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Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension


C.O.R.N. Newsletter: 2015-05

  1. Collect and Share Rainfall Information Online

    Author(s): Mark Badertscher

    Are you interested in knowing the rainfall amount the same day it rains or maybe for the week, month, or growing season? Are you interested in comparing rainfall amounts using charts and data to compare different years? Many farmers now have cropland around their county and in some cases, in multiple counties. Different farms receive different amounts of rainfall. There is a rainfall collection and reporting system that meets these needs that is as close as your smartphone or computer. 

    The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network or CoCoRaHS for short is the nation’s largest rainfall collection network started by Colorado State University in 1998. Once a CoCoRaHS volunteer collects rainfall in their gauge, it is entered online that day. This rainfall information becomes immediately available to anyone on the web, with charts and maps. Historical records are compiled automatically and can be viewed at

    You can go to this website, purchase an approved rain gauge, review the training, and begin collecting rainfall as part of the network. Rainfall amounts can be entered using your smartphone or computer after your location has been registered. A person is expected to check their rain gauge each morning and enter the amount, if any, online. If they are going to be away and cannot check the gauge, a multi-day entry can be made. There are also methods available to check hail and snow to make this reporting system a year-around process if desired.

    If you are interested in becoming a CoCoRaHS rainfall collector, go to this website and click on ‘Join CoCoRaHS’. In addition to making timely rainfall amounts available to local farmers and homeowners, this will benefit local, state, and national researchers by providing a source of historical data that will be accessible at any time from anywhere.

  2. Ohio State University Extension Addressing Nutrient Management Issues in the State

    Author(s): Steve Culman

    Water quality and nutrient management issues are getting more and more attention these days. With additional regulatory measures being debated in the state legislature, it seems that everyone has an idea about how to ‘fix’ the algal blooms in Lake Erie and across Ohio. And not surprisingly, the ‘fix’ depends on who you ask.

    The reality is that addressing nutrient management issues across the state is a complex and difficult task, as excessive nutrients come from a variety of different sources. But the work is increasingly important and relevant as the debate intensifies. Ohio State University Extension is working on many fronts to address nutrient management across the state and to work toward better use of nutrients, cleaner water and increased farmer profitability. (And yes, these three things can all peacefully coexist.) Here are a few examples of the work we are doing.

    Education: OSU Extension remains committed to educating farmers in nutrient management stewardship. OSU Extension has been tasked by the Ohio Department of Agriculture to develop and run the new Agricultural Fertilizer Certification Training. The goal is to have all fertilizer applicators trained in a 2 or 3 hour course over the next 3 years. With an estimated 12,000 eligible fertilizer applicators needing training, this is a major undertaking and a mostly thankless job. Initial trainings have been successful and farmers that I’ve talked with have acknowledged the quality program and valuable information this training has provided. In addition to this training, OSU Extension hosts a wide variety of winter meetings and field days incorporating nutrient management into their programming.

    Research: Numerous scientists at Ohio State and elsewhere are actively conducting research to address nutrient management issues. University researchers, field specialists, county educators, farmers, commodity groups and other stakeholders have forged partnerships to find research-based solutions to a range of nutrient issues. These areas include edge-of-field studies, farmer perceptions and behavior about nutrient management, controlled drainage structures to manage water more effectively, and building better models to predict nutrient runoff. In my lab, which focuses on agronomic soil fertility, we are working to update fertilizer recommendations in agronomic crops, by conducting field trials on farmers’ fields across the state over the next several years. (Please contact me at if you are interested in participating.) We also have three corn-soybean field trials with multiple rates of P and K across the state. These trials are going into their tenth year and will help confirm and strengthen the research findings from farmers’ fields. In addition, numerous county educators conduct soil fertility trials throughout the state.

    Although this list isn’t exhaustive, it provides a taste of what OSU Extension is actively working on to improve water quality in the state. For more information on how you can help work toward ‘fixing’ this issue, please contact your local OSU Extension county educator.

  3. Frost Seeding to Improve Pasture and Hayfield Quality


    As I look at the weather forecast this week, it appears that spring is arriving. One task that is well suited to the transition time between winter and spring is frost seeding. Frost seeding involves broadcasting seed over a pasture or hay field area and letting the natural freeze/thaw cycles of late winter and early spring help to move the seed into good contact with the soil. A basic requirement for frost seeding success is exposed soil. When looking down into the sod you should be able to see down to the soil. The broadcast seed must be able to come into contact with the soil. Frost seeding will fail when there is too much forage residual cover and the seed gets hung up in that residue. Generally, a pasture is prepared for frost seeding by grazing it down hard, although some light tillage or a close mowing done in the late fall could also be used. For a hay field, frost seeding can be used in thin areas that are at risk for weed invasion, but again, the seed needs to get down to soil level.

    In general, legumes work better than grasses to frost seed. Legume seeds are typically heavier than grass seed and that may explain why they get down to the soil level better than grass seed. The advantage to frost seeding a legume such as red or white clover is that legumes "fix" nitrogen typically in excess of their own needs. The existing grass plants use the excess nitrogen, which improves their quality as a feedstuff. Once legumes become uniformly and evenly established in a stand of pasture grass or across a hay field and make up 30 to 35% of the stand, there is no need to apply supplemental nitrogen so this portion of fertilizer costs is reduced.

    Red clover is probably the most widely used forage species when it comes to frost seeding. Red clover has high seedling vigor, is tolerant of a range of soil pH and fertility conditions, and tolerates drought better than white clover. Red clover produces its heaviest growth during the summer months. Red clover is known as a short-lived perennial, typically persisting in a stand for only a couple of years. There now are some longer lived, more persistent varieties of red clover available that can last three or more years in a stand. Some producers like a combination of red clover and birdsfoot trefoil in their frost seeding mix. Birdsfoot trefoil is a persistent perennial once established, but it can be slow to establish, often not showing up in a stand until the second year after frost seeding. This works well for most common varieties of red clover as they begin to decline after the second year in a stand.

    After red clover, the next most popular legume that I see being used for frost seeding is white clover. White clover is a perennial clover and begins its production in the cooler spring weather. The older varieties of white clover are known as low growing or prostrate type of growth. This means that in order for the white clover to thrive, grass must be grazed down shorter so that light can get down to the white clover. However many seed companies now have newer, improved varieties that are more upright growing and compete better with grasses.

    Another legume that is sometimes considered for pasture renovation and frost seeding is annual lespedeza. Annual lespedeza is a non-bloating legume that is drought tolerant. Lespedeza is a warm season forage that can be used to fill in the "summer slump" period. Expect growth of annual lespedeza to kick in from late June through early September. In my experience it has been difficult to establish lespedeza by frost seeding. I think it is because the seed is light, similar to a grass seed, and it is difficult to get good seed soil contact. I would recommend the use of a no-till drill to seed lespedeza.

    Recommended frost seeding rates by species is included in the following table:

    Forage Species

    Seeding Rate (lbs./acre)

    Red clover

    6 - 8

    Ladino/white clover

    2 - 3

    Alsike clover

    2 - 4

    Birdsfoot Trefoil

    4 - 6

    If you are frost seeding a legume species that has not been grown in the pasture for a number of years, it is a good idea to include the proper bacterial inoculum with the seed to insure that the bacteria responsible for fixing nitrogen becomes associated with the plant roots.

    In addition to good seed soil contact, the success of any new seeding depends upon soil fertility conditions and the grazing management that will be used once that plant is up and growing. The goal should be more than mere plant survival. We want the new forage plants to thrive and produce to their genetic potential.

  4. Last Corn, Soybean and Wheat Connection of the Season

    Our last Corn, Soybean and Wheat Connection program of the winter months is March 10 on the Agronomic Utilization of Manure

    • Can Manure Sourced Nutrients be used to Meet Crop Need?
      • Greg LaBarge, Field Specialist-Agronomic Systems, OSUE
    • Alternative Applications Timing to Take Advantage of Nitrogen
      • Glen Arnold, Field Specialist-Manure Nutrient Utilization, OSUE

    The 2015 Corn, Soybean and Wheat Connection Webinars are an outreach tool of the OSU Agronomic Crops Team. There are two ways to participate in these programs. For Mar 10th there will be a live presentation from 10:00-11:30 am. To access the program go to the link

    The second way to access the information will be through recordings that will be made available by 5:30 pm on the day presented:

    If you have questions on accessing or in follow up to the presentations contact Greg LaBarge at

    Past programs of January 20, February 3rd and 17th are also available at this same link:

    • January 20 - Precision Agriculture
    • February 3 - Soybean Production
    • February 17 - Corn Production
  5. March 2015 Agronomic Crops Calendar

    March 11

    2015 Ohio Commercial Pesticide Applicator Recertification Conference, Columbus Convention Center:

    March 16 - 20

    Overholt Drainage School March 16 through 20 1-614-264-7916 cell – leave message. Registration closes March 9th.

    March 16

    Overholt Drainage School-Session 1

    Defiance County EMA Building, State Route 15, Defiance, OH

    SESSION I. Agricultural Subsurface Drainage Design, Layout and Installation

    March 18

    Overholt Drainage School-Session 2

    Defiance County EMA Building, State Route 15, Defiance, OH

    SESSION 2. Drainage Water Management: Controlled Drainage System Purpose, Benefits, Design, Layout and Installation

    March 19

    Overholt Drainage School-Session 3

    Defiance County EMA Building, State Route 15, Defiance, OH

    SESSION 3 Concepts in Water Table Management with Subirrigation: Aspects of Benefits, Design, Installation and Management

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.


Andy Michel (State Specialist, Entomology)
Eric Richer, CCA (Field Specialist, Farm Management)
Jason Hartschuh, CCA (Field Specialist, Dairy & Precision Livestock)
Les Ober, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Pierce Paul (State Specialist, Corn and Wheat Diseases)
Sam Custer (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Sarah Noggle (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)


The information presented here, along with any trade names used, is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is made by Ohio State University Extension is implied. Although every attempt is made to produce information that is complete, timely, and accurate, the pesticide user bears responsibility of consulting the pesticide label and adhering to those directions.

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