Weather continues to impact crops; Watch for poisonous weeds in hay and pasture


Watch for poisonous weeds in hay, pasture

Tony Nye - OSU Extension



It’s hard to believe the Clinton County Fair is upon us. Many of our youth in 4-H and FFA have spent hours, days and weeks preparing their projects for this year’s fair.

Come out and support our youth at the many shows and exhibitions. It looks to be a great fair — lots of things to do — so I hope to see many of you there.

Fair week is also a time of year to get a good assessment of the crop situation in Clinton County. In all honesty, we have the very good, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Wet weather has plagued some to the point that a few producers have just finished planting, some have replanted soybeans a couple of times, and there are a few that will take prevented planting because it is just too late to plant some fields anymore this year.

The area that got hit with the severe storm on June 18 continues to recover with some acres of soybeans replanted , a little wheat was hurt but the corn is recovering as best as can be expected.

The rest of the county falls into that good to very good category.

Continued good weather is needed by all of us to have a bountiful harvest this fall. Jim Noel with the National Weather Service this past week reported July will likely go down as a bit wetter than normal with temperatures slightly warmer than normal mostly due to overnight lows being higher. It does not appear we will see maximum temperatures above 95 much in July, which is good news.

Rainfall is normally 3-4 inches in July across the state and it looks like most places will be in the 2-5 inch range. Isolated higher totals are also possible. So even the locations with below normal rainfall should not be too dry.

Our story for some parts of the county will continue with slightly wetter field conditions and more humidity. Overall, the remainder of the growing season trend looks to continue with slightly wetter and warmer than normal conditions.

Finally, I wanted to give a warning to folks with pasture and hay crops. Both milkweed and hemp dogbane have become more apparent in the area over the past week. These two plants are related but have some distinct differences that can help landowners identify them and implement control measures when needed.

Similarities between the two include having creeping roots; leaves that appear on opposite sides of the stem; and they produce a milky sap.

Differences include that young milkweed leaves have fine hairs and hemp dogbane are nearly hairless; milkweed stems are generally thick and green, but hemp dogbane stems are usually red to purple and thinner in comparison; hemp dogbane frequently branches in the top canopy, while milkweed will typically not branch unless mowed; and seed pod shape is distinctly different after flowering with milkweed producing an upright tear drop shaped pod and hemp dogbane producing a long bean-like pod that hangs from the plant.

Both milkweed and hemp dogbane are considered poisonous to livestock. Toxicities can occur from fresh or dried leaves, stems, and roots.

While death from poisoning is rare, reduced production efficiency is common if consumed. Symptoms range from mild to severe and include vomiting, diarrhea, coordination loss, tremors, heart problems, respiratory distress, and death.

Hemp dogbane is a plant that causes cyanide poisoning. These plants contain cyanogenic glycosides that are converted to hydrogen cyanide or prussic acid when the plant cells are damaged.

Chronic poisoning over time causes loss of nerve function while acute poisoning causes death.

Milkweed is a plant that can affect the cardiovascular health of livestock. These plants contain Cardiac glycosides and they are the most common toxin affecting cardiovascular health.

Generally, all parts of the plant are highly toxic and lethal if eaten in small quantities.

According to the 2021 Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois Weed Control Guide, both milkweed and hemp dogbane are significant agronomic weeds in no-till systems. Various postemergence herbicides can be effective on milkweed and hemp dogbane if the plants are less than eight inches tall.

For the best control of the creeping root system, applications of translocated herbicides should be applied when the plants are in the bud to flower stage. Attaining complete control after one herbicide application is unlikely. The most appropriate time to treat and product to use depends on the situation.

Commonly used herbicides for suppression or control include glyphosate, 2,4-D, dicamba, and triclopyr products.

Always follow the directions printed on the herbicide label for application rates, methods, and concerns.

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.

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Watch for poisonous weeds in hay, pasture

Tony Nye

OSU Extension