The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 16, 2013

Extension talk

At Mother Nature’s mercy once more

For the Star Beacon

— Hello, Ashtabula County!

With over 5 inches of rain since Memorial Day, I know many farmers are hoping for a dry spell to get their hay crop baled, apply weed control, and to finish up soybean planting.

The beginning of last week was perfect for these activities but Thursday’s deluge halted farming activities pretty quick.

With more rain in the forecast for this week, we will have to hope for drier weather next week.

Today, I would like to request hay producers to sign up for our hay suppliers list, provide an update on frost on wheat, and recap the tick symposium held at Kent State on June 1.

This week our hay crop is at its ideal stage to be harvested.  The timothy seed heads have pushed out and clover is in full bloom.

We need a good stretch of dry weather to get hay made properly.

This is important this year as we are in a hay deficient across the county and some nice weather would help farmers who are short on hay right now.

Our office receives a lot of calls each year from local folks looking to purchase hay for their horses or livestock.

To help answer these calls, we are currently updating our hay suppliers list.

Any farmer who makes hay and is selling it to the general public is encouraged to call our office at 440-576-9008 to complete the survey.

Over the next few weeks, we will be updating this list and posting it to the Ashtabula County Extension website at:


We have had a few reports of wheat fields getting hit by a late May frost.  Dr. Pierce Paul from Ohio State Extension has offered some advice to growers who are concerned their wheat may not produce a crop this year.

Dr. Paul indicates a frost at the end of May is a concern as this is when wheat is typically in its heading and flowering growth stages.

Freezing temperatures at these stages may lead to sterility. Frost damage tends to be most severe when flowering-heads are exposed to temperatures of 30 degrees F or below for at least two hours.

However, Dr. Paul indicates if pollination has already occurred, the crop may be safe since, as the developing grain is less sensitive to cold temperatures.

Producers can tell by opening a few florets at several locations across the field and examining the grain.

The presence of healthy, greenish-white, developing grain is a good sign. Injured kernels are usually shriveled and whitish-gray in color.

Wheat heads with extruded anthers does not necessarily mean that your crop is still at the sensitive flowering growth state.

Anthers may still be seen hanging from the heads during early grain fill. So, double check your growth stage.

Remember, wheat is less sensitive to frost at the early dough stage than at the flowering stage.

A reminder our OSU Extension Agronomy Team puts out a weekly crop update for farmers.

This updated can be found at: It is a great resource!


 The Lyme Symposium held on Saturday, June 1 at Kent State University was an eye opening experience for the over 80 persons in attendance.

This symposium was sponsored by Dr. John Patterson and LYME BITES.  A lot of great information was shared about the explosion of ticks in Northeast Ohio and the danger of contracting Lyme disease from blacklegged deer ticks.

In the spring this tick is in its nymphal stage and is the size of a poppy seed.

This small size makes it harder to identify and to know if you have been bitten by a tick and exposed to the disease.

I am concerned for our farmers who are working in the fields every day where deer and the white-footed meadow mouse roam.  These are the major carriers of the blacklegged tick.

Farmers and outdoorsman are encouraged to wear long pants and tuck them into socks, and tuck shirts into pants, to keep ticks on the outside of clothing where they are more easily visible.

Second, apply repellent containing permethrin to pants, socks and boots and allow them to dry; or use DEET-containing repellents with at least 25 percent active ingredient.

Third, use anti-tick products on pets; ask your veterinarian about Lyme disease vaccines for pets where blacklegged deer ticks are found.

Fourth, ticks have to feed for more than a day before they may transmit disease.

If you are in a tick-infested area, check yourself, children and pets daily.

Remember that risk of exposure is greater in wooded or brushy areas and in the edges between lawns and woods.

More information about ticks and Lyme disease can be found at:  and

More information is also available at:  and


To close, I would like to share an anonymous quote, which states:

“Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer’s year — it brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul.”

Have a good and safe day!