Showing posts from April, 2024

Spring Planting Safety Tips

Farmers are starting the busy planting season as the soil both warms up and dries out. Spring is a hectic time as farmers try to plant their crops quickly to optimize crop yields. However, planting season can be dangerous, for both farmers, their spouse and children, hired hands, and non-farm people. Agriculture is a dangerous profession, averaging 100 injuries per day and around 410 deaths per year (2019) or 19.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. Let’s try to make this a safe year.  Let’s start with the children. Farm children, grand kids, and even city kids love to be on the farm and they are fascinated by tractors, wagons, sprayers, fertilizer equipment, you name it. Children do not realize the danger this equipment can pose. Take some time and educate them if they visit. Children need adult supervision and need to stay a distance away. Most children love to ride on the tractor and that can be quite dangerous. Children riding on a fender and not buckled up can easily fall off

Seed Quality Effects Germination

  As spring planting gets underway, farm stress is high. When seeds germinate quickly that farm stress goes away. Getting new seeds and plants off to a vigorous start increases the potential for a healthy crop with abundant yields. However, when seeds germinate slowly because of challenging soil or weather conditions, early stress on young seedlings is likely to produce a yield drag.  When seeds germinate quickly, corn seed maggot feeding decreases. When root systems develop quickly, wireworm or rootworm larvae is greatly reduced. When seedlings grow very rapidly, and have balanced seed nutrition, they can resistant slugs and flea beetles feeding. However, none of these positive effects occur when seeds germinate slowly or when seeds are of poor quality.  Planting conditions are not always ideal. Poor weather conditions means that often planting occurs under less-than-ideal conditions. Farmers typically have only about 9-10 days or less to get most crops planted on time. I

When to start planting?

  It's Mid-April and as May approaches, farmers are gearing up for planting season. Early planted crops generally have a yield advantage over late planted crops. Most crop yield is related to moisture at pollination in both corn and soybeans. Good yields are possible if there is adequate summer moisture. Usually, July rains have a big impact on corn yields, while August rains have more of an impact on soybean yields. There is about a 3-week window in Ohio for optimal planting. In Southern Ohio, April 10-May 10, and in Northern Ohio April 25th and May 10th. For crop insurance coverage, May 5th in southern Ohio and April 10th in northern Ohio. Planting after May 10th, on average, results in about a 0.3% yield loss per day when corn planting is delayed and by the end of May, this loss increases to 1% per day. However, it pays to plant when weather and soil conditions are fit. Mudding crops in can be a disaster if it gets dry. Shallow rooted crops in compacted soils often result in poo

Cover Crop Termination

This spring has been warmer than normal but Ohio’s subsoil moisture has been dry due to last year’s drought. Recent rains may have helped depending upon how much rain actually soaked in. Last year, adequate subsoil moisture allowed farmers to get decent yields, however; what about this year? According to the National Weather Service, there is a 83% chance for a transition from El Niño to La Niña during April-June and a 62% chance for La Niña to develop by June-August. Typically, El Niño years are drier while La Niña years tend to be wetter in the Midwest.  For Ohio, the 60-day weather forecast is for temperatures to be above normal in our area but perhaps drier than normal conditions around the Great Lakes. April may be wetter, but May is expected to turn dry. Farmer’s may be planting earlier than normal depending upon the weather. What about terminating cover crops? That depends upon soil moisture.  When dry conditions are expected, terminate cover crops early when they

Reducing Wheat Diseases

Winter and early spring has been warmer than normal. The lawns are green and so is the wheat. Is this due to adequate nitrogen? More likely it’s adequate iron and magnesium. In warm springs, iron is more plant available to make chlorophyll and magnesium is the central element for chlorophyll. If your wheat is yellow, even after spring nitrogen applications, it may be due to a lack of iron, especially on fields with poor soil structure. Soil tests may show high iron, but its in the wrong form. Golf courses often use iron to green up grass.  Looking ahead, what changes in fertility might enhance wheat disease resistance or simply enhance wheat growth and yield. Often, when scouting wheat, white leaves may be seen which is a sign of nickel deficiency. Nickel (Ni2+) activates the urease enzyme that allows plants to use external and internal urea as a nitrogen source. Nickel (2+) is one of the least toxic metals and stimulates microbial growth.  Adequate nickel improves wheat growth and yie