Think, practice safety this harvest

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

This past week I heard of a Miami County farmer who was killed in a roadway crash involving another vehicle and a tractor. It is a reminder that we must all practice safety both on the farm and on the roadways this harvest season.

During the busy time of harvest like we are experiencing right now, it is important to practice roadway safety. During harvest we need to be on the lookout for farming equipment entering and exiting the roadways at unmarked entrances into fields and farms.

Don’t forget to also be aware that equipment traveling our roadways move at a much slower speed so be prepared to slow down and above all else – Pass with Caution!

During harvest another area to be safety minded is near and around the grain bins. Always practice safety, around the many moving parts related to grain handling such as augers, PTO shafts, stir augers etc. Don’t forget to be careful climbing in and out of the bins as well.

My final reminders are to get plenty of rest, eat right and healthy, and don’t be in a rush.

Now on to harvest.

While out and about in the fields, especially corn be on the lookout for a disease we have started finding the last couple of years.

According to Pierce Paul, integrated disease management specialist at Ohio State University, Tar Spot, a new disease of corn caused by the fungus Phyllachora maydis, was reported for the first time in Ohio at the end of the 2018 growing season. At that time, it was found mostly in counties close to the Indiana border, as the disease continued to spread from the middle of the country where it was first confirmed in 2015.

Recently, there have been several new, confirmed reports of tar spot in Ohio, found in fields not only in the northwestern corner of the state, but also from a few fields in central and south-central Ohio. The disease onset was late again this year, with the first reports coming in well after R4.

However, some of the regions affected last year had more fields affected again this year, with much higher levels of disease severity. It could be that tar spot is becoming established in some areas of the state due to the fungus overwintering in crop residue from one growing season to another.

This is very consistent with the pattern observed in parts of Indiana and Illinois where the disease was first reported. We will continue to keep our eyes out for tar spot, as we learn more about it and develop management strategies.

You can help by looking for tar spot as you walk fields this fall, and please send us samples.

Paul notes that even though corn is drying down, if tar spot is present, you can still detect it on dry, senescent leaves almost as easily as you can on healthy leaves.

So, please check your fields to see if this disease is present. “Symptoms of tar spot first appear as oval to irregular bleached to brown lesions on leaves in which raised, black spore-producing structures call stroma are formed… giving the symptomatic areas of the leaf a rough or bumpy feel to the touch… resembling pustules on leaves with rust. Lesions … may coalesce to cause large areas of blighted leaf tissue.

Symptoms may also be present on leaf sheaths and husks.” As the name of the disease suggests, symptoms look like the splatter of “tar” on the leaves. In some cases, each black tar-like spot may be surrounded by a necrotic halo, forming what is referred to as “fish-eye” lesions.

Tar spot has the potential to become a major threat to corn yields in Ohio, but at this point we are only finding the presence of the fungus. More information can be found at our OSU Agronomic C.O.R.N. newsletter, There are great pictures for better detection and description at this website.

If you may have found some in a field, please let me know so we can get samples sent in for possible confirmation.

Finally this week I wanted area beef producers to be aware of the upcoming Beef Quality Assurance certification program to be held at the OSU Extension Greene County office on Oct. 28 at 5 p.m. on the Greene County fairgrounds. Beef and dairy farmers should strongly consider becoming certified if they have not done so already.

This opportunity is for any beef or dairy cattle producer in surrounding area at $10 per person to cover educational materials.

Please note, there are two Beef Quality Assurance programs in one evening:

• Beef Quality Assurance Certification, 5 p.m. – If you have not already gotten your BQA Certification, this is one of your last chances for 2019. In today’s market, it is important to take advantage of any and all opportunities that make our cattle more desirable to the buyer sitting in the stands. As of now, Wendy’s restaurant, Tyson Foods and multiple auctions have announced that they will require producers to be certified in BQA in order to market their cattle or serve their product.

• Transportation BQA, 6:30 p.m. – If you haul cattle, this may be for you. By the start of 2020, the major beef cattle processors have requested that any livestock hauler delivering cattle to their facilities be certified in Beef Quality Assurance –Transport (BQAT). The training will last approximately two hours.

To get registered for this program contact OSU Extension Greene County, Trevor Corboy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator at 937-372-9971 ext. 114 or [email protected]

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