Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


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 »


Feeding Frosted Forages

Grain sorghum ready for harvest

By Glen Arnold, Putnam County

Northwest Ohio has yet to receive a killing frost this fall end to the growing season. Any frost (light or killing) can make some forages dangerous to livestock because hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is released when leaves are damaged by frost. This is also called Prussic Acid poisoning.

Prussic acid poisoning can occur when feeding sudangrass, sorghum-sudangrass hybrids, forage sorghum, or grain sorghum. These species contain varying concentrations of cyanogenic glucosides, which are converted to prussic acid. As ruminants consume forage containing high levels of cyanide-producing compounds, prussic acid is released in the rumen, absorbed into the bloodstream where it binds hemoglobin, and interferes with oxygen transfer. The animal soon dies of asphyxiation. Prussic acid acts rapidly, frequently killing animals in minutes. Symptoms include excess salivation, difficult breathing, staggering, convulsions, and collapse. Ruminants are more susceptible than horses or swine because cud chewing and rumen bacteria help release the cyanide.

Generally, any stress condition that retards plant growth may increase prussic acid levels in plants. Hydrogen cyanide is released when leaves are damaged by frost, drought, bruising, cutting, trampling, crushing, or wilting. Plants growing under high nitrogen levels or in soils deficient in soil phosphorus or potassium tend to have high levels of cyanogenic glucosides. Species and varieties differ in prussic acid poisoning potential. Sudangrass varieties are low to intermediate in cyanide potential, and sorghum-sudangrass hybrids and forage sorghums are intermediate to high. Piper sudangrass has low prussic acid poisoning potential, and pearl millet is virtually free of cyanogenic glucosides.

The management practices described below can reduce the risk of prussic acid poisoning from forage sorghum, sudangrass, and sorghum-sudangrass hybrids:

1) Graze or greenchop only when the grass is greater than 18 inches tall.

2) Do not graze wilted plants or plants with young tillers.

3) Do not graze plants during or shortly after a drought when growth has been reduced.

4) Do not graze on nights when frost is likely. High levels of the toxic compounds are produced within hours after a frost occurs.

5) Do not graze after a killing frost until the plants are dry. Wait 5 to 7 days to allow the released cyanide to dissipate.

6) Do not graze for two weeks after a non-killing frost.

7) Delay feeding of silage for 6 to 8 weeks after ensiling. Fresh forage is generally higher in cyanide than silage or hay because cyanide is volatile and dissipates as the forage dries. However, hay or silage that likely contained high cyanide levels at harvest should be analyzed for HCN content before feeding.

8)Splitapplications of nitrogen decrease the risk of prussic acid toxicity, and proper levels of phosphorus and potassium in the soil will also help.

9) Don’t allow hungry or stressed animals to graze young sorghum grass growth.


Harvest Safety Tips for Everyone

by Glen Arnold, Putnam County

Fall harvest will soon get started and soon will be into one of the busiest times of the year for farmers. Long hours and dangerous working conditions are accepted as a normal part of the life of a farmer. Farmers are accustomed to working alone and if an accident occurs help is usually not close by.

Fall harvest is expected to be much longer than normal this year due to the very late spring planting season. The harvest of early soybeans will likely begin next week but corn harvest could drag on through most of October.

Some Safety Tips for Farmers

Stay alert. Take breaks — get out of the cab and walk around every few hours. Keep your cell phone charged so you can communicate as needed when you need wagons moved, etc.

Shut down before working on a machine. If the combine becomes clogged, shut off the motor, not just the header, before attempting to unplug it by hand.

Know where your co-workers and family members are. Visibility is poor around large machinery and at night. Many deaths are the result of bystanders or family members being run over or crushed between machines.

Never trust hydraulic systems when working under a machine. Always use a safety prop if you must work under a header or other heavy machinery.

Never step over a rotating PTO. A few extra steps to walk around the tractor aren’t worth losing your life over.

Never stand on grain that is being moved. Every year people “drown” in grain carts and grain bins that are being emptied. Keep all kids away from grain hauling equipment.

Keep grain auger grates and shields in place. Be sure your equipment is properly maintained to avoid breakdowns.

If you must move machinery on a roadway after dark, have all necessary working headlights and flashing front and rear warning lights. The better you can be seen the less likely you are to be hit by a motorists.

Safety Tips for Rural Residents

Remember to be watchful on county roads during harvest. A car going 50 mph coming up behind a farm implement moving at 15 mph closes at a rate of over 50 feet per second.

Don’t pull out in front of farm vehicles. Heavily loaded trucks and grain trailers can’t stop as quickly as a passenger car.

• Be aware of Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) signs. Farmers place these triangular signs on the back of slow moving tractors and wagons. Know to slow down when you see them.

Watch out! Trucks and farm equipment may be entering the roadway from field lanes in places where you wouldn’t normally expect them. Be extremely cautious when passing farm equipment as it could be making a left turn you are not expecting.

• Give them room. Combines, tractors, wagons, trucks and tillage equipment are big and wide and take up nearly all of a rural roadway. When overtaking a combine, give the farmer time to see you and to find a place where he/she can pull over and make room for you to pass. Never try to pass a combine or other implement on the shoulder of the road and never attempt to pass until the driver is aware of your presence.

Harvest activity can disturb deer causing them to be on the move during times of the day they are usually lying down. Be especially alert for deer during harvest.


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.


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


Yellow Flash in Soybeans

By Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

Overlap areas whether in the middle of the field or in the headlands for some soybean fields has shown an interesting coloration. Often when we see yellowing beans in a field we think of micro nutrient deficiencies such as manganese. Those appear as areas in the field circular or semi circular areas. The linear patterns and location of yellow patches being seen happen after applications of glyphosate about 3 weeks ago. The areas where sprayers were turned on and off  are most pronounced.

Yellow flash is the name given to this phenomenon. This has been noted in other areas of the midwest in previous growing seasons. The conditions leading to this tend to be:

  1. Rapid soybean growth after application
  2. Sprayer overlap or other application conditions that lead to higher product application.
  3. Areas prone to micro nutrient deficiencies primarily manganese or iron.

The yellowing is a by product of the level of AMPA in the leaf which is a breakdown product of glyphosate which reduces chlorophyll levels in the newly developing leaf give the yellow appearance.  If you want more information, Dr Mark Loux has a couple of links posted at


Western Bean Cutworm Update July 29th

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

Trap Counts for local traps appear to have peaked during the week. Two of the three traps showed a decline while third trap had big numbers of 35-40 per day early in the week but dropped of to just 3-5 per day by weeks end. The week did not yield any big finds of eggs or larval damage, in fact it was more difficult this week to eggs or larvae than it was during the week of July 18th. In fact there is a lot of speculation that the extreme heat has set this insect back this year.  Refer to last weeks article for scouting information.


Healthy Soils Better Crops Workshop August 18th

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

Stewardship of the soil is a concern for farmers wanting to maximize yield. Preventing erosion, compaction issues and other soil factors play a role in long term profitability in our corn, soybean and wheat production systems. The Soil Health and Cover Crop Field Day scheduled for August 18th from 9:00 am until noon is an upcoming event designed to better understand soil factors and explore practices that can improve soils. The program will be held at the Northwest Agricultural Research Station-OARDC, 4240 Range Line Road, Custar, Ohio in Western Wood County.

The program features Ray Archuleta, NRCS Conservation Agronomist, Soil Quality Team, East National Technology Support Center Greensboro, NC who has gain a national reputation in soil quality factors and cover crop utilization. Additionally plots which have been under crop and tillage rotation studies since the 1960’s on the branch site will be highlighted. Additional speakers will highlight economics, water quality, nutrient cycling and increasing water holding capacity in soils during the 3.5 hour session.

The program cost is $15 and preregistration is requested by August 12th. Full program details and links to online registration can be found at For more information you may call Greg LaBarge, OSU Extension Educator at 419-337-9210 or e-mail


Recovery of Wind Downed Corn

By Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

Wind downed corn from the July 11 storms in Fulton County caused a couple of sleepless night. The recovery was amazing though and I was able to document at a couple of sites the difference a couple of days made and resiliency of the crop.  A series of slides can be seen at this link Fulton Wind Damage Presentation. Note in the field picture the silo in the background and dates in the corner of the picture. The phenomena you are seeing has been played out across the midwest this year  with Wisconsin, Ontario and others see this same situation. Only corn tasseling or very close to tassel would be expected to see significant yield reductions.  Several articles were written on the topic. I would point you to these for further reading:

CORN Newsletter 2011-22 Effects of wind lodging on corn performance

Wisconsin Agronomy Advice July 11, 2011 Yield Response of Flattened (Lodged) Corn

King Corn Purdue (2003) Rain, Hail, Wind: What Next?



Western Bean Cutworm Status as of July 22

By Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

The week of July 22 saw a dramatic increase in Western Bean Cutworm Moth captures in traps across northern Ohio. Also found were eggs and first instar larvae.

There were a wide range of counts for the week. Bruce Clevenger, Extension Educator in Defiance County saw counts of 0-154 for the week on 7 different traps. A report for a local farmer was 204 for the week. The figure to the left are trap counts from three locations I have. The 2011 trap counts are peaking in a similar pattern to 2010.  In 2010 there was a dramatic decrease from July 26 to July 30 counts. We will check traps mid week to see if counts have dropped off.

On Thursday (July 21) Dr Andy Michel, Extension Entomologist and I were out in eastern Fulton County. We stopped at eight fields and found egg masses or larvae in five fields. In order to find these we had to look very hard, only finding a couple of egg masses or larval hatches in each field. Based on what we saw on Thursday we may find some larvae in many fields but very light infestations overall. Also we discussed the heat and it is generally felt this will be a deterrent to higher egg laying by female moths. Scouting next week will give us a true picture of the potential for infestation.

Peak flight and corn size are important to targeting scouting. Focus scouting on corn which is pretassel, the V9-V10 stage (around waist high). Also keep in mind genetics. You may find eggs and larvae in a field, but if you have  transgenic hybrids with the Cry1F gene will offer adequate to near-complete control of WBCW. These include Herculex I and Herculex Xtra, as well as SmartStax.  A new gene, Vip3A from Syngenta also offer control of WBCW.

Scouting procedures were in the 2011-20 issue of C.O.R.N.:

Scouting for eggs and larvae should begin when adult catches occur on consecutive nights.  Inspect 20 plants in 5 random locations throughout a field.  Female moths prefer to lay eggs on the uppermost leaves which are still vertical in orientation, so those leaves should be inspected thoroughly. They also will be on the upper side of the leaf.

During winter meetings we shared a video on scouting for WBCW eggs and larvae from Purdue. To review that video click here.

If western bean cutworm eggs are found, please contact your County Extension Educator.


July 28th Field Crops Day at NW Research Station

Dr Peter Thomison, Corn Specialist is one of hte featured speakers for the Field Day.

By Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

The annual Field Crops Day Program is on tap for Thursday, July 28th from 9-11:30. The Northwest Agricultural Research Station is located at 4240 Range Line Road, Custar, OH.  Formal topics at field stops during the morning are:

  • “Insect Issues for Late Planted Crops,” Andy Michel, Entomology OARDC and OSU Extension
  • “The Impact of Late Corn Plantings on Agronomic Performance,” Peter Thomison, Horticulture & Crop Science OARDC and OSU Extension
  • “Water Management and Challenges for Agriculture and Water Resources,” Larry Brown, Food, Agr & Biological Engineering OARDC and OSU Extension
  • “Getting the Best Coverage and Deposition from Your Sprayer,” Erdal Ozkan, Food, Agr & Biological Engineering OARDC and OSU Extension

In addition to the field stops Extension Educators  will be on hand to trouble shoot questions you have related to what is happening in your fields. Bring samples and pictures of what is happening in your fields. So come see what is going on at the research branch and share some stories of what has been a challenging 2011 growing season.

For more details including a agenda and map to the location click here.



Wind Damage on Corn

by Glen Arnold, Putnam County

A storm front on Monday July 11th brought much needed rain to northwest Ohio but high winds flattened corn in many fields.

Peter Thomison, OSU Extension corn specialist, addressed this topic in the most recent CORN newsletter

An article in 2003 written by Bob Nielsen, Purdue University corn specialists, also mentions this topic

University of Wisconsin corn agronomists Joe Lauer recently authored an article entitled Yield Response to Flattened (Lodged) Corn at

Locally, the taller corn seemed to handle wind better than the shorter corn. This is probably due to having developed brace roots to better support the stalks.