June 20, 2008

Several Tours, Workshops Offered on Ways to Sustain Agriculture


Interest continues to grow in ways of making agriculture more sustainable. Emphasis is placed on practices like cover crops, grassfed livestock, organic dairy, community supported agriculture, pasture- raised poultry and beneficial insect production to name a few.

Several farm tours and workshops are offered June-October through efforts of Innovative Farmers of Ohio, USA-NRCS, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council, and the OSU Extension Sustainable Agriculture Team.

Copies of the tour and workshops flyer can be found at any extension office or by logging onto www.sustainableag.osu. edu. Most of the tours are free, but the workshops do have a fee.

I hope many of you can join us on June 27, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., at our office on the Greene County Fairgrounds for the Greene County Farm Forum Picnic and Jamboree. The Roundabout band will provide entertainment. Food will be provided by the Greene County Beef Cattle Association and Greene County Pork Producers Association. Cost is $15 per person, with checks payable to Greene County Farm Forum. Tickets are available through any Farm Forum member or the Extension Office. Reservations should be made by Friday, June 20. Bring your lawn chair, as the band will be playing outside, weather permitting.

Can you hear me now?

The loss of hearing is something that usually occurs over time. Some of the loss can be attributed to age, while a part may be the result of one's lifestyle.

One area we have control over is the operation of machines and machinery. The sounds made by machinery are measured in decibels and reflects the pressure put on our eardrums by the size of amplitude of the sound waves.

Some common sources of sound measured in decibels include: threshold of pain at 140, a jackhammer or chain saw at 120, tractors with soundproof cabs at 85, a vacuum cleaner from 10 feet away at 70, and a lawn mower at 92.

The National Safety Council recommends a level of 85 dB(A) for eight hours of exposure as a safe limit.

Another important point to remember is hearing damage is not cumulative. In other words, operating a lawn mower two hours per week for three weeks does not equal the damage of mowing for six hours.

There are several options for protecting your ears, including formable plugs, pre-molded plugs and earmuffs. Check your tool or implement owner's manual to determine if the sound level is dangerous. Once you know the dB(A) level, you can purchase a device to protect your hearing, if needed.

For more details on this topic, log onto www.ohioline.osu.edu. Click on the word "Search" and type in "Noise on the Farm."

Locally grown foods

There are many advantages of eating locally grown foods -- quality is often better, they are fresh, and you know how the products are raised.

We are fortunate to have several farmer's markets in Greene County. A complete list of those registered with the Ohio Department of Agriculture can be found at www.ohioagriculture.gov. Click on promotional programs and go to "Ohio Proud" to find markets in Greene County.

Things to do

If grub worms have been a problem in the past, now is the time to apply some of the preventive materials like Grub-Ex or Bayer Advanced Grub Control, for example.

If using the granular product, remember to water them into the lawn to be effective. You normally need about 3 / 8 -inch of water to properly move the ingredients into the soil.

A little history -- grub worms are the immature forms of Japanese Beetles, Rose Chafer Beetles, June Bugs and other similar insects that spend most of their life in the soil feeding on grass roots resulting in damage to the turf. You often can pull up turf like a piece of carpet where grub worms have been feeding by cutting grass roots.

These grub worms mature into the beetle form in June and July, mate and lay their eggs for the next generation. The grub control kills the developing eggs and prevents the next generation from being a problem.

For more information on grub worms, log on to www.ohioline.osu.edu, click on the word "Search" found on the left side of the screen, and type in white grubs. You also can contact our office for a copy.

Caution: Do not be misled into thinking you have grub worms because you have moles. Most of a mole's diet is earthworms. The only real way to check is to dig up a square foot of grass in a few areas and see if there are grubs present. They will usually be in the top 2-3" of soil.


Reports continue to come in from southwest Greene County regarding cicada's emergence. These unusual insects can damage newly planted trees and some protection is gained from covering them with cheese cloth or other fine netting. For more information on cicadas, log on to ohioline.usu.edu or contact are office for a hard copy.

Tree fungus

It seems the cool, wet May has taken its toll on the Sycamore, London Plane, and some Maple trees.

The culprit is anthracnose, which is a fungus disease that kills some new leaves and leaves irregular dead areas in other leaves. Many times more damage occurs in the lower portion of the tree.

This disease is present every year, but this year is worse due to the weather. Treatment is usually not recommended. So, if it seems like fall at your house with leaf drop, do not panic; things will get better.

For more information on this disease, log onto www.ohioline.osu.edu, click on the word "Search" found in the left column and type in "anthracnose in trees." It will pull up Home Yard and Garden Fact Sheet 3078-96, titled Anthracnose Leaf Blight of Shade Trees. You also can pick up a copy or have one mailed to you by calling our office.

Contact this columnist at (937) 372-9971 or (937) 427-2883, ext. 5052 or e-mail [email protected] The OhioLine Web site can be located at ohioline.osu.edu.

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