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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 »


Livestock Mortality Composting Certification Programs Scheduled

by Glen Arnold, Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management Systems

Two livestock mortality composting certification programs have been scheduled for January in northwest Ohio.

 The first program is set for Wednesday, January 18th at 7:00 PM and is hosted by the Seneca, Crawford and Wyandot Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service & the OSU Extension office in Wyandot County. It will be held at the Wyandot County Recycling Center, 11385 County Highway 4 in Carey, Ohio. Contact Kendall Stucky at the Seneca Soil and Water 419-447-7073 for more information. Registration is $15 and requested by January 13th.

The second livestock mortality composting program is scheduled for Tuesday, January 31st at the Putnam County Extension office at 124 Putnam Parkway in Ottawa, Ohio at 7:00 PM. Contact Glen Arnold  at 419-422-3851 ( for more information or contact Ann Meyer at the Putnam County extension office at 419-523-6294. Registration is $15 and requested by January 27th.

These training sessions will certify an operator to compost all approved livestock species and are available to all Ohio livestock producers. Composting is a natural process where bacteria and fungi decompose organic material in a predominantly aerobic environment. During the composting process, microorganisms break down organic materials into a stable mixture called compost. The compost resembles humus, and is spread on farming fields.

Composting, rendering, incineration and burial are the four most common ways to dispose of livestock mortality. To legally compost dead livestock in Ohio producers must attend a certification program.

For producers who utilize composting, sawdust is the most commonly used carbon source for composting livestock mortality in Ohio. Surveys indicate farmers utilizing composting find it a cost effective and convenient method to dispose of livestock mortality.


Computerized Farm Recordkeeping with Quicken

by Wm. Bruce Clevenger, Defiance County

Pencil and paper is still the way most farmers keep records. As farm size, income or debt increases, many farmers and lenders look for computer programs that allow fast data entry, have internal checks for accuracy and allow summarizing of data. Most farmers begin their search by asking “Is there a simple computer program that will keep my records like the farm account books?”

Ohio State University Extension and other land grant colleges have recognized the computer software Quicken® as a computerized farm recordkeeping system.  Users can record transactions of both the farm and family and categorize them based on farm enterprises income and expenses as well as family living expenses.  Its popularity is due to the ease of data entry and to its low price of $60 to $100. This single-entry system is essentially an electronic checkbook. It allows users to track loans, write checks,   reconcile the checkbook with the bank statement and quickly create reports for the farm business, family, and tax purposes.

OSU Extension is offering a Computerized Farm Recordkeeping Workshop with Quicken® that will focus on setting up accounts, categorizing income and expenses, hands-on data entry, running tax reports, and preparing farm production reports.  Workshop will utilize a computer laboratory with Quicken® software installed to be used by participants during the workshop.

Workshops will be held:

January 30 & February 6 at OSU Extension Van Wert Co. (1:00pm—3:30pm)

January 31 & February 7 at OSU Extension Defiance Co. (6:30pm—9:00pm)

February 3 & February 10 at OSU Extension Hancock Co. (9:30am—12 noon)

Pre-Registration $35.00 per farm business (2 people) is required and includes two-sessions and a workshop training manual.  Please RSVP by January 18th. Space is limited.

For more information on the meeting, contact your OSU Extension office or OSU Extension Defiance County at (800) 745-4771,, or log on to


2012 Farm Outlook Meeting Recorded

by Bruce Clevenger, OSU Extension Defiance County

Farmers and agribusiness need to keep tuned into markets, production economics and farm policy. Trends can change due to measurable factors or seemingly unpredictable forces. Farmers, agribusinesses and others in the agricultural industry had the opportunity to learn more about the current farm outlook at an Ohio State University Extension 2012 Farm Outlook Program in Defiance County on December 20.

Ohio State University’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and OSU Extension made presentations that brought forth the latest outlook on the grain markets, land rent, production inputs and farm policy.

View and listen to the presentations from December 20th


Tools for 2012- Crop Budgets, Crop Variety Selection, Income Tax Planning

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

OSU Extension produces some important planning tools that are now available on-line. See the links below as you begin planning for 2012.

Budgeting for crop enterprises is an important tool in looking at the economic situation that you can expect. How much for variable cost such as fertilizer, seed and crop insurance will I need to spend? What do I need to cover fixed cost of land rents and machinery? Accounting for all cost provides a dollar amount we need to be profitable and sets the point where we can look at  grain marketing.  Table 1 below highlights cost in the OSU budgets.

Crop Yield per Acre Expectations Variable Cost per Acre Fixed per Cost Acre Total Cost per Acre Total Cost per Bushel
Corn 155 $ 411 $ 341 $ 752 $   4.86


$ 228 $ 290 $ 518 $ 10.50


$ 260 $ 353 $ 613 $   7.88

While these serve as a guideline remember the most important line is your expected numbers. The tool can be accessed at and you can put your numbers in the spreadsheet to quickly do enterprise planning.

The second tool is the Ohio Corn and Soybean Performance Trials. Hard copies of this publication are available in the Extension Office and you can also find the convenient on-line tool which has sorting capabilities on various aspects of the data. The on-line versions of the corn trials can be found at and soybeans can be found at

The Farmers Tax Guide has also been a resources that farmers look to for income tax preparations and tracking the ever changing issues that affect the bill to Uncle Sam. This publication will be available in the Fulton County Office on Friday 12/16. Other office may have hard copies already available. On line you can find this publication at


Snow Fence: Tis the Season

by: Bruce Clevenger, Defiance County

Posted by Glen Arnold, Putnam County

Snow fences can be an effective and economical way of improving snow management. They keep snow and ice off driveways and roads while increasing driver visibility by reducing the force of the wind on the snow. A 2006 report by Tabler & Associates revealed that snow fences helped reduce accidents caused by poor visibility by up to 70% along I-80 in southeastern Wyoming.

Snow fences may also reduce time and energy of traditional snow removal. However, on private property, a poorly placed fence can be ineffective or do more harm than good. Traditionally, property owners are installing snow fence in late fall or early winter. Once the ground freezes and receives snow, it may be too late to install.

Snow fence is generally not a solid fence. Fence openings should be 2 to 2 1/2 inches wide (openings wider than 6 inches are ineffective) and may run vertically or horizontally. Wind speeds up as it passes through the restricted openings, thus preventing snow from plugging the immediate area around the fence. The wind slows down after passing through the fence and drops much of its load of snow.

Generally, a snow fence should be installed at a distance of 20-35 times its height from the edge of the protection area (ie. driveway). That is, if you were installing a four-foot-high fence, it would need to be at least 80-140 feet from the protection area to be effective. This distance will set the fence far enough away to allow snow to accumulate before the fence and between the fence and the driveway, rather than over and on the driveway itself.

Wind velocity and fence height determine the size of the protected area. For instance, when the wind is blowing at 10 mph, a 6-foot-high porous fence will reduce that velocity to a minimum 10 feet downwind from the fence. When the wind is 20 mph, the minimum velocity point will be 65 feet from the fence; and at 30 mph, the area protected is about 90 feet downwind.

A gap of approximately 10% of the fence’s height should be left underneath the snow fence. If you were installing a fence with a height of four feet, you would want to install the fence with 4–5 inches between the bottom of the fence and the ground. This gap will prevent snow from accumulating near and on the fence. This will reduce extra weight and damage from snow accumulation and increase the effectiveness of your fence.

A common pitfall in snow fence installation is placing a fence too close to or too far from the protection area. A fence too close to the protection area can actually increase the amount of snow deposited. A fence too far from the area will allow the wind to pick snow back up and deposit it on the road. It is best to properly measure the distance and, if needed, to install multiple fences.

A snow fence should also extend approximately 20 feet or 30 degrees past the length of the area intended for protection. This will reduce the effect of wind wrapping around the edge of the fence, increasing the area of coverage. Extending the fence also helps protect against a larger variation of wind directions. The orientation of the snow fence should be parallel to the driveway and perpendicular to prevailing winds. However, the makeup of the terrain may alter fence placement. An adjustment in a fence’s angle up to 25 degrees will not significantly detract from the fence’s effectiveness.

An effective snow fence is both science and an art. Trial and error will increase success of using a snow fence. Winter weather may provide a variety of wind directions and precipitations. Snow fences can help reduce dangers and reduce the costs of snow removal to provide better snow management.


Agriculture Economic Outlook Meeting for 2012

Posted by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

Farmers, agribusinesses and others in the industry located in northwest Ohio have the opportunity to learn more about the current grain market outlook and farm production economics at an Ohio State University Extension 2012 Farm Outlook Program.

The program hosted by Ohio State University Extension with presentations from Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics.  Topics covered will include grain markets, farm inputs, land values, and an economic outlook of the industry. The program will be held on December 20 from 5:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Jewell Community Center, 7900 Independence Road, Defiance, Ohio. Pre-registration is $15 per person.

The program will feature the following speakers: Matt Roberts, OSU Extension agricultural economist, who will discuss the Grain Market Outlook: 2011 Old Crop and the Futures Market; Barry Ward, OSU Extension agricultural economist, who will discuss farm production economics of farmland values and input costs such as seed, chemical and fertilizer markets; Greg LaBarge will discuss Phosphorus: A Water Quality Concern but It’s Not the Same 1980s Problem; Carl Zulauf, OSU Extension agricultural economist, The Farm Bill and Policy Makers.

The 2012 Farm Outlook Program meeting in Defiance County is open to the public and will provide insightful information for farming in 2012.  OSU Extension Crop and Livestock Enterprise Budgets are also available at:

Pre-registration deadline for the 2012 Farm Outlook Program is December 16. For more information, contact Bruce Clevenger at (419) 782-4771 or see the flyer at


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.


Ohio Fall Prevented Wheat Planting Dates

FSA News posted by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

Farmers and producers in Ohio who were prevented from planting wheat because of a natural disaster, must report the acreage to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) within 15 calendar days after the final planting date. Ohio has 2 different deadline dates, either Oct. 20, 2011 or Oct. 31, 2011 depending on which county you farm in.

Producers that farm in twenty-five counties in Ohio, have until the final planting date of Oct. 31, 2011 to timely plant fall wheat. These counties include: Cuyahoga, Butler, Hamilton, Warren, Clinton, Clermont, Brown, Highland, Adams, Ross, Pike, Scioto, Vinton, Jackson, Lawrence, Gallia, Meigs, Athens, Morgan, Washington, Noble, Monroe, Guernsey, Belmont and Jefferson. Producers and farmers who were prevented from planting wheat by the final planting date in these counties have until November 15, 2011 to visit their local FSA county office and timely report the prevented planting acreage.

Producers that farm in the other sixty-three counties in Ohio, had until the final Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) planting date of October 20, 2011 to timely plant fall wheat. Producers and farmers who were prevented from planting wheat by the final planting date in these counties have until November 4, 2011 to visit their local FSA county office and report the prevented planting acreage.

Prevented planting is the inability to plant the intended crop acreage with the proper equipment during the established planting period for the crop type because of a natural disaster, (does not include late maturing crops due to the late spring planting of 2011 crops). Producers, who request prevented planting acreage credit must report the acreage on an FSA-578 and complete a manual CCC-576, part B within 15 calendar days after the final planting date. Visit your local FSA county office if a natural disaster condition has prevented you from planting wheat this fall.

Accurate acreage reports to USDA are important to maintain history for eligibility or compliance for many USDA programs.  The programs offered are dictated by legislation passed by Congress.    Current programs are available based on the 2008 legislation commonly referred to as the “2008 Farm Bill”.  For more information on which programs are still available or expired under that law, contact your local FSA office or visit


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.