Well the furry weather forecaster, Punxsutawney Phil, woke up on Feb. 2 and saw his shadow. According to folklore, this means we can expect six more weeks of winter. This is no surprise for many of us here in Ashtabula County. We actually expect winter to be like winter. 

One of the great aspects of winter for me is that OSU Extension gets to offer a ton of educational programs for our farmers. I like to refer to it as our planting season as we get to help farmers learn concepts which will help grow their businesses and increase profitability. Today, I would like to share details on one such program — the Northeast Ohio Winter Agronomy School.


The OSU Extension offices in Northeast Ohio are pleased to be offering the “2017 Northeast Ohio Agronomy School” from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 15 at the Williamsfield Community Center, 5920 State Route 322 in Williamsfield. With profit margins decreasing it will be vital for crop producers to get the biggest bang from the dollars they invest in land rental, seed and fertilizer, technology, chemicals, and crop protection in 2017.

We will have a full day of topics with seven different speakers discussing the major issues affecting corn and soybean production in northeast Ohio. I will kick off the day helping farmers learn how to comply with the revised Worker Protection Standards which went into effect on Jan. 1. Learn about the new training requirements, medical fit tests, and the new record keeping requirements.

Les Ober, CCA and program assistant for OSU Extension Geauga County, will then share strategies for managing herbicide resistant weeds. Marestail has become a huge problem in Ashtabula County and Les will share control options. His discussion will include more information about a new weed, Palmer amaranth and information on the Roundup, Liberty and ExtendiMax herbicide programs.

Following Les’s presentation, I am thrilled that Russ Coltman, founder of Coltman Information Management in Conneaut, has agreed to teach producers how to develop a Success Score Card for their farm. Learn how to rate your financial, leadership, marketing, production, technology and wellness skills and learn how each can drive or stall your business. With profits at historic-low levels, it will be important for farmers to analyze all aspects of their business.

As always, a hearty farmer lunch prepared by Lahti Catering means you will not go away hungry! This lunch is sponsored by W.I. Miller and Sons of Farmdale, and each of our program sponsors will provide a short industry update during lunch.

After lunch, Anne Dorrance, OSU professor in soybean pathology, will provide an update on OSU Extension’s research on white mold. Anne is one of the nation’s best soybean disease experts and she conducts a lot of her research in Trumbull County so it is very applicable. Anne will also discuss using seed treatments and if there is an economic payback to using them.

Pierce Paul, OSU associate professor in cereal grain pathology, will then provide an update on small grain diseases and share information on some of the corn ear diseases which are being seen across Ohio. There were some weird corn issues last summer and it will be neat to hear Pierce’s update on these.

Andy Michel, OSU associate professor and field crop entomologist, will share tips for dealing with insects in field crops. He will share more information about the Western Bean Cutworm and update us on some of the Cry1F failures experienced in Ohio in 2016. We are part of a team in Ohio monitoring the Western Bean Cutworm and all predictions are that their levels will continue to escalate. And if the genetics are failing to protect the corn, we could see more damage losses in our corn fields from the WBC.

And last but not least Glen Arnold, OSU associate professor and field specialist manure nutrient management systems, will be on hand to share the results from manure application studies and how producers can reduce nitrogen costs by side dressing with manure from a neighboring dairy farm. Yes a “crappy” topic to end with, but one which may save crop farmers money in 2017!

The registration fee for this workshop is $10 per person and includes refreshments, lunch, speaker travel expenses and program handouts. The 2017 Weed Control Guides will be on sale for $16 at the workshop. Pre-registration is required by March 8. Make checks payable to OSU Extension, and mail to Ashtabula County Extension office, 39 Wall St., Jefferson.

This workshop is sponsored by the OSU Extension offices in Ashtabula, Trumbull and Geauga counties with support from W.I. Miller and Sons and the Ohio Soybean Council. Certified Crop Advisor and Private and Commercial Pesticide Credits have been applied for. A registration flyer can be found at: http://go.osu.edu/ne-events.   More information can be received by calling the Ashtabula County Extension office at 440-576-9008.

To close today’s column, I would like to share a quote from Sharon Salzberg who stated, “We like things to manifest right away, and they may not. Many times, we’re just planting a seed and we don’t know exactly how it is going to come to fruition. It’s hard for us to realize that what we see in front of us might not be the end of the story.” Have a good and safe day!


DAVID MARRISON: is associate professor and extension educator, agriculture and natural resources, Ohio State University Extension. Marrison can be reached at 440-576-9008 or marrison.2@osu.edu.

This Week's Circulars