Thursday, August 30, 2012

Farm Science Review Approaches

Farm Science Review – September 18-20, 2012, London, Ohio

Throughout its history, Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review has been at the forefront of showcasing the future of agriculture. The review will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Plan on attending now. Tickets and golf cart rental information can be picked up in the OSU Extension, Darke County, office between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. For detailed information on the Farm Science Review, go to

Will August rain influence soybean yield?

On average, there are 2,500 to 3,000 individual soybean seeds per pound. Soybean seeds produced during drought conditions tend to be smaller compared to seeds produced under normal conditions. Small seed size reduces yield. The influence of late-season rainfall on yield depends on soybean growth stage. If soybeans are at the R5 or R6 growth stage (seed filling), August rainfall will increase soybean size. However, if soybeans are at the R7 growth stage (one normal pod on the main stem has reached its mature pod color), rainfall (or lack of rainfall) will have little influence on soybean yield.

Preparation of Storage Facilities for Grain Harvest

All pieces of equipment used in harvesting and storing grain should be cleaned, inspected, and repaired several weeks prior to the beginning of the harvest season.

Once all cleaning and repairs have been completed, an empty-bin application of an appropriately labeled insecticide is advisable, especially in bins with difficult to clean areas and/or in bins with a history of insect problems. For empty-bin insecticide treatments that are applied as a liquid, allow a minimum of 24 hours for the sprays to dry before loading grain into the bin. It is preferable to have empty-bin treatments applied at least two weeks prior to harvest.

Another measure one might take to reduce the chance of insect infestation is to apply a perimeter spray around the base and up the outside walls of the bin about 15 feet. This may only be necessary in areas where grain infesting insect movement has been observed on the outsides of the storage bins.

Last but not least, review your safety procedures for working with flowing grain, grain harvesting and handling equipment, and personal protection. Anyone who works around the bins and grain handling equipment should know where to find shut-off switches, fire extinguishers, and emergency phone numbers. Being prepared for harvest will reduce the risk of accidents, and knowing how to react in an emergency can save lives.

Plan Last Alfalfa Cutting

Drought conditions, high leafhopper numbers, and a more frequent harvest schedule are common factors for alfalfa fields this year in many parts of the state. All of these factors can contribute to shorter stand life. In general, 5 or more cuttings of alfalfa per year can shorten stand life. Where rainfall has been adequate for growth, growers have harvested on a more frequent cutting schedule this year and are planning to take a fall harvest to boost forage quantity on the farm. The last harvest or cutting date of alfalfa is yet another factor that can influence stand persistence. If stand persistence is a goal, then growers need to carefully plan the last cutting date. According to the Ohio Agronomy Guide, the risk to alfalfa stands is minimized when the last harvest of the year is completed by September 7 in northern Ohio, September 12 in central Ohio and September 15 in southern Ohio. Harvesting later than this can limit the accumulation of carbohydrate and protein reserves that plants need for winter survival and to initiate early growth in the spring.

After that last cutting, growers can do a stand evaluation to assess how their stand has come through this difficult year and what might be expected next spring. Look at the stand density as measured by plants per square foot. The guidelines are:

  • Seeding year: 25-30 plants per square foot
  • Second year: 10-15 plants per square foot
  • Third year and older: 5-6 plants per square foot

Next, dig and count the alfalfa plants in a 1 to 2-square foot area in several random locations in the field. Split open alfalfa roots lengthwise to observe tissue health. In healthy stands, fewer than 30% of plants will show significant discoloration and rot in the crown and taproot, and vigorous crown shoots are symmetrically distributed around the crown. If greater than 50% of the plants show symptoms of crown or root rot, plan to interseed with a legume other than alfalfa, interseed with an improved grass species, or rotate to another crop.

For more information visit our web site at, or contact Sam Custer at OSU Extension at 937.548.5215.

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