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Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension


C.O.R.N. Newsletter: 2017-2

  1. Lake Erie Cyanobacteria Bloom- A Summary of the 2016 Season

    Cyanobacteria growth in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) has been a concern closely monitored over the past 10 years. The presence of cyanobacteria leads to a pea soup appearance of water that causes aesthetic concerns. Cyanobacteria also produce toxins which cause human health concerns, especially contact during recreational uses or at municipal water intakes. This article compares the 2016 bloom to years back to 2002, plus identifies target loadings for the WLEB to lessen the incidence of blooms.


    Figure 1. Bloom severity index for 2002-2016 (green bar) plus the forecast for 2016 released in early July, 2016 (red bar) (Stumpf, 2016).

    The historical bloom severity for 2002 through 2015 is seen in Figure 1 (Stumpf, 2016). The index is based on the amount of biomass over the peak 30-days. The 2016 severity forecast released on July 7, 2016 with the red bar showing a predicted value of 5.5 with an uncertainty range of 3-7. The actual observed level is shown with the green bar with a severity of 3.2 which was similar to 2004 and 2012. The highest observed levels were 2011 rated a 10 and 2015 with a rating of 10.5.

    Spring loadings (1 March to 31 July) of bioavailable phosphorus entering the WLEB from the Maumee Watershed are a key factor in the severity of cyanobacterial blooms during the summer. This value is a key component of the predictive models of bloom size. Bioavailable phosphorus includes the dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) which is 100% soluble, plus an estimated portion of particulate phosphorus that will become available as water moves downstream and out into the lake. Figure 2 (Stumpf, 2016) below shows spring loading of bioavailable phosphorus for key reference years. In 2015, where severity reached 10.5, spring loading was over 700 metric tons. In 2004, where loading was close 250 and 2016 with close to 200 metric tons had a severity index around 3.0.

    Figure 2. Total bioavailable phosphorus from the Maumee River for 2016 compared to some other years. Data collected by Heidelberg University (Stumpf, 2016).

    Phosphorus, regardless of source, is an important factor in the presence of cyanobacteria blooms in the WLEB. Agriculture as a prominent land use in the WLEB has an important role to play to attain reductions through implementation of Best Management Practices for nutrient use and water management. All who live in the watershed should look for ways to lower contributions of phosphorus leaving their property.

    Target Phosphorus Reductions for the Western Lake Erie Basin

    Target loading criteria have been adopted by both the US and Canadian governments. The targets are designed to attain levels of cyanobacteria blooms that are less intrusive. The targets are set to achieve a bloom no greater than that observed in 2004 or 2012, 90% of the time.

    To attain that target bloom level, the Task Team recommended P levels seen in Table 1 (Annex 4, 2015).

    ·        Total phosphorus (TP) spring load of 860 metric tons and dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) loading of 186 metric tons from the Maumee River. (The 860 metric ton target is approximately a 40% reduction from the 2008 spring load of 1400 metric tons for TP and 310 metric tons of DRP.)

    ·        Flow Weighted Mean Concentration (FWMC) of 0.23 mg/L for TP and 0.05 mg/L for DRP. (This target is expected to achieve phosphorus loadings below the targets (860 and 186 metric tons) 90% of the time (9 years out of 10), if precipitation patterns do not change.)

    ·        Total P annual loading into the Lake Erie’s western and central basin of 6000 MT.

    Table 1. Target P loading criteria for the Lake Erie (Annex 4, 2015).


    Stumpf, R, ( Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie - Experimental HAB Bulletin. (2016)

    Annex 4 Objectives and Targets Task Team Final Report to the Nutrients Annex Subcommittee. (2015)

  2. 2016 Northwest Ohio Corn Silage Test

    In 2016, 47 corn silage hybrids representing 16 commercial brands were evaluated in a joint trial with Michigan State University (MSU). One Ohio location is combined with Michigan's two southern (Zone 1) silage locations. The Ohio test site was located in our Northwest Region at Hoytville (Wood County). The two MSU sites were located in Branch and Lenawee counties, which are on the Ohio/Michigan state line.  The test results from the three 2016 locations are treated as one region. The plots were planted with Almaco precision 4-row air planters and maintained by each respective state utilizing standard production practices. The center two rows were harvested using MSU’s New Holland T6.175 tractor which powered a two-row Champion C1200 Kemper forage harvester with a rear mounted Haldrup M-63 Weigh system.

    Silage tests were harvested uniformly as close to half milk line as possible. Near Infrared Reflectance (NIR) Quality Analysis was performed by MSU utilizing the NIRS Consortium calibration established for silage quality. Results present the percent dry matter of each hybrid plus green weight and dry weight as tons per acre. Other data presented include percent stand, the percentage of in vitro digestible dry matter, acid detergent fiber, neutral detergent fiber, neutral detergent fiber digestibility, crude protein and starch. Milk production in pounds per ton and pounds per acre were estimated using MILK2006 (UW-Madison Dairy Science Department).

    A complete summary of the Ohio results will be available online at: More information on procedures and additional 2016 MSU silage test data can be viewed online at: For more information on Ohio State crop variety testing, visit:

  3. Making Sense of Soil Health Testing: Ohio State’s Path Forward

    Author(s): Steve Culman

    The topic of soil health has been receiving a great deal of attention lately and farmers are increasingly interested in understanding more about their soils. There are a number of labs that now offer some sort of soil health package, typically made up of tests that reflect biological, chemical and physical components of the soil. Some of these tests have been around for some time, while others are relatively new. But as a farmer, how do you make sense of all these new soil tests, and what they mean for your operation and management?

    Soil testing for nutrient analysis (standard soil testing) has a rich history, and in Ohio we enjoy an incredible infrastructure that helps us manage nutrients more effectively. This includes everything from a thriving private consultant industry that will help sample your soils to professional soil testing laboratories that will analyze your soils quickly for a few dollars, to the nutrient recommendations that Ohio State and others have developed over the decades and continue to revise today. These are all important pieces that inform us of what is required for optimal crop fertility. It’s easy to take this all for granted.

    Soil health testing seeks to build on this infrastructure by providing additional information to farmers. Rather than focusing solely on soil chemistry, soil health testing seeks to provide farmers insight into the biological and physical structure components of soil and tie it all together in a common framework. This is a tall order and the field is still in its infancy. There are many more questions than answers at this point, but scientists, agronomists, farmers and others are working together and trying to make sense of it all.

    Ohio State is actively engaged in soil health testing and we are striving to be a leader in this field, by providing timely, unbiased and scientifically-grounded information, tools and training to farmers, consultants and other stakeholders. The Healthy Soils Healthy Environment Signature program will help catalyze some of this work and provide a resource to the state. At present there are a number of research projects related to soil health and soil testing, including opportunities to have their soils tested. More information can be found here (  ). Specifically, we have been working to develop soil test methods and better understand how they relate to soil function and crop response. Ohio State researchers are focused on the active, rapidly cycled fraction of organic mater as it’s the biologically active fraction of organic matter. We have also been conducting train-the-trainer workshops to educate OSU Extension Educators and others in soil health. But there is much work to do—from row crops to gardens, from rural fields to urban lots, from education to research. We are excited to be working in this important field and hope that you’ll consider working with us over the next few years.   Contact information email at

  4. Corn, Soybean, Wheat Webinars Continue

    Author(s): Amanda Bennett

    The second in a series of four webinars available to producers, Certified Crop Advisors and industry will be offered on January 31, 2017 beginning at 7 p.m. The webinar will focus on how to assess growing conditions and their impact on ear rots, mycotoxins and malformation in corn. The session will be taught by Dr. Peter Thomison, State Corn Production Specialist, OSU Extension and Dr. Pierce Paul, State Corn and Wheat Disease Specialist, OSU Extension.

    Participants can register to view at host locations by contacting the host directly. Find a host location near you and a full schedule at Certified Crop Adviser credits will be available each evening at physical locations only. If you prefer to view the webinars at home, you must pre-register the Friday before each session to receive login information. You may register online at

    These webinars are part of the Corn, Soybean and Wheat Connection series and are on outreach tool of the OSU Extension Agronomic Crops Team. Each webinar will be recorded and available online one week after the live session. The location of the recordings will be announced in the CORN newsletter and published at For questions or more information, contact Amanda Bennett at or 937-440-3945.

  5. 2017 Soybean College Offered in Darke County

    Author(s): Sam Custer

    OSU Extension, Darke County will be hosting the 2017 Soybean College on Tuesday, February 7.  This will be a rare opportunity where The Ohio State University will have all of its state specialists working with soybeans at one meeting focusing on soybean production. This workshop will feature Dr. Laura Lindsey, Soybean/Wheat Extension Specialist; Dr. Kelley Tilmon, Field Crop Extension Entomologist; Dr. Mark Loux, Research and Extension Weed Science; Greg Labarge, Agronomic Systems Field Specialist; Dr. John Fulton, Precision Agriculture Engineer; and Dr. Anne Dorrance, Field Crop Extension Pathologist.

    It will be held at the Andersons Marathon Ethanol, 5728 Sebring Warner Road, Greenville, Ohio. The meeting will run 8 am until 4 pm with a continental breakfast and lunch provided.

    Workshop sponsors include the Ohio Soybean Council, Seed Consultants, Crop Production Services and Otte Ag.

    What we’ll cover:

    •          Market Outlook –Chad Strobel, The Anderson’s

    •          Can You Budget a Profitable Soybean Crop – Sam Custer

    •          Agronomic Practices that Optimize Profitability in Soybean Production-

                         Perception vs. Reality – Dr. Laura Lindsey

    •          Waterhemp and other Resistant Weeds in Darke County – Mark Loux

    •          Nutrient Management for Soybeans and How do Cover Crops Fit in all of this? – Greg LaBarge

    •          Darke County On-Farm Research Results - Sam Custer

    •          Insect Pressure on Today’s Genetics and Future Control – Dr. Kelley Tilmon

    •          Diseases We See and Predict to Deal With in the Future – Dr. Anne Dorrance

    •          Decision Making with High Resolution Crop Imagery – Dr. John Fulton

    In addition to the great presentations throughout the day, participants will receive a soybean college notebook.   The notebook will include the notes from all presentations from the day and the following publications:   Control of Insect Pests of Field Crops; Corn, Soybean, Wheat and Alfalfa Field Guide; and Profitable Soybean Disease Management in Ohio.

    PRE-REGISTRATION AND PRE-PAYMENT ARE REQUIRED.  $50 per person.  Registration deadline is February 1, 2017.   Registration includes breakfast, lunch and materials.  Make checks payable to Ohio State University Extension. 

    A registration flyer can be downloaded at

    For more information about the meeting, contact Custer at or 937.548.5215.

    For more detailed information, visit the Darke County OSU Extension web site at, the OSU Extension Darke County Facebook page.



  6. Eastern Ohio Soybean School


    Join OSU Extension on March 9th as we present a hands-on, intensive soybean management workshop for Ohio Crop Producers that will help you become a more profitable soybean producer. This workshop will feature Dr. Laura Lindsey, Soybean/Wheat Extension Specialist; Dr. Kelley Tilmon Field Crop Extension Entomologist; Dr. Steve Culman, Soil Fertility Extension Specialist, and Dr. Anne Dorrance, Field Crop Extension Pathologist.

     In addition to the great presentations throughout the day, participants will receive a soybean management notebook. The notebook will include the following publications: Ohio Agronomy Guide; Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Alfalfa Field Guide; and Profitable Soybean Disease Management in Ohio

    Program time is 9:00 am to 3:30 pm and will be held at the Zanesville Muskingum Conference and Welcome Center, 205 N. Fifth St, Zanesville, OH.  Space is limited so please register early.  Program cost will be $35 which includes facility, meals and refreshments, and books (books valued at $36.50). Registration deadline is Thursday, March 2. To register, stop by the Muskingum County Extension Office to pick up a registration form or download here.  Direct questions to Clifton Martin, 740-454-0144 or

  7. Working Cover Crops into your Operation

    Author(s): Mark Badertscher

    Have you thought about planting cover crops or maybe experimented with some cereal rye but want to know more?  Maybe you have heard about how cover crops can improve soil health but need more information.  Plan on attending a workshop this winter that will explain the benefits of cover crops, which cover crops to plant based on your goals and crop rotation, when to plant various cover crops, methods of planting cover crops, how to terminate cover crops, selecting seed mixes, and dealing with voles, moles, and slugs.  Are these topics that have caught your interest?  Maybe you have had questions that you would like to get answers.

    Farmers will have the opportunity to learn more about cover crops in a one-day workshop at the Plaza Inn Restaurant in Mt. Victory on Friday, February 10.  This program will be held in the banquet room of the Plaza Inn, 491 S Main Street, Mount Victory, OH 43340.  The workshop will begin at 8:30 am and end at 3:30 pm.  The cost of the all day workshop will be $25 and will include lunch, snacks, and reference materials.  This workshop will review some key basic cover crops knowledge, as well as build on that subject matter by offering advanced cover crop information and timely topics related to this conservation and cropping practice.

    Instructors for this workshop will be Jim Hoorman, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Mark Badertscher, OSU Extension – Hardin County, and Wayne Dellinger, OSU Extension – Union County.  For more information, go to or call the Hardin County Extension office at 419-674-2297 for details and to register.  Participants need to be pre-registered by February 3.

  8. Cover Crop Class in Morrow County


    Cover crops are a growing topic in the agriculture world.  Many farmers are already using cover crops to improve soil heath, increase organic matter, decrease erosion and help hold nutrients on their fields. If you are not using cover crops but are curious about their benefits please join us at the OSU Extension Office (5362 US HWY 42 Mt. Gilead Ohio 43338) for a FREE day long class on February 8th taught by Jim Hoorman and Alan Sundermeier on February 8th from 8:30 to 3:30. Lunch will be provided by Morrow Soil and Water Conservation District.

    During this class you will be learning about the following soil health topics: Biology of soil compaction, cover crop rotations, cover crops for corn and soybean production, cover crops and water quality, the role of arbuscular mycorrhizae soil fungus, ECO farming in the 21st century, pest suppression with ECO farming, the role of soil bacteria, and soil fungus, soil compaction, using cover crops as forage and using cover crops to convert to no till.

    Please Contact OSU Extension Morrow County at 419-947-1070 to register by January 31st.

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.


Amanda Bennett (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Glen Arnold, CCA (Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management )
Glen Arnold, CCA (Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management )
Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA (Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems)
Les Ober, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Mark Badertscher (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Mike Gastier, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Pierce Paul (State Specialist, Corn and Wheat Diseases)
Sam Custer (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Steve Culman (State Specialist, Soil Fertility)


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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