Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Beware of planting into cool soils - temps in Noble County hover at 51 degrees

Plant in as close to optimum conditions as possible. Don’t try to beat a major storm front. In Ohio that is a classic set up for replant conditions. Keep monitoring those soil temperatures to ensure the best jump start for this seed. If in doubt, go back and look at the receipt for that seed. This is a huge investment for the overall farming inputs.  You only want to plant once.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

ODNR Releases Fourth Quarter Production Data for Horizontal Shale Wells

Production results from Ohio’s horizontal shale wells for the fourth quarter of 2013 were released today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).  The report lists 397 wells, 352 of which reported production results. Forty-five wells reported no production as they are waiting on pipeline infrastructure. The 352 wells produced 1,439,308 barrels of oil and 43,124,803 Mcf (1,000 cubic feet) of natural gas.  Of those 352 wells:  The average amount of oil produced was 4,089 barrels;  the average amount of gas produced was 122,514 Mcf; and, the average number of days in production was 62.

The highest producing oil well was the Gulfport Energy “Boy Scout” well in Harrison County at 26,095 barrels of oil during 80 days of production. The highest producing gas well was the Antero Resources’ “Gary” well in Monroe County at 1,329,318 Mcf during 67 days of production.  Compared to revised 2013 third quarter data, oil production increased by 103,982 barrels or 8 percent. Natural gas production increased by 9,491,914 Mcf or 28 percent.

Passed in Sub. House Bill 59, and effective Sept. 29, 2013, operators of horizontal shale wells in Ohio are required to submit production data quarterly. Companies must submit the data to ODNR 45 days after the end of the quarter.  Prior to Sub. House Bill 59, horizontal shale operators were required to submit production data annually on March 31. Data for the first and second quarters of 2013 was required to be submitted to ODNR under this law. The data will be released once it is compiled and verified. The increased reporting provides ODNR, the industry and the public with more accurate and timely information regarding Ohio’s oil and gas industry.  All horizontal production reports can be accessed at:  oilandgas.ohiodnr.gov/production  Ohio law does not require the separate reporting of Natural Gas Liquids (NGL). Gas reporting totals listed on the report include NGLs.

Friday, April 25, 2014

"Farm Management Seminar" Just Around the Corner!!

Believe it or not, but summertime is just around the corner. Are you prepared? Do you know what crops you plan to plant, what grazing patterns are you going to choose, what pollution precautions you need to take, or what upgrades to your farm you would like to pursue? We would like to help you understand, decide and succeed on those questions and more for you farms.

 On May 8th 2014 at 6 o’clock at the location of 9711 East Pike Rd. Cambridge, OH, Guernsey SWCD teams up with NRCS, ODNR and OSU Extension to present to you a Farm Management Seminar. The Seminar will consist of 4 speakers (Jason Tyrell (GSWCD), Clif Little (OSU Extension), Bob Mulligan (ODNR) and Troyce Barnett (NRCS)), talking on the subjects of Crop Management, Pollution Abatement, Multiple Species Grazing and Planning for Success.

This Farm Management Seminar will be targeted towards Summertime Management of Crops, Grazing Multiple Species, Pollution Concerns and Proper Planning. This is part one of two seminars, the second of which will be held in August, covering the wintertime management.

 Pre-Registration for this event must be made by 6th. For any questions or concerns, please contact Jason Tyrell at (740) 432-5624. All are welcome to attend. Hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

“Soil – It’s Alive!” A Don’t Miss Opportunity

by Van Slack, technician, Muskingum SWCD
Life is full of opportunities, but some of those are once in a lifetime.  On April 28 and 29 Dr Hans Kok will be in Zanesville, Ohio to share his knowledge and experiences with soil.  His presentation will be one of those “don’t miss” opportunities.  The information shared will be useful to anyone who grows a crop or has livestock.  “Soil – It’s Alive”, will be packed full of practical soil management advice.  You will learn the ways that soil health impacts nutrients and crops.

Dr. Kok has over 25 years experience with soils and conservation tillage.  He grew up in the Netherlands and received his Bachelors and Masters in Science from the Agricultural University located there.  He then went on to earn his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Idaho.  Dr. Kok worked on a joint appointment between Washington State University and the University of Idaho covering conservation tillage and bioenergy.  He also worked as a conservation tillage specialist for Monsanto for seven years and for Kansas State Extension as the State Specialist for Soil and Water Conservation.  Currently Dr. Kok is the coordinator of the Indiana Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative.

Dr. Hans Kok is a very dynamic speaker who is both entertaining and educational.  He has the ability to bring the subject of soil health alive.  Soil health and topics like cover crops are not just buzz words or a fad; they are here to stay.  Nutrient management is a hot topic because of its link to the algae blooms in Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys.  The Ohio Legislature is currently working on legislation to require a licensing program for people who apply fertilizer on more than 50 acres of land.  This presentation will provide an opportunity to gain insight on management practices that impact soil health, economic sustainability, and the environment.

On Monday evening April 28 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dr Kok will be speaking on Soil Health and Cover Crops.  This presentation will be held at the Rolling Plains United Methodist church located at 3350 Moxahala Park Rd., Zanesville, Ohio.
Tuesday April 29 from 9:00-11:00 a. m. Dr Kok will be covering the topics of 4R Nutrient Management, Soil Health, and Nutrient Cycling.  This presentation will be held at the Rural Services Building, 225 Underwood St., Zanesville, Ohio. 
Tuesday April 29 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Dr Kok will lead a soil pit investigation, talk about soil biology, conservation tillage, and reducing fertilizer and chemical inputs.  This presentation will be held outside, in the field, at the Kevin and Lance Deal Farm, 6625 Chandlersville Rd., Chandlersville, Ohio.  Dress for the weather.

This event is made possible in part by a nutrient reduction grant from the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission.  It is also sponsored by the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Muskingum, Guernsey, Perry, and Morgan Counties as well as by OSU Extension Muskingum County.
Soil-It’s Alive is a free program but registration is required.  To register or to receive more information, about this program, contact the Muskingum SWCD at 740-454-2027.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to gain important knowledge that could impact your bottom line or increase the production of your garden in the backyard.

The Soil Science Society of America says soil is an amazing substance. It is a complex mix of minerals, air, and water, soil also teems with countless micro-organisms, and the decaying remains of once-living things. Soil is made of life and soil makes life. To the farmer, soil is where crops grow.  To the engineer, soil is a foundation upon which to build.  To the ecologist, soil supports communities of living things.  To the archaeologist, soil holds clues to past cultures.  To the city dweller, soil nurtures grass and gardens.  To the soil scientist, soil is all of these things.  Soil has been called "the skin of the earth" because it is the thin outermost layer of the Earth's crust.  Like our own skin, we can't live without healthy soil.

Monday, April 21, 2014

There’s Gold in Them Hills

There’s Gold in Them Hills
By:  Travis Smith
Wildlife/ Forestry Specialist Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District

t’s spring time again, and although mother nature is reluctant to release us from her grasp of a brutal winter; soon the temperatures will be warming and the ground thawing.  This can only mean one thing.   It’s time to grab your shovel, get your gold pan; set up the sluice box, “there is gold in them hills”!  OK . . . not so fast, we live in Ohio not the Klondike, right??    So what on earth am I talking about?  I am referring to the type of gold that does not require a metal detector to find.   It can be lucrative, but it will never make you rich.   Its whereabouts are as secretively guarded as the Lost Dutchman’s mine and it can only be found in relative abundance in Ohio a few weeks of the year.  This type of prospecting will require you to trade in the shovel for a good walking stick, your gold pan for some hiking boots, and your sluice box for an old onion sack.  For those who may have figured it out and for those who have not, spring time in Ohio can only mean one thing; its morel season again!!!!

The morel mushroom (Morchella esculentoides) belongs to the genus Morchella as they are part of the "True Morels”.  The "True Morels" are classified as choice edible.  They have a distinct appearance of a sponge or honeycomb-like upper portion that features a network of ridges and fissures as seen in the photo above.  Numerous Species of morels exist throughout Ohio, the United States and even around the world.  However, physically differentiating many of these species is impossible and can only be achieved through DNA testing.  In short, if it is a true morel; break out the butter and frying pan; it’s going to be delicious!  So for the sake of argument and morel purest I apologize, the three varieties of true morels found in Ohio are commonly referred to as “Blacks”, “Grays” and “Yellows”.  The black morels are the first of the season to arrive.  They can be the most difficult to find, simply because their dark color and smaller size make them extremely camouflaged among the leaf litter.  As the season progresses, grays (my favorite to eat) will be the next to immerge, subsequently followed by the yellows.  Yellow morels are in fact the same species of morel as the gray, which only appear much different as they mature.  Morels can be found in Southeastern Ohio for a relatively short time period.  The time frame occurs in the early spring months, typically late March-Mid May, based on ground temperature and precipitation.

Now, the million dollar question; how to find morel mushrooms?  It’s easy, the ONE and ONLY thing you need to do to find morel mushrooms is . . . I got you didn’t I?   You really thought there was an answer to that question?  I read an interesting quote about the morel hunting that went something like this; “The morel mushroom is a fungus that grows in pretty good quantities, except in the places in which I happen to be looking”.  Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time hunting for morels has felt some semblance of that quote.  The truth is, there is no one true method to finding morel mushrooms.  In fact, most avid morel hunters have their own personal set of thoughts, logic, notions, beliefs, hunches, clues, tactics, magic, or voodoo, they use to garner their success.  However, the best piece of advice that was passed down from my grandpa to me that I am willing t share with you is simply this; you can’t find morels from the couch, so go hunting! 

So whether you are a beginner and would like to learn more about the many mysteries of morel hunting, or a seasoned hunter wanting to learn a trick or two, join the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District for our first annual morel mushroom and wild edibles showcase.  GSWCD is teaming up with the people from Deerassic Park Education Center to bring you a morel mushroom and wild edibles showcase.  Come and learn tricks and tips from Wildlife/Forestry Specialist and avid mushroom hunter Travis Smith, and professional mushroom cultivar Jeff Wilkinson.  The showcase will highlight how to successfully and safely locate and identify the morel mushroom, as well as other wild delicacies including: chanterelle mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, chicken mushrooms, fiddle head ferns, and many others.  Jeff Wilkinson will be performing a demonstration and will have kits available to purchase for cultivating your own oyster and shiitake mushrooms.  The Guernsey County Master Gardeners Association will be preparing dishes of various wild edibles for your taste buds delight.  So shake off the druthers of a long hard winter and join us for an evening of morel mushrooms and wild edibles.  The showcase will be held Monday April 28, 2014 from 6pm-8pm at the Deerassic Park Educational Center 14250 Cadiz Rd, Cambridge, Ohio 43725, just a quarter mile before the main entrance to Salt fork State Park headed east on SR22.  To register call Travis Smith at the GSWCD office (740) 432-5624.  Hope to see you there.