C.O.R.N. Newsletter: 2021-07

  1. Turning a National Focus to Grain Safety

    Author(s): Lisa Pfeifer

    Every year hundreds of employees are injured or die from preventable hazards while working in grain storage and handling. Stand Up 4 Grain Safety is an awareness campaign running this week to promote the safety of workers from hazards found in areas of grain handling facilities and on-site storage including grain bins and their surrounding area. The National Stand Up 4 Grain Safety Week is sponsored by an alliance of agricultural industry groups, to provide a collective industry focus and commitment to safety. Everyone deserves to go home from work each day, to that end the industry alliance and safety professionals together recognize a stand for safety March 29 – April 2, 2021. Five learning sessions are offered throughout the week to highlight different aspects of grain handling, from the impact of grain quality on safety to planning and reporting. In addition to the daily live learning sessions, https://standup4grainsafety.org houses multiple resources for use within places of employment.

    Workers of all ages are at an increased risk when poor grain quality causes reduced flow, bin safety practices are not followed, and emergency action plans are not in place. Practicing simple steps and ensuring protocols are in place will save lives.

    Some of the biggest safety concerns present are located at the bin. Slip, trip, and fall hazards are prevalent. Engulfment can happen in seconds. Combustible or toxic environments can be hidden to the naked eye. Entanglement and amputations can happen at the storage facility even after harvest season has been completed.

    Follow these safety tips when working in and around grain storage:

    • Frequently check ladders and stairways attached to the bin for needed repairs.
    • Make sure guards are in place on all equipment.
    • Turn off and lock out all equipment.
    • Ensure no grain is being moved into or out of the bin.
    • Test the air within a bin prior to entering.
    • Use a N-95 mask when working in a bin with grain.
    • Wear a body harness with a lifeline when entering a bin.
    • Utilize a farm employee or family member to act as an observer outside the bin when entering.
    • Do not walk down grain to make it flow.
    • Never enter a bin if there is the potential for bridged grain.
    • Account for any items you take into a bin and ensure return to the outside of the bin, so equipment does not later become clogged.

    In Ohio there are several services and tools to support industry facilities or farms concerned with safety issues:

    Ohio BWC Safety Services has safety and health professionals throughout the state to help every Ohio employer in every industry reduce the risk of employee injury and illness, offering services at no cost to employers.  BWC's specialists can provide consultative services in the areas of industrial safety, construction safety, ergonomics, and industrial hygiene. Request any consultation service online or by phone at 800-644-6292.

    Ohio OSHA On-site Consultation can be requested by employers for support in finding and correcting safety hazards in the workplace. Services range from free on-site and virtual safety inspections and consultation, safety program assistance, and safety and hygiene training or seminars, to printed and electronic resources. Unlike the federal OSHA program, OSHA On-Site does not have right of entry to a workplace and does not issue citations or fines. An employer must make the consultation request, and mutually agree upon a time frame within which to correct any safety hazards identified. Call 800-282-1425 or submit the request online.  

    Ohio BWC Library provides free informational resources on occupational safety and health, workers' compensation, and rehabilitation. Experienced librarians will locate hard-to-find information and provide timely and accurate answers to your questions.  If you have a research question about occupational safety & health, call 614-466-7388 or email library@bwc.state.oh.us, and one of the librarians will help you. For questions about their collection of safety training videos and video streaming service, call 614-644-0018.

    OSU Agricultural Safety and Health Program directs, coordinates, and administers educational programs, demonstrations and resources to support agriculture and the safety of those working in the industry. As part of Ohio State University Extension’s outreach in this area a comprehensive agricultural rescue program is offered to address safety around grain handling. The program consists of Ohio Fire Academy curriculum and professional training for first responders, as well as OSU Ag Safety Grain Handling Awareness curriculum for outreach education and awareness for farmers and the agricultural community. Please visit agsafety.osu.edu to learn more.

    Wayne County Regional Training Facility -- Safe Farms Facility is a new training resource available for agricultural safety training as well as rescue training for grain entrapment. It is part of a training campus that has been conducting a diversified list of courses covering Fire, EMS, Agriculture, and other specialty classes/courses over the last 30 years. For a full list of courses and resources offered by the WCRTF, please visit wcfra.com.



  2. Should you expect any freeze damage to winter wheat? Most likely, no.

    The incoming cold temperatures are not likely to impact winter wheat. The magnitude of freeze damage depends on: 1) temperature, 2) duration of temperature, and 3) wheat growth stage.

    Prior to the Feekes 6 growth stage, the growing point of wheat is below the soil surface, protected from freezing temperatures. Most of the wheat in Ohio is at the Feekes 4 (beginning of erect growth) or Feekes 5 (leaf sheaths strongly erect) growth stage and should be unaffected by the incoming cold temperatures, predicted to be mid- to low 20s on Wednesday and Thursday.

    At Feekes 6 growth stage, our research has shown only a 5% reduction in wheat yield at a temperature of 20°F for 15-minute duration and 50% reduction in wheat yield at a temperature of 12°F for 15-minute duration. (Although, it should be noted, there is a great deal of variability in response due to environmental conditions for the remainder of the growing season. Additionally, greater soil moisture levels can help buffer against short-term temperature fluctuations.)

    For more information on Freeze Symptoms and Associated Yield Loss in Soft Red Winter Wheat, please see our new FactSheet: https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/anr-93

  3. Now is the Time to Fine Tune Your Sprayer

    Author(s): Erdal Ozkan

    Pesticides need to be applied accurately and uniformly. Too little pesticide results in poor pest control and reduced yields, while too much injures the crop, wastes chemicals and money, and increases the risk of polluting the environment. Achieving satisfactory results from pesticides depends heavily on five major factors:

    1. Positive identification of the pest.
    2. Choosing the least persistent and lowest toxicity pesticide that will work.
    3. Selecting the right equipment, particularly the right type and size of nozzle for the job.
    4. Applying pesticides accurately at the right time.
    5. Calibrating and maintaining equipment to make sure the amount recommended on the chemical label is applied.

    Inspection of sprayers

    Higher pesticide costs and new chemicals designed to be used in lower doses make accurate application more important than ever. There is no better time than early spring to take a closer look at your sprayer. Here are some of the things I would recommend you do this week if you don’t want to unexpectantly halt your spraying later in the season when you cannot afford delaying spraying and missing that most critical time to control weeds:

    • First, if you need new or one other type of nozzles on the boom this year, do not delay purchasing new nozzles. Do it now.
    • Double-check your sprayer for mechanical problems before you start using it.  You won’t have time to do this when planting is in full swing.
    • Clean the sprayer tank thoroughly and make sure all filters on the sprayer, especially the nozzle filters are clean.
    • Clean spray nozzles to make sure they are not partially plugged. Check their flow rates, and replace the ones that are spraying more than 10 percent of the original output at a given spray pressure.
    • Check the agitator in the tank to make sure it’s working properly. This is extremely important if you will be applying dry chemicals. Run water through the spray system to make sure everything is working properly.
    • Always carry a spare, excellent quality pressure gage (glycerin filled) in your shop, and check the accuracy of the pressure gage on the sprayer compared to the reading you see on this spare pressure gage. Your rate controller will not know if your pressure gage is bad, and the flow rate of nozzles will be adjusted by the rate controller using the bad pressure gage.
    • Once you are convinced that all sprayer parts are functioning properly, it is time to calibrate the sprayer.

    Calibrate the sprayer

    One can determine if the chemicals are applied at the proper rate (gallons per acre) only by carefully calibrating the sprayer. Calibration, perhaps more than anything else, will have a direct impact on achieving effective pest control and the cost of crop production. While applying too little pesticide may result in ineffective pest control, too much pesticide wastes money, may damage the crop and increases the potential risk of contaminating ground water and environment. Results of "Sprayer Calibration Clinics" I participated in Ohio a while back, and data from several other States show that only one out of three to four applicators are applying chemicals at a rate that is within 5 % (plus or minus) of their intended rate (an accuracy level recommended by USDA and EPA). For example, if your intended rate is 20 gallons per acre, the 5% tolerable difference will be 1 gallon (5% of 20). So, your actual application rate should be as close to 20 gpa as possible, but not outside the range of 19 to 21 gpa.

    How do you calibrate the sprayer?

    There are several ways to calibrate a sprayer. Regardless of which method you choose, you will end up measuring the nozzle flow rate (in ounces), and the actual travel speed in miles per hour to determine the actual chemical applied in gallons per acre. Once you determine the actual application rate, you should find out if the difference between the actual rate and the intended rate is greater than 5% of the intended rate (plus or minus). If the error is greater than the 5% tolerable error margin, you will need to reduce the error below 5% by doing one of three things: 1) Change the spraying pressure, 2) change the travel speed, and 3) change nozzles (get a different size) if the error cannot be reduced below 5% by making adjustments in either the pressure or the travel speed, or both.

    It usually doesn’t take more than 30 minutes to calibrate a sprayer, and only three things are needed: a watch or smart phone to record the time when measuring the nozzle flow rate or the travel speed, a measuring tape, and a jar graduated in ounces. Please take a look at the Ohio State University Extension publication FABE-520 for an easy method for calibrating a field crop (with boom) sprayer.  Here is the URL for this publication: http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/fabe-520 

  4. Spring Pesticide Safety Reminders

    Author(s): Mary Ann Rose

    Spring Pesticide Safety Reminders

    You probably worked on your sprayer and other major equipment over the winter to gear up for pesticide applications.  Have you put any effort into preparing for applicator safety?  Here are some questions to ask yourself in preparation for the season:  

    • Do I have the required personal protective equipment on hand?  Review your pesticide labels, and make sure you do.  One of the new dicamba formulations used on DT soybeans requires a respirator – did you know that?  Be sure you have whatever the label requires.
    • Are you sure you have the right kind of PPE? Let your pesticide label be your guide.   Leather or cotton gloves* do not protect you from pesticides – they absorb chemical and hold it close to your skin!  Read labels carefully to make sure your PPE have required level of chemical resistance.  The gloves in the picture are 14 ml nitrile, appropriate for many, but not all agricultural pesticides. Finally, conventional agricultural pesticides all require long-sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes, and socks at a minimum.  Are you in compliance with the label? 
    • Are you applying pesticides from inside an enclosed cab?  The label may not require you to wear the PPE inside the enclosed cab, but you must have it available in case you have to exit to the field while spraying.  
    • Mixing and loading in the field?  Make sure you have soap, water, and paper towels available to you to wash up before smoking, drinking, eating, or using a restroom.  In case you were to splash concentrated chemical on you, having a spare set of clothing is a good idea too.
    • Are you using a pesticide that requires eye protection?  Choose eye protection that offers side protection from splashes.  Also, you must have eye wash on hand when mixing and loading if the label requires eye protection.  Someday these precautions could save you from serious eye injury.
    • Look at your chemical storeroom.  Are there any leaky containers, or containers that are missing their labels?  Take steps now to fix those problems and remember: NEVER USE A FOOD OR DRINK STORAGE CONTAINER FOR PESTICIDES.  Sadly, fatalities have occurred from this poor decision.   Also make sure your chemical storage is secure enough to keep children and unauthorized people out. 
    • Have you stored your PPE in the pesticide cabinet or storeroom?  If so, remove and store it in another location.  Some pesticides are volatile, and they can contaminate your PPE.

    *One exception: certain fumigants do call for the use of cotton gloves.  Otherwise these are not appropriate to use with pesticides. 

    To watch a short video (11 minutes) reviewing Pesticide Safety Basics for the farm, click below: https://youtu.be/PhPvcO10xCM

    Contact the Pesticide Safety Education Program with your pesticide safety questions: pested@osu.edu / 614-292-4070

  5. Spring control of winter weeds in hay and pasture

    Source: Ohio State Weed Science

    Now is the time to scout hay and pasture fields for the presence of winter annual and biennial weeds, especially those that are poisonous to livestock such as cressleaf groundsel.  These weeds are resuming growth that started last fall and they are most effectively controlled with herbicides while still small.  In addition to cressleaf groundsel, weeds of concern that should be treated soon include the following:  poison hemlock, birdsrape mustard (aka wild turnip), wild carrot.  Herbicides are most effective on these weeds in the fall, but they can be controlled in spring, preferably when still in the rosette stage.  Control becomes more difficult once stem elongation (bolting) starts.

    Options for control in pure legume stands: 

    - Pursuit – 3-6 oz

    - Raptor – 4-6 oz

    - 2,4-DB (Butyrac etc) – 1-3 qts

    - bromoxynil – (first-year alfalfa only) – 1-1.5 pts

    - glyphosate (RR alfalfa) – 0.75-1.5 lb ae

    - Extreme (RR alfalfa, glyphosate + Pursuit) – 2.2 – 4.4 pts

    Notes: higher rates are going to be generally more effective; poison hemlock or wild carrot cannot be controlled in nonRR alfalfa; combination of Pursuit/Raptor + 2,4-DB will be most effective on birdsrape mustard and cressleaf groundsel in nonRR alfalfa (and control of groundsel will likely be variable).

    Options for control in mixed legume/grass stands: 

    - 2,4-DB (Butyrac etc) – 1-3 qts

    Note:  2,4-DB is almost an herbicide on a good day when applied alone, and will not control any of the weeds mentioned here.  Check ratings in the OSU Weed Control Guide before spending the money.

    Options for grass hay and pasture are more numerous and should be generally more effective.  Information on all of these, along with ratings, can be found in the “Permanent Grass Pastures/CRP/Grass Hay” section of the weed control guide.  A few comments:

    - Most herbicides labeled for these uses have activity on winter annuals, including mustard species, and we assume would be effective on birdsrape mustard. 

    - With regard to cressleaf groundsel, there is a lack information on effectiveness of many grass hay/pasture herbicides.  A study at the University of Illinois across 7 environments determined that dicamba was ineffective on groundsel, while 2,4-D was effective only when applied in the fall.  Fall or spring application of site 2 sulfonylurea herbicides, chlorimuron + tribenuron, was effective.  While this mixture is not labeled for use on grass hay and pastures, another sulfonylurea herbicide – metsulfuron – is a component of some pasture herbicides.  Metsulfuron is effective on a broad-spectrum of winter annual and biennial weeds, so we assume it would be effective on groundsel as well. 

    - Poison hemlock is most effectively controlled with products that contain triclopyr, such as Crossbow and Remedy Utra.  Cimarron Max and products containing higher rates of dicamba also have activity. 

    Other weeds that can be treated in mid to late spring include bull thistle, a biennial, and spotted knapweed, smooth bedstraw, and Canada thistle, which are pernnials.  None of these are effectively controlled in legume fields, with the possible exception of glyphosate used in RoundupReady alfalfa.  They can be controlled in grass hay and/or pastures, although options may be most numerous in pasture due to restrictions on hay harvest for certain herbicides.  We conducted a study of smooth bedstraw control in grass hay at two sites in eastern Ohio, with herbicides applied in mid-April to early May after full leafout.  Crossbow (1 qt) provided the most effective control and reduction in bedstraw population the following year.  Application of metsulfuron (0.4 oz), Cimarron Max, and the combination of dicamba + 2,4-D controlled the topgrowth through the season, but these treatments were less effective at permanently reducing the population.  Spotted knapweed control options include:

    - Stinger/Transline – after basal leaves up to bud stage

    - Milestone/GrazonNext HL – fall or spring, rosette to bolt stage

    - 2,4-D + dicamba – early bolting stage

    - Curtail – fall or spring – rosette to mid-bolting

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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)
Amanda Bennett (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Amanda Douridas (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Andrew Holden (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Barry Ward (Program Leader)
Beth Scheckelhoff (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Bruce Clevenger, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Chris Zoller (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Clint Schroeder (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Curtis Young, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
David Marrison (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Dean Kreager (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Ed Lentz, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Elizabeth Hawkins (Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems)
Gigi Neal (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)
Jamie Hampton (Extension Educator, ANR)
Jason Hartschuh, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Jordan Beck (Water Quality Extension Associate)
Lee Beers, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Les Ober, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Mark Badertscher (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Mark Loux (State Specialist, Weed Science)
Mark Sulc (State Specialist, Forage Production)
Mary Griffith (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Matthew Schmerge (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Mike Estadt (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Mike Gastier, CCA (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Nick Eckel (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Pierce Paul (State Specialist, Corn and Wheat Diseases)
Rachel Cochran (Water Quality Extension Associate)
Richard Purdin (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Sarah Noggle (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Stephanie Karhoff (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Steve Culman (State Specialist, Soil Fertility)
Taylor Dill (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Tony Nye (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Trevor Corboy (Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Will Hamman (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.