OWENSVILLE, OHIO – As I traveled across the country last week for the National Association of County Agriculture Agents Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference, the scenery was the same as ours in some locations but different in others. The area from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Southeast Iowa showed fields of crops holding a lot of moisture. Ponds and lakes where there shouldn’t be ponds and lakes. The Northeast Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota area seemed to be about right on moisture, to actually needing a little drink in some locations. We were shocked to see gravel roads with dust flying.
You could assess the crops by looking at their stage of growth in the field. Or in some cases, not even a planted field to just got planted. We are talking mid-July in Iowa. The crops that were planted earlier in the season when it was much drier seem to be doing the best, as they were able to get a good root system built up and are beginning to produce flowers, tassels and bearing their fruit. The later planted crops seem to be far behind in the process, even if it was a quicker maturing variety planted.
General assessment, it’s not a pretty picture from Ohio to South Dakota. The current storms that have wreaked havoc on our Tri-state area have not only hurt grain and horticulture producers, but also our livestock and forage production. There have been reports of livestock injured, lost, or even death from lightening and flash floods. The forage produced for hay to feed livestock throughout the winter is difficult to get cut, raked and baled in between rain drops. Then when the opportunity is available, the forage crop may have missed its prime harvest and has gone into reproductive phase, meaning lack of nutrients in the leaves for the livestock to consume. It might be better than eating snowballs but there are no nutrients there either.
Usually we receive, 40-50 inches of precipitation in the year. We have had about 7” in two days in a very quick amount of time, which has caused roads to give way, creeks to roll, fences to disappear, pasture to be rutted up with hoof traffic, and field crops (horticulture and grain) to be disease, weed and insect ridden. With the temperature, moisture, humidity and more, this has been the “perfect storm” for disease, weeds and insects to set hold in our crops. This scenario makes it extremely difficult to control since you have to have a window of dry time for the pesticide to work. Or better yet, the ability to get into the field to do anything. This was not the year to raise heirloom crops, as they have a little to no disease resistance and pesticides are difficult to manage this year.
Fruits and vegetable prices have been rising and OSU Extension Horticulture Specialist, Brad Bergefurd, states he sees no lowering of prices in the near future and pest control to be especially difficult this year. There is no way to estimate the dollar amount that this will cost the producer (livestock, horticulture or grain). Everyone is doing their best to maintain what they have, keep livestock safe and to harvest what is available.
Not only will consumers potentially pay more for produce and meat, but the producers themselves will have to foot extra expenses for feed, fertilizer, seed and more. As my colleagues and I traveled, seed farmers were walking fields to detassel instead of using their detassiling machine. The one positive at this moment is that fuel prices have reduced, let’s hope they continue to reduce and that can be a positive for all.
If you are producers of livestock, agronomic, horticulture, forage, etc. and have had damage from this year’s weather. Please send me an email or call the office number by Thursday, July 23rd, so that we may document this information for an agriculture emergency weather report for Clermont County agriculturists.
Join us next week for the 166th Clermont County Fair hosted in Owensville, OH during July 26-August 1, 2015. OSU Extension’s daily schedule can be found in the fairbook on page 15, “Extending Knowledge and Changing Lives for Over a Century”. Join us and the Clermont Ag Society to “Discover the Traditions of the Clermont County Fair”.
Clermont Extension is a non-formal education branch of OSU. The office merges needs of local citizens with OSU’s research through four focus areas: Family & Consumer Sciences, 4-H Youth Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources and Community Development. CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: go.osu.edu/cfaesdiversity.
For more information, contact Clermont Extension’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator Gigi Neal at 513-732-7070, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit clermont.osu.edu.