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Winter weather a ‘mild’ concern

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

A critical reminder to crop producers is to communicate with the Clinton County Farm Service agency and get your Farm Bill programs decisions made. You have until March 16 to get the 2019 decision made.

Talking with Dale Hertlein, it does not sound like the USDA in Washington, D.C. is going to extend this deadline. He reminds all producers that many have not communicated with his office and he is concerned time is running out to get everyone signed up.

Keep in mind, if a producer does not sign up for a commodity program in 2019, he or she will forfeit any 2019 payment made under the programs. And the decision between ARC or PLC will revert to the decision he or she made during the 2014 Farm Bill for program year 2020. Starting in 2021 the producer can elect a different option if he or she chooses.

Also, remember your decision for 2019 will be the same for 2020, but you must also enroll for 2020 and this needs done by June 30, 2020.

Please do not wait until the last minute to communicate with Dale and his staff. To set up for an appointment or if you have questions reach out to the Clinton Count FSA office at 937-382-2315. There is also a wealth of information to help you make your Farm Program decisions at

‘Mild’ concern?

The mild weather this winter has been quite enjoyable to me, but is there some concern?

According Ohio State Specialists Anne Dorrance, Kelley Tilmon and Andy Michel, there is concern the winters have not been cold enough to kill off disease pathogens like Frogeye leaf spot and Stewart’s bacterial wilt.

Over the years they have developed databases of winter temperatures followed by scouting to indicate starting pathogen populations for Ohio.

Frogeye leaf spot – Dorrance noted they have documented early infections and overwintering ability of the fungus, Cercospora sojina, that causes frogeye leaf spot. It appears that when there are less than 10 days during the months of December, January and February of less than 17°F, they have had reports of outbreaks of frogeye leaf spot.

This occurred in fields where there was a high level of inoculum at the end of the season and the same or a similar — moderately to highly susceptible cultivar was planted into the same field again which then initiated the epidemic much sooner the following season.

In these situations, losses of greater than 35% in yield were seen or very early fungicide applications were necessary.

Since we are expecting continued warmer winter temperatures, Dorrance suggests for fields with a history of frogeye leaf spot, and no-till production systems, farmers should start with the following to mitigate losses in 2020:

• Rotate fields with high levels of frogeye leaf spot into corn or another crop.

· If it is still targeted for soybean, look at their soybean varieties frogeye leaf spot resistance scores. Your seed dealer will have more information. Plan now for what fields they will go into.

• Scout the susceptible cultivars much earlier than what we have called for in the past and monitor levels.

Another pathogen that may be more prevalent after a warm winter is Stewart’s bacterial wilt. This disease is transmitted to corn by corn flea beetle which survives in greater numbers in warm winters.

This is a greater problem in popcorn and sweet corn as most field corn has high levels of resistance to the bacterium.

Tilmon and Michel note that most other field crop insect pests in Ohio are not highly influenced by winter conditions, as they are well-adapted to withstand cold overwintering conditions.

One exception is Mexican bean beetle, an occasional pest of soybean (especially in central Ohio). Warm winter conditions may cause higher populations of this insect the following field season.

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.
Winter weather a ‘mild’ concern

Tony Nye

OSU Extension