In like a lamb and out like a (fill in your blank!)
Official spring forecast:
“Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot.
We’ll weather the weather.
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!”
It’s early March and so far, not much change. Plants still growing, unseasonably warm, we’ll take it!
What should be on the agenda here in March?
Make sure your mower is serviced and ready! Blade sharpened; oil/filter changed?
Lawn fertilizer and weed control
Crabgrass and Goosegrass will be rearing their ugly heads before we know it. We must stay ahead of these so get your pre-emergent herbicide down. Apply before they germinate! You can drastically reduce weed numbers with a pre-emergent. Normally this would be put on late April, might want to think about earlier! Several weed and feed products are also available, but these have nitrogen in them which also helps weeds grow. But before you head to the store to get a weed and feed product, we really need to have a soil test to work off of
to see what we really need. Do not use a complete fertilizer like a 10-10-10 or 15-15-15 that has nutrients you don’t need. So you might want to consider a slow release nitrogen product if your soil test is adequate. This is not an easy subject here! Grasses like what we have here, bluegrass and fescues will benefit from late summer application of nitrogen, not spring!
So, what am I am I going to do on our place? I have a recent soil test and our front yard and back pasture are optimum for pH, P and K. I’m going to put on a pre-emergent herbicide and a slow-release nitrogen product for my front yard. The pasture, I think I’m going to put on a pasture type product as we want grass growth for the goats and cattle. I used a 16-8-10 with iron and sulfur last year.
As for mowing, I’m a big proponent of mowing higher than lower in general. I set our mower on the tallest or next to tallest setting and love how it looks. Healthy for the grass too.
Heard anything about a shortage of peat moss? It is getting harder to find, and harvesting of it is not very sustainable. Some areas have been over harvested. It originates in Canada and Russia but mostly Canada. In summary, it’s more expensive, less environmentally friendly, and scarcer then in previous years. Consider products like coconut coir and compost.
Leftover garden seed
Most vegetable seeds will remain viable for several years when stored in a cool, dry location. Storage life of seeds varies widely. Here is a guide: Short-lived Seeds (1–2 years): Corn, Onion, Parsley, Parsnip, Pepper Intermediate Seeds (3–4 years): Bean, Broccoli, Carrot, Celery, Pea, Spinach Long-lived Seeds (4–5 years): Beet, Chard, Cabbage family (Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower), Turnip, Radish, Cucumber, Eggplant, Musk-melon, Lettuce, Pumpkin–Squash group, Tomato, Watermelon Test Germination (To test seeds for germination before planting): 1. Moisten two or three layers of paper towels. 2. Place 10 – 15 seeds on the towels and roll the towels loosely. Place them in a plastic bag. 3. Keep the towels
in a warm place such as on the top of your fridge or on top of a water heater. 4. Some seed, such as radish, germinates in 2 or 3 days. Peppers can take 10 to 14 days. Observe the seed at 2-day intervals to determine the degree of germination.
Don’t work wet soil!
Grab a handful and squeeze. If water comes out, it’s too wet. Even if no water it may still be too wet to work. Push your finger in the soil, does it leave an indentation, does it crumble? Have a small area you want to work and it’s too wet? Tarp the area when rain is coming and untarp when it’s sunny.
Farm sector news and notes
Winter wheat: Although we only have around maybe 3,000 acres in Champaign County, still important for a many growers. With the warm weather, has it already started reproductive growth? Has it fully gone through Vernalization? Time will tell and does vary amongst wheat cultivars, I’m hopeful we’ll be fine.
Fertilizer and chemical supply: Glyphos and Glusfos products are in much better shape than a year ago. What’s different is the fertilizer pricing and supply. Nitrogen was sky high with the Ukraine situation but has come down some. Some retailers are reluctant to fill their sheds and may wait for firm orders from growers. Some got caught with filling their sheds then the price drops and they have no price protection.
Fertility tips to remember: The first 30-60 days are critical to getting the crop off to a good start. Good to take note of the 5 or 6 most crucial nutrients. Proper amounts will help with cold and water stress that we can have in early Spring.
-Phosphate. Supports Root and Shoot growth.
-Zinc. Drives many metabolic reactions within the plant.
-Manganese. Direct connection to photosynthesis.
-Nitrogen. Builds blocks of protein. Helps plant sunlight for photosynthesis.
-Iron. Helps again with metabolic reactions and can be found in many soils.
-Molybdenum. Required for Nitrogen fixation.
Mississippi River situation
It’s actually improving! Army Corps of Engineers has been busy dredging and with above normal precipitation, things have improved. This will help shipping of chemicals and fertilizer that originate down south and head north to us. Grain movement is getting back to normal too.
Last month’s trivia question
Approximately how many gallons of water does it take to produce a bushel of corn? Takes around 2,500 gallons of water to produce one bushel.
If a human produces 1 to 1.2 Horsepower, how many horsepower does a horse produce? Answer about 15 Horsepower!
This month’s question
When water freezes, how much does it expand?
Question or comments? Email me at DaveCaseAg@gmail.com
A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Dave Case majored in Agronomy and Ag Econ with an emphasis in Weed Science. Dave’s career spanned Champaign Landmark, Crow’s Hybrid Corn Company and Bayer CropScience. In 2018, Case formed Case Ag Consulting LLC.
He is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Agricultural Fraternity and Alpha Zeta Agricultural Honorary. He is on the Board of Directors of the Agribusiness Association of Kentucky, Chairman of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association Educational Trust Foundation and Secretary of the Alpha Gamma Rho Alumni Board. He is also a Champaign County Historical Society Agricultural Capital Campaign Committee Member and is a Trustee for the Champaign County Farm Bureau. Dave and his wife Dorothy live on a small farm south of Urbana where they raise goats, chickens and various crops. Dave can be reached at DaveCaseAg@gmail.com.