Farm Science Review: Something for everyone

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

Last week I started highlighting the Farm Science Review, you know that huge farm event that is held up toward London, Ohio at the Ohio State Molly Caren Farm. There is literally something for everyone at this event, not just farmers.

This week I want to highlight the Gwynne Conservation area of the review. There are always lots of sessions each year at the Gwynne that focus on natural resources and more. One of the focus topics will deal with chainsaw safety. The series of talks called “Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance” will be given three times throughout the Review: Sept. 20 and 21 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.; and on Sept. 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

There will also be talks on woods and wildlife and so much more. Many of the topics presented in the Gwynne Conservation area will focus on conservation topics of interest to farmers and others, including trees, pastures, grasslands, wetlands, wildlife, insects, water and fish. Here is just a few detailed programs during the farm Science Review:

• Dave Apsley of OSU Extension, the college’s outreach arm, and Bob Mulligan of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will present “Things You Should Consider Before Selling Your Timber” from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 20 and at the same time Sept. 21.

• Joe Boggs of OSU Extension will give a “Zika Virus Update for Ohio” from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 20.

• Marne Titchenell of OSU Extension will discuss “Attracting Songbirds to Your Property” from 2:30 to 3 p.m. Sept. 20.

• Bill Lynch, who’s retired from OSU Extension, will look at “Fish Stocking in Ponds” from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and “Stormwater Ponds” from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., both on Sept. 21.

• Brian Kleinke and Matt Smith, both of OSU Extension, will talk about hydroponics and aquaponics in back-to-back sessions from 2 to 3 p.m. Sept. 21.

• Chris Penrose of OSU Extension will explain “Managing Nutrients on Pasture” from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 22.

• Kathy Smith from Ohio State will lead a “Tree ID Walk” from 11 a.m. to noon Sept. 22.

Other topics will include composting, pollinators, pond aeration, invasive species, wildlife “night sounds,” deer exclusion fencing and grazing warm-season grasses. A complete schedule of all the Gwynne talks is at

Anne Dorance, OSU Plant Pathologist warns producers of soybeans what diseases to be on the lookout for:

Sudden death syndrome: Sudden death syndrome (SDS) is a fungal disease of soybean and is limited to a few locations in Ohio. These fields where SDS occurs in Ohio, also have high SCN populations. After the rains last week, it may be possible to observe the signs of the pathogen on the tap roots, with the formation of pale blue to blue green conidia.

This fungus produces a toxin which is why the leaves have the irregular shaped yellow spots forming between the veins which turn necrotic and eventually cause early defoliation of the plants. The internal tissue of the stem, the pith is white – compared to brown stem rot which is brown. Severity of infection, timing of disease onset, SCN population numbers all contribute to the amount of yield loss that will occur.

White mold or Sclerotinia stem rot: First plants dying from Sclerotinia stem rot were reported last week. Even with the dry weather during flowering, infection did occur. As you recall we had many cool nights in early July and heavy dews, so my hunch is that contributed to the favorable environments. Sclerotinia is another fungal pathogen that infects the old and dying flowers.

This fungus secretes an acid which degrades the tissue, sometimes appears water soaked on the stems and then the fungus just takes off, becomes very white and fluffy on the stems. It will then form hard black – irregular shaped sclerotia which serve as the survival structures and can be easily moved around the farm on equipment.

Diaporthe Stem canker: This is one that we have not observed in Ohio very often. Again this is a truck stopper as you drive by fields and see that the tops are dying back too early. This fungus also infects plants at the third or fourth node and basically girdles the plants.

Infections occurred when the plants were in the early vegetative stages and has been “hanging out” waiting for the plant to move into the final growth stages. The key difference between this and Phytophthora is that the plant will be green, no internal infection in the lower 3 nodes = whereas with Phytophthora stem rot on highly susceptible varieties, the plant is colonized from the base of the plant up the stem.

Phytophthora stem rot: I can’t leave this one out as there are some soybean varieties that do not have the full resistance package we need for Ohio fields. After the rains over last weekend and off and on last week, stem rot is showing up in the fields that were saturated. Plants will turn yellow and wilt, leaves will cling to the plants as it is dying. Again, on susceptible varieties, the chocolate brown canker will be moving up the stem.

Variety selection is key to managing all of these late season diseases. Begin to scout your fields, if you find one of these – make note of that variety and make sure to make a change. Do not plant the same variety in the same field as you now know that you have inoculum in that field.

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 28 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.

Tony Nye

OSU Extension

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