first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The challenging growing conditions in Ohio this year have exaggerated problems that may not be that significant under normal conditions. Problem fields with disease, drainage issues and soil compaction have been particularly disastrous with the persistent 2015 rains.Among the soggier areas of the state early this summer was Mercer County, where some areas got more than 17 inches of rain in the month of June.“Most farmers got everything in and got sidedressing done,” said Gary Fennig, of Fennig Equipment, of the area around Coldwater. “Locally here there is not much prevented planting, but there is a lot of unevenness in corn and a lot of drowned out areas.”Fennig spent much of June dodging rain showers while working to custom apply nutrients, particularly nitrogen in struggling corn fields. While problems show up under tough conditions, it is also easier to see some of the positive things going on in fields as well. Fennig saw a difference in fields with cover crops and no-till and how they handled the excessive water this year.“Cover crop ground that I have been across seems to be handling the wet weather better than the conventional tillage ground. It keeps the soil where it needs to be if you had a cover crop established over the winter,” Fennig said. “The washouts are not as bad. When you get 17 inches of rain regardless of what you have done in the field there will be some problems, but with cover crops, the soil is less apt to run off. The water is getting away quicker where the cover crop was established because those roots have provided a place for the water to get away rather than running off the field. All of this rain is demonstrating that cover crops are at the forefront of better fertility and better crops and helping with the runoff issues.”Jim Hoorman, with Ohio State University Extension, has also been watching fields with long-term no-till and cover crops under the challenging conditions this spring in northwest Ohio.“I have been watching several fields and there is less standing water and overall better crops with long-term no-till and covers. If you do rotational tillage — no-till beans into corn but rip soybeans going to corn — then there is no difference,” Hoorman said. “You have to be in true long-term no-till plus covers to see the benefits. There are not many people really doing this system.”last_img

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