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Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension


C.O.R.N. Newsletter 2008-02

Dates Covered: 
January 23, 2008 - February 6, 2008
Greg LaBarge

Questions About Starter Fertilizer Use

Authors: Edwin Lentz, Robert Mullen

An often asked question is what nutrient in my starter package gives the biggest boost? Talk about a loaded question! We will give the stock Extension answer – it depends. And here is what it depends upon:

Soil Test Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) Levels
Soils that have a history of adequate or perhaps even a little excessive P and K fertilization resulting in a high soil test levels are unlikely to benefit (yield-wise) from the inclusion of P and K in the starter. Notice we focused on a yield benefit, often times we can see visual differences due to application of P specifically in cool, wet springs, but it rarely translates into a yield increase.

Soils that are low in P and K (below the established critical value) can benefit, especially if broadcast applications were not made the previous fall or in the spring.

Also, soils that have been in continuous no-till may benefit from starter P, regardless of soil test level. In summary, soils that have adequate P and K levels are unlikely to benefit from starter P and K applications, but soils that are deficient can show a positive response.

What about nitrogen?
The nutrient that typically provides the biggest starter boost is nitrogen (N). Now this raises a point, if nitrogen uptake by the corn crop is relatively low in the spring and increases as the crop matures (really taking off around V7-8), why the benefit? The response to starter nitrogen is not as clear cut as first thought. It does depend upon when sidedress N is applied and upon soil moisture after the application of that sidedress N. Remember nitrogen is mobile in the soil as nitrate, but it requires soil moisture to promote its movement. Positive yield responses to starter nitrogen are typically seen in cool, wet springs when sidedress N is delayed and mineralization (N release) of organic matter is slowed. Yield responses are also more likely when sidedress applications are made in dry soils. Justification of application of starter N can be made from the two scenarios described above.

What about sulfur (S) in the starter – is it beneficial?
The amount of sulfur deposited in rainfall has decreased over the last few decades indicating that sulfur responses may become more common place. At present, our field trials evaluating sulfur response continue to show that the probability of sulfur response by corn and soybeans is still quite low with a few exceptions. Soils most likely to benefit from starter sulfur are sandy and low in organic matter (< 2.0%). Environmental conditions early in the growing season may also be more conducive to S response. Cool, wet soils that decrease mineralization of organic matter may be more responsive to S fertilization, but again our data does not suggest that starter S is needed everywhere. Focus on low organic matter, coarse textured soils when considering S fertilization.

Is a micronutrient package justified?
Micronutrient fertilization in a starter band is an efficient way of providing the crop with those necessary nutrients. Consider the following simple rule of thumb: if a micronutrient deficiency has never been identified or confirmed for a field, then a micronutrient package is likely not necessary.

Understand the conditions that you operate in and recognize where a given starter nutrient is likely to give you the best opportunity for economic gain. If you do not meet the conditions expected to result in a response, then those nutrient dollars will not contribute to the bottom line and that is money could have been spent elsewhere in the operation.

Some 2008 Soybean Seed Quality Questionable

Authors: Jim Beuerlein, Anne Dorrance

High quality soybean seed is very critical for getting the crop off to a good start. Much of the seed supply in the eastern Midwest has lower than normal quality due to a stressful growing season and being harvested at low moisture. Physical damage caused by harvest and handling is causing low vigor and more abnormal growth in germination test than normal.

For most areas of the state, the seed will need a fungicide treatment to protect it from disease causing fungi. Studies have shown that when soil conditions favor early season seed rot, the seed treatments provide substantial protection and can increase yields.

Fields where treatment will bring good returns are those with a previous history of stand problems, are poorly drained, are under no-till production or in continuous soybeans. All of these factors favor soil borne diseases and the longer these fields take to drain the more time the pathogens have to infect young seedlings.

Seed treatment is also needed for protection from seed borne diseases such as Phomopsis. Fortunately for soybeans, Phomopsis is the primary fungus that is seed borne and Maxim is highly effective against this fungus.

The seed treating process can damage seed and reduce the germination rate, especially if that seed was harvested under very dry conditions making it more fragile or if the seed coat is thin or torn. If this damaged seed is planted into warm soils that are optimum for rapid germination, it may not need a seed treatment. However, these conditions have not occurred in the past 10 years, so a seed treatment will be necessary, but precautions should be taken to reduce further damage due to treating and handling.

Following treatment and bagging the germination should be rechecked using the cold germination test which will evaluate the vigor of the seed under very adverse conditions (cold, wet soil with pathogens present). For this stress test, a 70 percent or higher germination rate is considered very high quality, and a germination rate below 59 percent are very risky under adverse conditions but may be OK for planting in warm and moist soil.

Soybean growers should ask their seed supplier for the results of the cold germination test and then plant the highest quality seed in the most adverse environments, ie cold soil, early planting, no-till planting, continuous beans or poor drainage. If soil conditions permit, some shallow spring tillage should improve stands in these adverse environments.

Soybean Rust Synopsis for 2007

Authors: Ron Hammond, Anne Dorrance

Ohio’s sentinel plot system is designed to serve as an early warning system for the detection of both Soybean Rust and Soybean Aphid. This information is then adapted to Ohio for pest management recommendations. Plots were planted as early as the season allowed with a soybean variety that is ½ to a full maturity earlier than what is commonly planted in any given region. Data from the southern US during 2005-2007 indicate that once the plants begin to flower they are highly susceptible to soybean rust, during the normal production season.

For soybean rust leaves in the lower canopy were collected every 7 to 10 days during the season and shipped to OARDC in Wooster for analysis. All samples were kept in a moist chamber and then suspect lesions were examined under a dissection scope. Additional scouting was also done when spore traps detected soybean rust or models predicted that rust spores were in Ohio.

For soybean aphids scouts counted the presence of aphids on 20 plants in the plot each week if they were present.

All aphids and rust data was submitted to USDA PIPE site where nationwide observations can be found. Outputs and commentary were then posted as well as

New Soybean Rust Fungicide Guide – Now Online!

Authors: Anne Dorrance

Using Foliar Fungicides to Manage Soybean Rust(2nd Edition)can be found at This publication is authored by Dorrance, A. E., M. A. Draper, and D. E. Hershman, eds. 2007. This 111 page bulletin is available in print as Ohio State University Extension, Bulletin SR-2008.

There are two options here, one to download the whole document, which is 111 pages long or to download/look at each individual chapter. The fungicide recommendations have been modified from the first version capturing the data collected from US fungicide trials. These will continue to change as we are able to study the rust pathogen under US conditions. The most-up-to-date list of fungicides that are available to manage this disease are listed in Appendix B.

New chapters for this version include:
-Sentinel plots in the United States: Modeling the seasonal spread of soybean rust in North America
-Soybean growth and development
-Fungicide resistance management in soybeans
-Safe fungicide storage
-Alternatives for Organic soybean production.
-Influence of soybean rust on crop insurance that includes information on who will document good farming practices.

2007 Northwest Ohio Corn Silage Test

Authors: Peter Thomison, Allen Geyer, Rich Minyo

In recent years, requests for information on corn hybrid silage quality and yields from producers and seed company representatives have been increasing. In 2007, we continued a joint trial with Michigan State University (MSU) adding one Ohio silage location to 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 are located in Branch and Lenawee counties, which are on the Ohio/Michigan state line.

The test results from the three locations are treated as one region. The plots were planted with 4 row air type planters and maintained by each respective state utilizing standard production practices. The center 2 rows were harvested with MSU’s self-propelled forage harvester. Silage tests were harvested uniformly as close to half milk line as possible. Near Infrared Reflectance (NIR) Quality Analysis was performed by MSU using their current procedures. Silage 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, crude protein and starch. Milk production in pounds per ton and pounds per acre are estimated using MILK2000.

A complete summary of the Ohio results is available online at: More information on procedures and additional 2007 MSU silage test data can be viewed on the web at
For more information on Ohio State’s crop variety testing, visit:

2007 Organic Corn Performance Test

Authors: Rich Minyo, Deb Stinner, Peter Thomison, Allen Geyer

Although the acreage of corn planted to transgenic Bt and herbicide tolerant hybrids has accelerated in recent years, interest in organic corn production in Ohio is also increasing. In 2007, we continued evaluations of corn hybrids marketed for organic producers at the Hirzel Sustainable Systems site, a certified organic farm located near Bowling Green in Wood county and on certified organic land at OARDC Badger Farm, near Apple Creek in Wayne county. We added a certified organic site near Troy in 2007. For 2007, five open pollinated varieties were included in the tests. No fertilizers or pesticides were applied to the Bowling Green or Apple Creek sites. Four tons of poultry litter was applied to the Troy site. Weed control was provided by mechanical cultivation. The report includes cultural practices used at the sites, 2007 data for all three sites, 2005-2007 data for the Bowling Green and Apple Creek sites and a summary averaged across all three sites.

Grain yields ranged from 44 to 116 bu/A at Bowling Green, 57 to 153 bu/A at Apple Creek and 46 to 152 bu/A at Troy; stalk lodging ranged from 0-16% at Bowling Green, 2-62% at Apple Creek and 1-20% at Troy; grain moisture at harvest ranged from 17.2-23.9% at Bowling Green, 18.3-27.3% at Apple Creek and 12.6-18.7% at Troy. Ten seed companies and suppliers participated in the 2007 test. The relative maturity ratings of the hybrid entries varied from 88 to 114 days.

The results for the 2007 Organic Corn Performance Test can be viewed at: under the corn tab on the left hand side.

Please contact Allen Geyer (phone: 614-292-1393; e-mail: if you would like additional information regarding the test.

Conservation Tillage & Technology Conference

Plan now to attend the 19th Annual Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference scheduled February 21 & 22, 2008 at Ohio Northern University at Ada, Ohio.

This year's conference will cover a wide range of topics including soil fertility, nitrogen management, planting and seed placement, tillage systems comparisons, manure science, cover crops, root development, and weed, disease, pest management, crop rotations, soil biological properties, drainage, manure management, and Precision Agriculture Technology. Over 70 sessions will be offered over the two day conference with nearly 70 different speakers including University Specialists, Ag Industry Representatives, and producer panels. An added room of seminars was included this your on Manure Science. Featured speakers include Ken Ferrie, Crop Consultant, Farm Journal; Dr. Kurt Thelen, Michigan State, Agronomist; Howard Doster, Purdue, Ag Econ Professor Emeritus; Barry Fisher, USDA, NRCS; Dr. Doug Beegle, Penn State Agronomist; Dr. Brad Joern, Purdue Agronomist; and a couple dozen agronomists and Specialists from The Ohio State University.

Over 40 credits will be made available for CCA’s. Early registration by February 15 is $30.00 a day or $50.00 for both days. For a copy of the conference agenda and registration information contact the Hancock County Extension Office at 419-422-3851 or visit the web site at:

Register NOW for the 2008 Agronomic Crops Workshops

We still have space for attendees for the agronomic crops winter workshops. Contact us by next Monday, January 28th early to register for the Crop Production Workshop or for the Plant Pest Workshop. By Monday morning call Harold Watters at OSU Extension in Champaign County (937 484-1526) or email to register.

Jan 29 - Crop Production Workshop, Sidney
Feb 6 - Plant Pests - Pathology & Entomology Workshop, Wooster

We plan these as intensive programs to help the top producer understand the next level of crop production. We will have hands-on activities at each of the programs with university and industry participation. Class size is limited.

Jan 29 Crop Production Workshop
Shelby County Ag Center, 810 Fair Rd, Sidney OH 45365
9AM to 3PM
9:30 Tillage 101 - Tillage in a changing market - Jamie Bultemeier, John Deere
10:45 - Putting nutrients where you need them - Robert Mullen, OSU Extension soil fertility specialist
1PM - Using Physics and Chemistry down in the corn patch - OSU Extension agronomists Jim Beuerlein & Peter Thomison

Feb 6 - Plant Pests, Pathology & Entomology Workshop
OSU/OARDC in Wooster, in Room 203 Selby Hall
9 AM to 3PM
9:30 - IPM, understanding basics
10 - Soybean and wheat growth stages
10:30 - how to measure pest damage level
11:30 - Soybean aphid & population dynamics
12:30 - Seed treatments and their effectiveness in Ohio
1:00 - Insect resistance management, what’s the biology
1:30 - Frogeye, rust and plant health
2:00 - Wheat fungicides, when , what & how
Speakers - Ron Hammond, Anne Dorrance, Pierce Paul, Andy Michel and Dennis Mills.

Price for each workshop is $50, pay at the door, will include a noon meal at Wooster and Sidney.

Contact Harold Watters or the staff of OSU Extension - Champaign County for registration and more information. Email:, phone 937 484-1526 or by mail 1512 South US 68, Suite B100, Urbana OH 43067.

Direction and a full agenda are available:

Upcoming Agronomy Program Calendar

Below are upcoming programs through the end of February. Not a couple of new offerings in Coshocton and Ross Counties. More information on these programs can be found at Most do have a charge and require preregistration at least one week in advance of the program.

January 29
Crop Production Workshop
Shelby County Extension Office
810 Fair Road
Sidney, OH 45365
Phone Number: 937 484-1526

January 29 & February 5
Precision Agriculture Data Management, Analysis and Decision Making Workshop
Robert Fulton Ag Center
8770 St Route 108
Wauseon, OH 43567
Phone Number: 419 337-9210

January 30
NE Ohio Soybean Workshop
Agriculture and Family Education Center
520 West Main St.
Cortland, Ohio
Phone Number: 330-637-3530

January 31
Weed Management Workshop
Kottman Hall
OSU Columbus Campus
Phone Number: 937 484-1526

February 1
Tri-County Agronomy Day
Vineyard Christian Fellowship Church
624 Rd 55
Bellefontaine, OH 43311
Phone Number: 937 599-4227

February 6
Plant Pathology & Entomology Workshop
Phone Number: 937 484-1526

February 7
Soybean Production Workshop
Walton Agri-Service
North Fertilizer Plant, 9960 County Rd 49
Upper Sandusky
Phone Number: 419-294-4931

February 12
Winter Wheat Meeting
110 Cabela Blvd. East, Dundee, MI 48131
Dundee, MI
Phone Number: 419-337-9210 (OH) 734-240-3170 (MI)

February 14
Northern Ohio Crops Day
Old Zim's Wagon Shed
1375 N State Route 590
Gibsonburg, OH
Phone Number: 419-334-6340

February 19 & 26
Precision Agriculture Data Management, Analysis and Decision Making Workshop
Shelby County Extension Office
810 Fair Road
Sidney, OH 45365
Phone Number: 937-498-7239

February 21 & 22
Conservation Tillage & Technology Conference
Ohio Northern University
Ada, OH
Phone Number:419-422-3851

February 26
Agronomy School – Coshocton & Muskingum Counties
Conesville United Methodist Church
195 State St.
Phone Number: 740-454-0144 or 740-622-2265

February 27
Tri County Agronomy Day
Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church Hall
616 Roswell Rd
Carrollton, OH 44615
Phone Number: 330-627-4310

February 27
Top Soybean Farmer Workshop
Ross County Service Center
Route 50, Western Avenue
Chillicothe, Ohio
Phone Number: 740-702-3200

Archive Issue Contributors: 

State Specialists: Ann Dorrance, Pierce Paul and Dennis Mills (Plant Pathology), Andy Michel (Entomology), and Peter Thomison (Corn Production). Extension Educators: Howard Siegrist (Licking), Harold Watters (Champaign), Todd Mangen (Mercer), Jonah Johnson (Clark), Greg LaBarge (Fulton), Mark Keoning (Sandusky), Marissa Mullet (Coshocton) and Gary Wilson (Hancock).

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.