Alayna DeMartini

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Production Agriculture, Farm Science Review.
  1. The Ohio State University logo was created in a cornfield using a "smart planter" that planted two different hybrids of corn, one that grew slower than the other, so that two different colors could be represented in the image. Green for the younger plants and brown for the older ones. (Photo by Neal Lauron)

    Cornfield Grows Into Shape of Ohio State Logo

    LONDON, Ohio — From the ground, it looks like just another Midwestern cornfield. Nothing special. Fly a few hundred feet above the cornfield, and a clear image comes into view: a Block O with the words “Ohio State” angled through the middle of it. Buckeye pride? Partly. But the logo also illustrates the power of “smart planting.” You’ve heard of smart phones, smart highways and now… a smart planter. As the planter was driven across the field, its computer system knew the rate and variety of seed to sow in each area, having noted the differences in soil type, terrain, drainage and organic content within the same field. Over the past few months, the Block O, Ohio State University’s primary athletic identity, slowly emerged in the...
  2. The Sept. 15 Food Waste Collaborative Conference at The Ohio State University will discuss policy trends at the federal, state and local level that help and hinder efforts to reduce the amount of food discarded.

    ‘Don’t Waste That Food!’ Ohio State Conference Will Show How and Why

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Inside many trash cans lies food that probably could have been eaten or composted. Food waste accounts for about 22 percent of what’s in every landfill, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. What’s more surprising is where most of that food waste is coming from, said Brian Roe, a professor of agricultural economics in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. Don’t think restaurants, think: closer to home - as in, your kitchen. “A lot of people say, ‘Oh, they waste so much food at restaurants and supermarkets. I’ve seen the dumpsters at the back of the stores. It’s terrible.’ In truth, it’s consumers in households where most of...
  3. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that Ohio's average yield on corn this year will be up by 7.5 percent compared to last year's state average. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Ohio Corn and Soybean Yield Predictions ‘Optimistic’

    COLUMBUS, Ohio ­— Though some of Ohio’s corn and soybean farmers may be pessimistic about this year’s yield, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is not. Despite the excessive rain that fell in Ohio and the necessary replanting for many, sometimes multiple times, the USDA has a reasonably sunny prediction for Ohio’s average yield on corn, soybeans and wheat. Ohio’s corn yields this year will be 7.5 percent higher than last year’s total at 171 bushels per acre compared to the 159-bushel-per-acre state average in 2016, according to the USDA’s annual crop yield forecast released Aug. 10. Though the USDA estimates that Ohio’s soybean yields will drop by nearly 3 percent this year (from 54.5 bushels per acre to 53 bushels per acre),...
  4. The 55th annual Farm Science Review will be Sept. 19-21 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio.

    2017 Farm Science Review Media Credentials Request

    LONDON, Ohio —This year's Ohio State University Farm Science Review celebrates its 55th year and includes numerous newsworthy events, exhibits and presentations. Mark your calendars for Sept. 19-21, and be sure to join us at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio. You’ll need tickets to get in and parking passes for the media lot, so please fill out the form below and return it by Sept. 1. We'll mail the requested number of admission tickets and parking passes during the week of Sept. 4. Send in your request now so you don’t miss: The latest in equipment, supplies and information from over 600 exhibitors. A discussion with climate experts advising how Ohio farmers can adapt to climate change. Field demonstrations on nutrient...
  5. Plots of soybeans and corn have been planted for Farm Science Review to test the effects of nutrient management, cover crops, herbicide technology and precision crop management.

    Demonstration Plots Can Offer Farmers Insight

    LONDON, Ohio — Across a series of fields, diseased soybean plants stand, tarnished by pesticide that spread much further than intended. Another patch of soybeans grew only minimally, planted in the same spot year after year, without a break. “We’re going to show you: If you mess up, this is what’s going to happen,” said Harold Watters, a field specialist with Ohio State University Extension. Watters was referring to an exhibit at the upcoming Farm Science Review where crops were planted to demonstrate various challenges farmers face, as well as possible solutions. Watters and other experts from Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), will be on hand at the Review, a three-day agricultural trade show Sept. 19...
  6. An all-terrain track chair can assist a farmer challenged by walking long distances.

    Help for Injured or Aging Farmers

    LONDON, Ohio — Getting older or injured generally won’t stop a farmer from working. But work does not have to be painful. Changes can be made to a tractor or a combine, such as adding a lift to get aboard them more easily or adding a camera to keep a farmer from having to turn his or her head to see behind. Injured or aging farmers can find the technology they need to continue to work through Ohio State University Extension’s Ohio AgrAbility program. The program offers free on-site assessments for people with a disability, to help determine what assistive technology might enable them to continue to work. Ohio AgrAbility will offer three daily workshops at Farm Science Review Sept. 19-21 to discuss what’s available for farmers who are injured or struggling...
  7. Cupped leaves can be a sign of soybeans harmed by dicamba, a weed killer and source of complaints in several states, including Ohio.  (Photo: Flickr)

    Dicamba Complaints Slowly Filtering In

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Dicamba, a weed killer notorious in some states for spreading well beyond where it's sprayed, harming other plants along the way, is affecting growers in Ohio. The state has received only 19 official complaints of dicamba damage to fields this year. However, there are likely three to four times as many instances of harm because people are reluctant to report their neighbors, said Mark Loux, an Ohio State University Extension weed specialist. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. Most often, farmers don’t fault their neighbor who applied the dicamba – they fault the dicamba itself because of how extensively it can spread beyond a targeted field,...
  8. Southern rust (pictured above) and common rust have attacked a higher than usual number of southern Ohio fields this year.

    Rust on Corn More Prevalent This Summer

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Resembling rust on a pickup, a fungal disease that can afflict corn has been confirmed in a higher than usual number of cornfields in southern Ohio. Every year, some Ohio farmers find southern or common rust on their corn plants, but this year both diseases have been more prevalent, said Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension corn and small grain specialist. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. Typically, rust fungi arrive late in the growing stage and do limited damage. However, this year farmers had to replant several times, and the younger corn plants are at greater risk for damage, Paul said. Common and southern rusts are most problematic when they...
  9. Extreme rain events are far more common in Ohio now, part of the climate changes that are occuring, according to an Ohio State University climate expert. Photo: Thinkstock

    With Changing Climate, Farmers Should Prepare

    LONDON, Ohio — Climate change may trigger images of polar bears falling off melting ice slabs in the Arctic, but the changes are relevant for Ohio farmers as well. Winters in Ohio are warming quicker than summers are, while summer nighttime lows are increasing faster than daytime highs, said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. “Although it is warmer now on average, daytime highs in the summer are not as extreme as they were in the 1930s and 1950s when Ohio experienced prolonged droughts,” Wilson pointed out. However, at night in the summer, the weather isn’t cooling off as much as it had been for decades...
  10. On average, one out of every four fairs an Ohio State University researcher attends every year has at least one pig infected with the Influenza A Virus Infecting Swine (IAV-S). Photo: Thinkstock

    Researcher Studying Agriculture Fairs and Flu Among Pigs

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A researcher at The Ohio State University is conducting a multi-state study testing for flu among pigs at fairs as swine infected with a flu virus were confirmed at two recent county fairs in Ohio. Andrew Bowman, a veterinarian with Ohio State’s Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, has found that, on average, one out of every four fairs he attends every year has at least one pig infected with the Influenza A Virus Infecting Swine (IAV-S). Some of the infected pigs don’t show clinical signs of the illness when they’re tested. The influenza A virus can infect pigs as well as other animals and people. When one case is discovered at a fair, more often than not, several cases are found at the same fair, said Bowman. Bowman is little...
  11. Farmers who focus on managing the work environment for their staff in a way that offers flexibility and empathy can raise productivity and cut down on turnover, according to an expert with Ohio State University Extension.

    Empathy and Flexibility Go a Long Way When Managing Farm Employees

    LONDON, Ohio — Faced with a decades-long struggle to find laborers, farmers can still do a lot to attract and keep their staff and lighten their load with technology. When the economy is healthy or at least improving, the search for farm employees becomes even more challenging even though farm wages, at $12 on average across Ohio, are well above the state’s minimum wage, said Gustavo Schuenemann, an Ohio State University Extension veterinarian. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. With farm work being so physically rigorous and requiring long work days, often people opt instead for an 8-hour work day in an office or store, said Schuenemann, who’s also an associate professor in the...
  12. The 55th annual Farm Science Review will be Sept. 19-21 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio.

    Online Tickets Available, New Online Directory and App for Farm Science Review Goers

    LONDON, Ohio —Tickets for the 2017 Farm Science Review, a three-day agricultural trade show Sept. 19-21 in London, Ohio, are now available for purchase online at fsr.osu.edu. Buying tickets online allows people to get the $7 early discount price even though they may not live near an Ohio State University Extension county office or participating agribusiness, which are selling tickets at that price.  “Online tickets are the easiest option for people coming from out of state or buying the tickets for a large group,” said Nick Zachrich, manager of the Review. Hosting over 600 exhibitors, the Review features business advice for farm businesses of all sizes, demonstrations of new equipment and workshops on topics ranging from cover crops to strategies on...
  13. A dramatic decline in egg prices nationwide has some egg producers in Ohio reducing their flocks.

    Egg Price Drop Good for Consumers, Tough for Producers

    GREENVILLE, Ohio ­— In Darke County, the state’s highest producer of eggs, some businesses are anxiously trimming their flocks to contend with the steep dive in nationwide egg prices. Shoppers may be thrilled to see a dozen eggs as low as 49 cents, but egg producers in Darke County likely are cringing at the price, the lowest in at least a decade. By reducing their flocks, some Ohio egg producers hope to dwindle the supply of eggs on the market and drive up the price they get paid for eggs. The Buckeye state is second in the nation in egg production, just behind Iowa. The dip in egg prices stems from a nationwide glut of eggs on the market. In 2015, an avian influenza outbreak forced many farmers in Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska to destroy millions of their...
  14. Fertilizer applicator certification training sessions will be held across the state into mid-September. Photo: Thinkstock

    Agricultural Fertilizer Certification Trainings Offered before Sept. 30 Deadline

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio farmers who still need to get fertilizer certification before the Sept. 30 deadline will have more than 20 opportunities to attend training sessions offered by experts from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. The training, provided by Ohio State University Extension, fulfills the educational requirements of Ohio’s 2014 agricultural nutrients legislation which requires individuals who apply fertilizer on more than 50 acres to become certified by Sept. 30, 2017. Already, more than 17,000 Ohio farmers have gone through Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training, or FACT, which offers information on best management practices to apply fertilizer for optimum crop yields, reduce the risk of nutrient...
  15. Two agriculture experts from The Ohio State University have redesigned an attachment to a tractor that allows liquid manure to be applied to a growing crop. In the aerial photo, manure is being applied to a Darke County cornfield.

    New Manure Sidedress Method Lowers Fertilizer Costs, Increases Yields

    GREENVILLE, Ohio — With corn needing nitrogen, and pigs and cattle producing a lot of it, anything that offers a better way to use their waste to fortify crops should intrigue farmers. Two agriculture experts at The Ohio State University have redesigned a metal tractor attachment so that it allows farmers to put manure on a field while crops are emerging. Applying manure to growing crops, which is not widely done in Ohio or nationwide, can boost yields, reduce nutrient losses, and give livestock producers and commercial manure applicators another window of time to unload their waste and enrich their crops. Made by Bambauer Equipment in New Knoxville, Ohio, the metal toolbar, which is attached to a tractor, receives waste pumped through a hose from a livestock facility...
  16. August workshops will be hosted in central and northeast Ohio to help anyone intrigued by bees to better identify them.

    Learn the Secrets of Native Bees

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Observing and identifying bees used to be reserved for the select few scientists with access to powerful microscopes and detailed identification guides. With close-up photography, powerful binoculars and user-friendly field guides, now anyone can learn to identify common bees. And an upcoming series of bee biology and identification workshops can help get people started. Olivia Carril, a biologist and author of Bees in Your Backyard, will travel to Ohio in August to teach the workshops from Aug. 2 through Aug. 5 at locations in central and northeast Ohio. The workshops are titled Bees in Your Backyard … and the Plants They Visit, and each includes hands-on bee identification using microscopes as well as field experiences with plant and bee experts....
  17. Since 2010, a consistently increasing number of Ohioans have reported having Lyme disease, which is spread by the blacklegged deer tick.

    Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Carried Diseases on the Rise in Ohio

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A steadily rising number of Lyme disease cases are being reported in Ohio transmitted by a tick that can be as small as a poppy seed. Every year since 2010, when Ohio’s first population of blacklegged deer ticks was discovered in Coshocton County, the number of people infected with Lyme disease has increased. Last year’s statewide total of 160 human cases of the disease is more than three and a half times the 2010 total. Besides the increase in Lyme disease, more Ohioans are also reporting cases of other tick- related diseases, leading to concern about tick populations that used to be rare in the state. Blacklegged deer ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease, are spreading, and one challenge in fending them off is that in their nymph stage, they...
  18. Cathann A. Kress

    CFAES Dean Named to State Livestock Care Standards Board

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The vice president of agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University has been appointed by Governor John Kasich to the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. Cathann A. Kress, PhD, was appointed for a term beginning June 15 and ending Jan. 25, 2020, and is the college’s second member on the board. The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board was created following the approval of State Issue 2 in November 2009. The constitutional amendment requires the creation of rules governing livestock care, including topics such as euthanasia, disease prevention and the housing of animals. “This board plays a critical role in protecting the welfare of livestock raised in Ohio,...
  19. Gypsy moth mating disruption treatments begin June 14 to reduce the populations in various parts of eastern and central Ohio.

    Gypsy Moth 'Mating Disruption' Treatments to Begin in Eastern and Central Ohio

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — It turns out that one way to keep gypsy moths from multiplying is to disrupt their mating. Whatever images that conjures up, they are probably not in sync with the actual method the Ohio Department of Agriculture uses. Picture a small, yellow plane flying a couple hundred feet above tree tops and buildings, spraying an organic product called SPLAT GM-O. Despite its whimsical name, the product has a serious intent: it confuses male gypsy moths amid their search for females. Gypsy moths can kill trees by eating the leaves that allow for photosynthesis and growth of the tree. SPAT GM-O is a synthetic version of the naturally occurring female gypsy moth pheromone. Harmless to humans and animals, SPLAT GM-O is a turn-on for male gypsy moths. By saturating areas...
  20. A June 22 field day in Mahoning County will offer participants the required state certification for applying fertilizer.

    Get Your Ohio Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Certification

    CANFIELD, Ohio — It seems you can never know enough about fertilizer these days. A June 22 field day is designed to help answer questions about applying fertilizer, and after the event, participants can obtain the required state certification for anyone who applies fertilizer, other than manure, to more than 50 acres. The event will feature speakers Lee Beers and Rory Lewandowski, Ohio State University Extension educators, who will discuss soil fertility and using fertilizer to improve crop production. Eric Barrett, an OSU Extension educator, will train participants on fertilizer application safety and best management practices. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Soil health...
  21. An outbreak of Salmonella has infected 32 people in Ohio and is linked to backyard chickens.

    Media Advisory: Ohio State Experts Can Speak on Salmonella, Backyard Chickens

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — With 32 people infected, Ohio has the highest number of Salmonella cases in a recent outbreak involving 47 states where people had contact with backyard poultry flocks. Two experts from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are available to speak about Salmonella: Abigail Snyder, an assistant professor and food safety field specialist for Ohio State University Extension, and Ahmed Yousef, a microbiologist and professor of food science and technology. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health departments are investigating the cases of Ohioans infected between Jan. 1 and June 1. None of the Ohio victims has died or been hospitalized, and there...
  22. If products containing genetically modified ingredients were labeled as such through a digital label, some low-income seniors might not be able to access the product information, an Ohio State University study has found.

    Ohio State Study Shows Low-Income Seniors Might Not Access Electronic Labels of GMO Products

    COLUMBUS, Ohio ­­— An Ohio State University survey shows that some seniors and low-income individuals may have trouble accessing electronic product codes on food labels indicating the item contains genetically modified ingredients. The vast majority in the survey (93.8 percent) stated they could get to the information from labels even if it were in electronic form. But among those 65 or older and earning less than $15,000 a year, 25 percent said that, while shopping, they do not have a smartphone with wireless internet and could not make phone calls. And not having internet or a phone in a store could prevent them from seeing the online information linked to the electronic product code on the product label. “Disclosure by electronic means has promise, but there...
  23. Attendees to the June 15 Hops Field Day at OSU South Ceners in Piketon can tour a hops yard and learn about hops production.

    Thinking about Growing Hops? Consider this Field Day

    PIKETON, Ohio —As the craft brew market continues to grow in Ohio, this could be prime time to tour a field of hops and learn what it takes to start one. The June 15 Hops Field Day at the Ohio State University South Centers will offer attendees guidelines on hops production, including how to market the crop to breweries, control pests, irrigate and fertilize the soil. Ohio has over 300 craft breweries open or awaiting permit approval, and most of the current ones buy their hops from growers outside Ohio, so there’s potential for Ohio growers to supply those breweries, said Brad Bergefurd, a horticulturist with OSU South Centers in Piketon. “Beer is made out of water, hops and barley. We have them all here in Ohio,” said Bergefurd, who directs Ohio State...
  24. Gray garden slugs could flourish this spring and summer given the above average rainfall statewide and the late planting of corn and soybeans; the seeds and young plants can become tasty meals for the slugs.

    Slugs Likely to Thrive This Summer

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Something very small has benefited from the heavy rainfall that has played havoc with field crops statewide: the slimy and frequently hungry gray garden slug. Planting corns and soybeans early sometimes helps reduce the amount of damage from slugs because the crop has a chance to outpace the growth of the slug, whose appetite increases as it matures, said Kelley Tilmon, a field crop entomologist with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. But with above average rainfall across the state and some late-season frosts, a significant number of farmers are planting — or replanting — corn and soybeans later in the growing season. And those emerging...
  25. The newly revised Ohio Agronomy Guide is now available online and soon will be available at OSU Extension's county offices.

    Newly Revised Ohio Agronomy Guide for Sale

    COLUMBUS, Ohio —A lot can change in 12 years. That’s why the 2005 edition of the Ohio Agronomy Guide was just revised to offer the most up-to-date guidelines for planting corn, soybeans, wheat and forages in Ohio, managing the pests they attract and enriching the soil in which they grow. All the guidelines offered in the book are specific to Ohio and based on research in Ohio fields. If a farmer, forced to delay planting soybeans, wonders: what variety of seed should I sow? And how should I change my seeding rate? The answers are in the soybean chapter of the guide that offers advice from 19 contributors including agronomists, entomologists, plant pathologists, soil scientists and agricultural engineers. “It’s a nice go-to reference. It covers every...

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