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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

March 26, 2024 - 9:04am --

We have all had those days where we looked up at the clock and couldn’t believe what time it was.  You have been so swamped with work that time gets away from you, or you are anticipating something that makes you wish that time would move faster.  Regardless, there will always be 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day.  Our recent string of Spring-like weather has us feeling the same way about the calendar.  Until this week, it seemed like spring had arrived.  With afternoon highs in the 60’s, robins searching for worms in the yard, and small grains and pastures starting to green up, it is easy to see why one could believe it was mid-April.  The fact is that we are still working our way through the month of March and there is still some waiting to do before we should hit the fields to plant the 2024 crops and make the first hay cutting of the year.

The window is opening to start making your spring nitrogen applications for small grains.  You should be assessing your current grow stage, targeting your applications to be completed before the first stem node is visible (Fleekes Grow Stage 6).   Applying most commercial nitrogen-based fertilizers too early creates the possibility of nitrogen loss as the plant’s highest N requirement isn’t until after jointing.  Urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) or 28% has the greatest potential loss and ammonium sulfate the least.  Remember that no stabilizer will protect the nitrate component of UAN, which is roughly 25% of the total N in UAN at application.  The Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendation Bulletin provides a formula to determine the total N that you should be targeting.  The formula is: N rate = (1.33 X Yield Potential) – 13.  You can credit yourself for any fall N applications, but most experts say to only take a credit of up to 20 units/acre from your fall application.

For those using manure as a nitrogen source

If manure will be your preferred nitrogen source, there are a few things to consider.  Glen Arnold, OSU Extension Manure Nutrient Management Specialist, provided some tips in the last edition of the C.O.R.N. newsletter.  Glen points out that swine finishing manure is the best option for topdressing small grains.  On average, finishing manure will provide between 30 and 40 pounds of N per 1000 gallons applied.  As many of you will be taking advantage of dairy manure, it is unlikely that it will provide enough N to take a crop to grain harvest.  Although N content will vary dependent on water content and diet fed, most dairy manure will provide 10 to 11 lbs of N per 1000 gallons.  How much you should apply will rely on you getting an analysis of the manure you want to apply and then making up the difference with commercial products.

While the change back to winter temperatures shouldn’t have much, if any, effect on the growth of your small grains, it could have an impact on pasture and hay grounds.  A heavy frost on grasses after green-up can lead to stunting.  This potential stunting can have a dramatic effect on first cutting yield and can’t be overcome with fertility applications.  The solution is harvest.  Ideally you will want to wait until you see emergence of a few seed heads, at which point you can make an early hay cutting or clip the pasture/hay ground to initiate new grow.  If you would like to graze in place of tractor work you will want to get your stocking density up to get uniform harvest.  This can often be difficult, and you may still find a need to clip the forage so that you get uniform grow post-harvest.

Recruiting farmer cooperators in coyote research

We are still recruiting farmer cooperators to assist OSU researchers in understanding coyote relationships with livestock production.  The current project has collected over 400 samples from coyote carcasses across the state that provided information on coyote diet and demography.  Now they are shifting to investigating coyote movement and behavior in rural Ohio agricultural lands.  They are asking for producers that will allow coyotes to be trapped on their property and the coyotes will be fitted with tracking collars to collect retime data to understand how coyotes interact with livestock.  For more information about the project, or to participate, you go to

On April 5th and 6th, the East Ohio Women in Ag Conference will be held at the Shisler Conference Center on the CFAES-Wooster Campus.  There is an extensive program with breakout sessions focused on five themes: Business & Marketing, Home & Family, Plants & Pollinators, Animals, and Special Interests.  Friday’s keynote speaker is Bonnie Ayars of Ayars Family Farm and Ice Cream.  She will talk about “Perfecting the Art of Connection”.  April 6th is filled with demos and hands-on sessions that focus on beef cattle management.   The day’s program is highlighted by keynote speaker Dr. Temple Grandin.  The registration deadline is March 25th and you can find more information, or register, at

Although much of our winter programming is winding down as we approach planting season, there are still several upcoming programs that you may be interested in.  We will be hosting a New Fertilizer Applicator Training webinar on March 28th from 9:00 AM to noon at the Secrest Welcome Center on the CFAES – Wooster Campus.  There will a Beef Quality Assurance certification/recertification program on April 11th from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the OSU Extension office conference room.  This program is free of charge, but we ask you to make a reservation for the evening.  Also, I will be hosting a three session Pastures for Profit series at the Extension office.  The program will be from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM on April 18th and April 25th.  We will have a hands-on pasture walk to conclude the program from 9:00 AM to noon on April 27th at the OSU Beef Unit on Apple Creek Rd to wrap up the program.   The cost of the program is $50, which covers the manual, a grazing stick, and program supplies.  To register for any of our programs, or if you would like to collaborate with OSU Extension for an on-farm research project, or if you have agriculture related questions, call the OSU Extension office in Wayne County at 330-264-8722.

John Yost is an Extension Educator IV, Agriculture and Natural Resources, at OSU Extension-Wayne County, he can be reached at or 330-264-8722
This article was previously published in The Daily Record.