C.O.R.N. Newsletter: 2021-02

  1. Gibberella Ear Rot and Vomitoxin in Corn

    Author(s): Pierce Paul

    If your grain was harvested from a field with Gibberella ear rot (GER), it is more than likely contaminated with mycotoxins. Deoxynivalenol, also known as vomitoxin, is one of the mycotoxins most commonly produced by the fungus Fusarium graminearum that causes GER. Another name for this fungus is Gibberella zeae, hence the name of the disease. Before storing grain harvested from GER-affected fields or areas where conditions were favorable for the disease, pull a sample and test for the presence and level of contamination with vomitoxin. Mycotoxin tests are either qualitative, semi-quantitative, and quantitative. Qualitative tests provide a yes/no answer for the presence of the toxin and are useful for initial screening. Semi-quantitative tests estimate whether the toxin is at or above certain levels (>5 ppm) or within a given range, whereas quantitative tests provide more precise estimates of contamination. There is a trade-off between precision, price, and speed. Quantitative tests tend to be the most precise but are also more expensive and take longer to complete than the qualitative or semi-quantitative tests. Semi-quantitative quick-test kits are very common and relatively easy to use and inexpensive. They are often very specific for one particular toxin. A test developed specifically for Aflatoxin or Fumonisins will NOT work for vomitoxin.

    Unfortunately, there are no commercially available treatments to reduce vomitoxin levels in stored grain.  Poor storage may cause toxin levels to increase. Warm, moist pockets in the grain promote mold development, causing the grain quality to deteriorate and toxin levels to increase. Aeration is important to keep the grain dry and cool. However, it should be noted that while cool temperatures, air circulation, and low moisture levels will minimize fungal growth and toxin production, these will not decrease the level of toxin that was already present in grain at the time of storage.

    • Dry and store harvested grain to below 15% moisture of lower to minimize further mold development and toxin contamination in storage.
    • Store dried grain at cool temperatures (36 to 44°F) in clean, dry bins. Moderate to high temperatures are favorable for fungal growth and toxin production.
    • Periodically check grain for mold, insects, and temperature.
    • If mold is found, send a grain sample for mold identification and analysis to determine if toxins are present and at what level.
    • Clean bins and storage units between grain lots to reduce cross-contamination.

    Several companies sell test strips for mycotoxin analysis, including Romer Labs (http://www.romerlabs.com) and Neogen (http://www.neogen.com/). These tests are fairly easy to use once you read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully.

    More information on sampling, testing, and storage can the found in factsheet # PLPATH-CER-04 (http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/plpath-cer-04).


  2. Upcoming Agronomy Team Programs

    This week the Agronomy Team continues to offer virtual programming including the second session of a weekly series focusing on investing in soil health, and the first session of a series focusing on farming in weather extremes. Next week’s offerings include the final session of the 2021 Precision University and a continuation of the soil health series. Topic details and registration information are below:

    • Jan. 21, 8:00-8:30am – What Can Soil Health Tests Tell You?  Steve Culman. 0.5 NM CCA CEUs. Register: www.go.osu.edu/soilhealth2021
    • Jan. 21, 9:00-10:30am – Disease Management Options for Today’s Weather, Pierce Paul and Aaron Wilson.1.0 PM CCA CEUs. Register: www.go.osu.edu/adapt
    • Jan. 26, 10:00-11:00am – Sprayer Technology to Improve Field Performance, Joe Luck. 1.0 PAg CCA CEUs. Register: www.go.osu.edu/PrecisionU
    • Jan. 28, 8:00-8:30am – Can Improving Soil Health Improve Yield? Jordon Wade. 0.5 CM CCA CEUs. Register: www.go.osu.edu/soilhealth2021

    All programs will be recorded, and recordings will be available to view on our website and YouTube channel. CCA CEUs are only available to participants attending live sessions (we cannot give CCA credit for watching the recordings).To register and view details on programs coming up later in the month and into March, visit: https://agcrops.osu.edu/events.

    The recordings of last week’s videos are available to view online here:


  3. Soil Health Seminar Focuses on What Soil Health Tests Tell You

    Soil testing for nutrient analysis (standard soil testing) has a rich history and many available resources in Ohio. But an increasing number of farmers are interested in overall soil health, which incorporates chemical, physical, and biological soil properties. Science and testing resources for soil health is still under development in many ways.

    On January 21, as part of the 2021 Soil Health Winter Seminar Series, we will be discussing soil health tests and how you can apply this information on the farm. 

    While many cultural practices are considered good for soil health, farmers need to be careful about taking a one-size-fits-all approach to soil health management. Just because something works on your neighbor’s farm, doesn’t mean it’s right for your soil health management plan.

    In fact, it’s challenging to generate a list of ‘recommended’ measurements across all fields. Farmers have different goals for soil health depending on their overall farm goals, soil conditions, and personal priorities.

    Soil testing is a key to evaluating how current and new practices are impacting soil health on individual fields. During this session, we will talk about laboratory tests and field tests currently available, as well as emerging tests that our lab has been studying.

    Specific topics will include
    * Benefits and limitations to total organic matter, Solvita, and other currently available laboratory tests

    * Specific testing trends or values to look for

    * How long it take to notice changes in soil health metrics

    * Additional resources for understanding soil health testing

    “What Can Soil Health Tests Tell You?” is part of the Soil Health Winter Seminar Series. Each session begins at 8 a.m. Attendance is free, but participants must register in advance. For more information and to register, visit: go.osu.edu/soilhealth2021. CCA CEUs are available.

  4. Improved Soil Health Linked to Nitrogen Fertilizer Efficiency Across Corn Belt

    Most farmers value soil health in theory, but few studies have worked to place an actual agronomic value on soil health. A study published earlier this spring found that a 10% improvement in certain soil health measurements increased relative yields by an average of 5% across N fertilizer rates. In other words, good soil health means getting more bang for every buck spent on fertilizer.

    Study leader, former Ohio State PhD student Dr. Jordon Wade, based these findings on analysis of corn nitrogen (N) rate trials throughout the Midwest. His findings were consistent across a variety of soils and climatic conditions across the Corn Belt (Fig 1).

    Improving N use efficiency is linked to soil biology and the cycling of organic matter, both of which are important components of soil health. In response to increased attention on soil health, both commercial and university research labs have begun offering soil health testing services. These tests often focus on the biological activity of the soil, specifically targeting the portion of soil organic matter thought to be active during the growing season. However, there are few guidelines for applying test results to fertility recommendations.

    What soil health tests should I use?

    In this study, researchers used three different measurements of active organic matter: permanganate oxidizable carbon (POXC) soil protein, and respiration (Solvita). They also included total organic matter content, which is often included in a standard soil test.

    The research team found that respiration test was much less useful in making N recommendations than the other three tests. Instead, respiration seemed to reflect inherent soil characteristics more than management-related changes. Based on this study, Wade recommends POXC and soil protein, as well as a standard organic matter soil test. Together, these 3 tests provide insight into how management is affecting your N efficiency.

    How can I find and use these tests?

    As with many emerging soil health tests, availability is limited. However, here in Ohio, the Soil Fertility Lab started offering these measurements through eFields in 2020 as part of on-farm research projects. You can find more information by contacting Steve Culman (info below) or your local OSU Extension County Educator.

    At this time, interpretation of results is simplistic: if your POXC, soil protein, and organic matter levels are going up, you will have increasing N use efficiency. POXC values are generally quicker to respond than soil protein or organic matter, so you may need to wait at least one full rotation of corn and soybeans to see if you are headed in the right direction. In the future, the study authors hope to use these measurements to give more precise recommendations.

    For reliable results, be sure to use consistent sampling techniques from one year to the next. Take your soil samples at a similar time of year and use the same lab for analysis. For more information on effective soil sampling, visit soilhealth.osu.edu.

    The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports and is available via public access. For any questions or more information, contact Dr. Jordon Wade (jordonwade@gmail.com) or Dr. Steve Culman (culman.2@osu.edu).

    A close up of a map

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    Figure 1. Map of sites in the study.


  5. Northwest Ohio Corn and Soybean Day - January 21

    Author(s): Eric Richer, CCA

    The annual Northwest Ohio Corn & Soybean Day will be held in a 100% virtual format this Thursday, January 21, 2021. Pre-registration is mandatory as you must have the Zoom link to participate. Please register by 5 pm today at www.go.osu.edu/cornsoybeanday2021. During registration, you will have the option to sign up for either the morning 8:00-11:00 am session or the evening 6:00-9:00 pm session. Attending the complete program will qualify for Ohio Fertilizer Re-certification (a.k.a. Category 15, private or commercial). This cost for the program with credits is $10 per person.

    Topics and speakers for the day include:

    Soil Health Mindset – Adopting Practices and Measuring Success, Abbey Wick, North Dakota State University Extension Soil Health Specialist

    WEATHER you like it or not: Early 2021 Outlook, Aaron Wilson, OSU Climate Office

    The 2021 ARL/PLC Decision and Why Wheat?, Eric Richer, OSU Extension, Fulton County

    Addressing Water Quality in NW Ohio, Jordan Beck, OSU Extension Water Quality Assistant

    Fertilizer Records and Using the Cover Crop Selector Tool, Sarah Noggle, OSU Extension, Paulding County

    eFields Round Table, Eric Richer, OSU Extension, Fulton County

    Again, registration is mandatory for all attendees. The registration link is www.go.osu.edu/cornsoybeanday2021.  


  6. New Private Pesticide Applicator Virtual Training

    Author(s): Mark Badertscher

    Join OSU Extension for a virtual New Private Pesticide Applicator Training to help new pesticide applicators prepare for the Ohio Private Pesticide Applicator License scheduled for Tuesday, January 26 from 12:30-4:30 pm. The class will provide instruction in CORE, Grain, and Cereal Crops. For further study and to prepare for the test, books can be purchased from OSU Extension Publications online and shipped to your house at your expense.

    Optional books for the online participants include:

    Applying Pesticides Correctly (Core Manual)

    Ohio Pesticide Applicator Training: Core Student Workbook

    Ohio Pesticide Applicator Training: Field Crops Student Workbook

    Register for this virtual event at https://go.osu.edu/virtualnewpesticideapplicatortraining-january26 and you will be sent a link for the class. There is no cost to participate and those who are unable to participate on the scheduled webinar date will be sent an email to watch the recording later if they register for the class. Following the class, participants can schedule an exam time at https://pested.osu.edu/PrivateApplicator/testing when they are ready to take the tests.


  7. Water Quality Wednesday

    Author(s): Rachel Cochran

    Water quality concerns continue to be at the forefront of environmental-impact discussions across many industries. Since agriculture occupies much of the land area in Ohio, adapting farming operations to include “best management practices” has been an area of focus for agricultural producers, governmental agencies, and other stakeholders working to contribute to solutions. As water quality concerns remain, so do opportunities for reviewing the current research and considering adopting practices that work for your situation. Join The Ohio State University Extension Water Quality Team and guest speakers for a webinar series discussing several timely topics in preparation for the 2021 growing season. Register for specific events or the entire series at: http://go.osu.edu/wqw.

    Our second event, Cover Crops and Water Quality, will be held virtually on February 10th beginning at 10am. Speakers include Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension Educator from Crawford County, Sarah Noggle, OSU Extension Educator from Paulding County, and Rachel Cochran, Water Quality Extension Associate for Paulding, Defiance, and Van Wert Counties. CCA Credits will be available for these events.

    Future Water Quality Wednesday Events:

    February 24th: 10-11:30am – Best Management Practices for Water Quality

    March 3rd: 3-3:30pm – Lake Erie Water Quality Litigation update with Peggy Hall

    April 14th: 10-11:30am – Water Quality in the Western Lake Erie Basin

    Past Water Quality Wednesday program recordings will be available on the OSU Agronomic Crops Team YouTube page.




  8. OSU Extension to Host "Planning for the Future of Your Farm" Workshop

    Author(s): David Marrison

    OSU Extension will host a virtual three part “Planning for the Future of Your Farm” workshop on February 15, 22 and March 1, 2021 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom. This workshop will challenge farm families to actively plan for the future of the farm business. This workshop is designed to help farm families learn strategies and tools to successfully create a succession and estate plan that helps you transfer your farm’s ownership, management, and assets to the next generation. Learn how to have the crucial conversations about the future of your farm.

    Topics discussed during this series include: Developing Goals for Estate and Succession; Planning for the Transition of Control; Planning for the Unexpected; Communication and Conflict Management during Farm Transfer; Legal Tools & Strategies; Developing Your Team; Getting Affairs in Order; and Selecting an Attorney.

    This workshop will be taught by members of the OSU Farm Office Team featuring Peggy Hall & Jeffrey Lewis, Attorneys from OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program and David Marrison, Extension Educator for Coshocton County.

    Because of its virtual nature, you can invite your parents, children, and/or grandchildren (regardless of where they live in Ohio or across the United States) to join you as you develop a plan for the future of your family farm.

    Pre-registration is required as one packet of program materials will be mailed to participating families. Electronic copies of the course materials will also be available to all participants. The registration fee is $40 per farm family.  The registration deadline is February 10, 2021. More information and on-line registration can be obtained at go.osu.edu/farmsuccession

    For more information about this webinar contact David Marrison at the Coshocton County Extension office at 740-622-2265 or by email at marrison.2@osu.edu.

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.


Alan Leininger (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Dennis Riethman (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Glen Arnold, CCA (Field Specialist, Manure Nutrient Management )
Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA (Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems)
Hallie Williams (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Harold Watters, CPAg/CCA (Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems)
Jason Hartschuh, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Les Ober, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Mike Gastier, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Nick Eckel (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Rich Minyo (Research Specialist)
Richard Purdin (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.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit cfaesdiversity.osu.edu. For an accessible format of this publication, visit cfaes.osu.edu/accessibility.