Farmers should be scouting fields

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

I want to start with my “silver lining” this week by wishing all the fathers out there a wonderful Happy Father’s Day this weekend. In the midst of all the chaos, I hope all families can find a way to celebrate fathers this weekend as summer also officially begins.

I think we can finally say the planting season is finally complete … well, maybe. There could be a few acres yet to be replanted due to poor establishment, and we will have some double crop soybeans planted as soon as barley and wheat is harvested in the next couple of weeks.

Just because the planting season is over, farmers can not necessarily relax. Currently farmers should be taking time to evaluate stands, scout for emerging weed issues, watching for insect issues, spraying for weeds and applying side dress applications of nitrogen to growing corn.

It is important to spend time scouting fields currently for a couple of ongoing problems.

The first is the fact there have been many reports of army worm infestations in wheat, barley, and corn across Ohio. These are black or green caterpillars with stripes along the side and orange heads.

In the spring, true armyworm moths migrate from the south and lay eggs in grasses such as forage and weed grasses, winter wheat and barley, and rye cover crops. When the eggs hatch, the larvae can significantly damage wheat and barley before then moving to young corn.

According to Ohio State University entomologists, usually, moth flights occur in April, but we may have had a second peak the first or second week of May — it’s likely the caterpillars feeding now are from this later flight.

Right now, wheat, barley, and corn should be inspected for true armyworm populations. Armyworms like to hide during the day and feed at night, so scouting should occur at dusk or dawn, and/or on cloudy days.

Some reports I have heard from other Extension colleagues is populations have been extremely high and isolated damage in certain fields have been extensive.

Another problem to be on the lookout is for invasive weed species such as waterhemp and Palmer amaranth. We have had both of these found in Clinton County over the past few years and these are problem weeds we do not want to get established on any farm.

According to Ohio State University weed specialist, Mark Loux, Palmer is not really spreading around the state. Waterhemp is much more widespread in Ohio and is spreading rapidly within the state from existing infestations to new areas via equipment, water, animals, etc.

They are both part of the “pigweed” group of weeds. Loux suggests “Pigweed” can refer to waterhemp, Palmer amaranth, spiny amaranth, Powell amaranth, and redroot/smooth pigweed. It’s almost impossible to tell these apart when they are very small, but this gets easier by the time they are 4 inches tall.

Waterhemp and Smooth/redroot pigweed are still the most common. Waterhemp is smooth all over with a somewhat elongated leaf with smooth edges, and leaves sometimes can be a darker and glossier green than pigweed. Smooth/redroot pigweed will have a hairy/rough stem (more defined as it gets larger), with relatively nonglossy leaves that are widest in the middle with “rougher” edges.

Various resources are available to help with identification so let me know and I can come help with proper identification.

For producers

I also wanted to remind producers of several items from Dale Hertlein, FSA Director in Clinton County. FSA encourages agricultural producers to enroll now in the Agriculture Risk Loss (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. The deadline to enroll for the 2020 crop year is June 30, 2020.

Farm owners have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields that take effect beginning with crop year 2020. Many of you have initiated this process and have forms out for signature. These forms need to be returned by September 30, 2020. For more information on ARC and PLC, or to enroll, contact the FSA office.

Hertlein also reminds producers to update records if you have not. Any unreported changes of address, zip code, phone number, email address or an incorrect name or business name on file they need to be reported to our office.

Changes in your farm operation, like the addition of a farm by lease or purchase, need to be reported to our office as well.

Please remember, if you are leasing a new farm, we need a written statement from the owner, as recorded in the auditor’s office, before we can add you to a farm as the operator. If you have any updates or corrections, please give us a call so we can make those changes.

Don’t forget to report your annual crop acreage. July 15, 2020 is the date to remember to report all your Corn, Grain Sorghum, Hybrid Corn Seed, Spring Oats, Popcorn, Soybeans acres including any perennial forage crops.

Be sure to contact Dale and his staff with any questions regarding these and other items by calling the Clinton County FSA office at (937) 382-2315.


Finally, the dicamba roller coaster ride continues, with a statement issued by the Ohio Department of Agriculture clarifying that the use of XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan dicamba-based products in Ohio will end as of June 30, 2020.

Even though the US EPA has issued an order allowing continued use of the products until July 31, 2020, use in Ohio must end on June 30 because the Ohio registrations for the three dicamba-based products expire on that day.

More information on this issue can be found at the following OSU websites: and .

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for over 30 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.

Tony Nye

OSU Extension