It’s never dull in agriculture

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

Out of the fire and into the cooler is the description for the sudden weather change that occurred this week. It seems to fit in with the trends we have seen all year with extremes and sudden changes to our weather.

I am all for the milder fall-like weather versus the heat and humidity we just had earlier this week. By the time you read this week’s column we may have even had our first frost that will finally put a damper on our gardens and flower beds.

There is some buzz by the weather experts to expect a lot of snow in January and February. That doesn’t mean we will be severely cold, just snowy. The prediction of the Farmer’s Almanac for this winter looks like a wet, mild winter.

Moving to a better topic … If you recall last week I spoke of a Lady Landlord program we are hosting here at the Clinton County Extension Community room. I did not have all the details set in stone at that time.

Here are the details: The program is set for Friday, Nov. 2 from 9 a.m.-noon. The cost of the program is only $5 per person.

This interactive workshop is intended to provide women landowners with the confidence, skills, and resources necessary to interact with tenants, and ensure the integrity of their land is preserved for future generations.

Topics for the day will include addressing the risks of leasing, verbal versus written leases, nuts and bolts of a lease, communicating with your tenant, negotiation process and skills, factors that affect the rental rate and more.

This workshop speakers include Peggy Hall, Director of the OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program, Beth Scheckelhoff, Tony Nye and Chris Bruynis, who serve as County Extension Educators.

RSVP with payment to OSU Extension, 111 S. Nelson Ave, Suite 2, Wilmington, OH 45177 office by Oct. 30. Please visit for a registration flyer or contact Tony Nye with questions by calling 937-382-0901 or emailing me at

Finally this week, in regards to harvest, things are moving along pretty well, having had favorable weather to do so.

It is not without issues depending on where you are located in Ohio, in the county, what field you are in and what varieties you have.

I have already discussed some of the issues with bean quality in certain areas and fields. Discolored, moldy seeds along with shriveled seeds are very evident in some fields.

The damage is due to in part to a number of factors that can include stink bug, bean leaf beetle, disease, really hot weather, and excessive moisture. Anne Dorrance has noted in the latest CORN newsletter ( that it will take some time in the lab to truly identify the actual quality culprits but just know in some situations it is quite ugly.

Stalk quality is also an issue in some fields. According to OSU Corn Specialist Peter Thomison, one of the primary causes of this problem is stalk rot. Corn stalk rot, and consequently, lodging, are the results of several different but interrelated factors.

The actual disease, stalk rot, is caused by one or more of several fungi capable of colonizing and disintegrating of the inner tissues of the stalk. The most common members of the stalk rot complex are Gibberella zeae, Colletotrichum graminicola, Stenocarpella maydis and members of the genus Fusarium.

The extent to which these fungi infect and cause stalk rot depends on the health of the plant. In general, severely stressed plants (due to foliar diseases, insects, or weather) are more greatly affected by stalk rot than stress-free plants.

The stalk rot fungi typically survive in corn residue on the soil surface and invade the base of the corn stalk either directly or through wounds made by corn borers, hail, or mechanical injury.

Thomison notes that when diseased stalks are split, the pith is usually discolored and shows signs of disintegration. As the pith disintegrates, it separates from the rind and the stalk becomes a hollow tube-like structure.

Destruction of the internal stalk tissue by fungi predisposes the plant to lodging.

Nothing can be done about stalk rots at this stage; however, growers can minimize yield and quality losses associated with lodging by harvesting fields with stalk rot problems as early as possible.

Scout fields early for visual symptoms of stalk rot and use the “squeeze test” to assess the potential for lodging. Since stalk rots affect stalk integrity, one or more of the inner nodes can easily be compressed when the stalk is squeezed between the thumb and the forefinger.

The “push” test is another way to predict lodging. Push the stalks at the ear level, 6 to 8 inches from the vertical. If the stalk breaks between the ear and the lowest node, stalk rot is usually present.

To minimize stalk rot damage, harvest promptly after physiological maturity. Harvest delays will increase the risk of stalk lodging and grain yield losses and slowdown the harvest operation.

Growers are advised that since the level of stalk rot varies from field to field and hybrids vary in their stalk strength and susceptibility to stalk rot, each field should be scouted separately.

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