Spring not far away, but don’t jump the gun
By ADAM SHEPARD
The calendar on the wall says that spring is drawing near but depending on the day the weather outside may give a different impression.
My first season of winter meetings is rapidly concluding which means it is about time to focus and plan for field operations at the county farm. If you have been by the farm lately you will notice that we are conducting some trials on cover crops and tillage methods. The first year at the county farm has proven very informative for me: I’ve learned that even with an early harvest I was not able to complete cover crop seeding at an early enough date to get stand establishment before winter.
That is the great thing about the demonstration farm, we have ideas and we try them out. I’m quickly learning that rarely will things go just as we plan but no matter the end result there is always something we can take away. For the first year in a while we have planted wheat at the farm and it isn’t looking too bad. Similar to the rest of the wheat in the area when the snow cover melted it revealed a dull brown wheat crop that is getting ready for the spring topdress.
Producers may be tempted to get out early before greenup but studies on the subject have seen little to no advantage over wheat that was not topdressed. Producers opting for a single pass approach to spring nitrogen should wait until plants begin to greenup before making the application. If we make our application too soon before the plant comes out of dormancy the plant will not have the ability to absorb the nitrogen and we are subject to loss from leaching and volatilization.
Some producers may opt to implement a more intensive management plan that could call for two or even three applications of spring nitrogen. In this case the small quantities of nitrogen spread over multiple applications will help to reduce the salt burn on the plant tissues and also allow for feeding when the plant will get the biggest benefit.
Herbicide applications may be necessary and producers should be sure to scout before application to make sure the correct product is selected to treat the weeds that are identified in the field. Some herbicide can be applied with the nitrogen application but you should always consult the label of the product you wish to apply for complete instructions.
The Southwest Ohio Corn Growers will have their annual banquet on March 6 also at the Mahan Building at the Fayette County Fairgrounds. The speaker for this year’s annual meeting will be Jim Noel from the National Weather Service in Wilmington. There is no cost to attend this event and a Hamloaf dinner will be served to those in attendance.
Private Pesticide Applicators that have not received recertification can register March 18, 9 a.m. — noon recertification that will take place at the Clinton County Extension Office. For more information and to register please visit www.pested.osu.edu. As we move into March some 4-H dates that are rapidly approaching are the Small Animal Quality Assurance set for March 7 at 7 p.m. at the Mahan Building. Large Animal Quality Assurance at the Sales Arena on Saturday, March 23 from 9 a.m. — noon and the last Quality Assurance in Fayette County will be offered will be April 25 at the Mahan Building. You must register for the Quality Assurance you plan on attending. For more information about any of the above mentioned activities please give us a call at 740–335-1150.
(Adam Shepard is OSU Extension Educator for Fayette County.)