point and leaf below the growing point.
  • The picture to the left is more than 250 aphids.
  • A colony that covers all sides of the stem for 1 inch is 250-300 aphids.
  • A speed scouting method has been tested in the west. A copy of the sheet from Minisota can be found at:

They are easily controlled with insecticides but keep in mind in you have bee hives in the 1/2 mile of your field to notify the beekeeper on your intent to spray.

Other Insects found:

Spider mites: Are found in southern Henry who in the SW have missed rains. Generally along the edge but edge in areas have totally bronzed plants.

Bean leaf beetle: Beetles are being seen again.

Green Cloverworm, grasshoppers, white flies, Japanese beetle and potato leafhopper were amoung the other insects seen.


Western Bean Cutworm Update August 9th

Three Western Bean Cutworm Feeding on a single ear -2011

By Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

WBCW moth flights dropped off to very low numbers last week as we expected. The larvae stages might be seen in areas fields. The picture to the left was taken near Delta with numerous larvae on single ears in some cases. As you can see they are different sizes even on the same ear. The hybrid was a non-gmo in a test plot area where we identified egg laying back on July 21st.

The larvae can be found feeding on the end of the ear but often borer through the husk  leaving a hole in the

WBCW boring under the husk-2010

husk. See the picture below and to the left from 2010.

If you see feeding activity anywhere in northwest Ohio we would be interested in knowing. Give me a call 419-337-9210 or