Alayna DeMartini

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Production Agriculture, Farm Science Review.
  1. The deluge of rain in April and early May led to some crusting over of cornfields and abnormal growth, which is leading many farmers to replant.

    Late Corn Better Than Blighted Corn

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Growers whose corn crops were harmed by excessive rain in April and May likely will have enough growing days left in the season if they replant in the next two to three weeks, according to an Ohio State University agronomist. “If they replanted soon, it would probably be much better than to have a poor stand,” said Peter Thomison, an agronomist with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Growers can’t be certain that the plants that survived will be consistently healthy or remain viable if seedling blight is a major cause of stand loss, Thomison said. Seedling blight is a fungal infection that can cause a seedling to rot and die. One consideration growers should...
  2. Experts from the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine can address the media on avian influenza in light of a recently released federal government report citing challenges in preventing the virus in both poultry and humans.

    Media Advisory: CFAES Experts Available to Speak on Avian Flu

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Experts from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine are available to speak with the media about the avian influenza virus. A federal report released on May 11 determined agency challenges in preventing the virus in both poultry and humans. Change-Won (Charles) Lee, an Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) virologist, 330-263-3750, Lee can speak on surveillance, biosecurity and preventive measures, vaccines for poultry, interspecies transmission and the various influenza strains with pandemic potential. Mohamed El-Gazzar, Ohio State University Extension’s poultry veterinarian, 614-688-1074, El-Gazzar has...
  3. The off and on rain in recent weeks saturated, if not flooded, farm fields across the state, particularly in the west-central counties near the Indiana border.

    Rain and Frost Leave Farmers Pondering Replanting

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Heavy rain saturated swaths of farmland across the state in recent weeks, compelling significant numbers of farmers to reorder seeds or take measures to help their newly planted corn or soybeans prosper. Even many farmers who didn’t watch their seeds wash away in rivers of rain are still forced to consider: Should I replant? Warm, dry weather in early April encouraged some farmers to plant early, but then the rain struck and stayed. And frost on May 7 and May 8 in many parts of the state only added to the problem. Farm fields in the west-central counties near the Indiana border were drenched, the hardest-hit area in the state. In that region, which includes Darke, Auglaize, Mercer, Shelby and Miami counties, the amount of rain was three times more...
  4. Stink bugs are being studied by researchers at CFAES who are examining the damage the bugs do and how to best manage them.

    Seeking the Stink Bug’s Natural Enemies

    COLUMBUS, Ohio —When Celeste Welty unzips the white, nylon cage, none of the stink bugs inside move. “They’re very tranquil,” she says. Why wouldn’t they be?  Inside their cage, they enjoy spa-like conditions with all the sunflower seeds and nuts they can feed on, the warmth of the sunlight coming through the window beside them and a few house plants to make it feel like the outdoors, though they’re in a lab.  Young offspring clutch the walls of a separate cage inside what appears to be a refrigerator but instead is a warming chamber. Such special treatment for the brown marmorated stink bug, which farmers despise and homeowners often flick out of the way when they discover them indoors during the cold months. Thriving on a...
  5. Attendees to the 2017 Green Home Workshop will be able to tour The Ohio State University's enCORE house, a solar house deisgned and built by students and includes systems to collect rainwater and reuse some household wastewater.

    Learn How to Bring Down Your Home Energy Bills

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — When we think of green homes, we often think: expensive and futuristic. However, over time, they may not cost more, and they certainly aren’t limited to the future. A daylong May 16 workshop will help homeowners and builders understand ways they can minimize energy costs and improve their indoor air quality. Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its partners will host the second Green Home Workshop at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, in Columbus. “We want people to live healthier in their homes,” said Qian Chen, an associate professor of construction systems management for the college. Chen is among the speakers at the workshop, which is for...
  6. A May 25 field night at the Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon will provide information about increasing the yield on strawberry plants, reducing production costs and using winter protection techniques.

    Strawberries, Robots and Taste Tests Featured at Berry Field Night

    PIKETON, Ohio -- If you’re seeking more berries from your strawberry plants or want to know how to start growing them, an upcoming field night could be where your questions are answered. Those who attend the May 25 workshop at the Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon, can step into a greenhouse and see how strawberry plants stacked atop each other grow year-round. Perhaps even more unusual, a robot will demonstrate how it can eliminate the back-straining work of picking berries. Because taste is what sells a strawberry, field night attendees can participate in a blind taste test of 18 varieties of strawberries, including some grown in California and Florida. “We wanted to throw those in along with the 15 varieties we picked from our field just to see if they...
  7. No-till farming is being used with a wheat field in central France, where a team of OSU soil specialists conducted one in a series of workshops on climate change, soil health, cover crops and no-till farming.

    Leave the Tilling to Mother Nature

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Whether talking to farmers in France, Ghana or southern Ohio, Rafiq Islam’s message is consistent: Tilling the land does more long-term damage than good. As an Ohio State University soil scientist, Islam is among the disciples in the movement to convince farmers that plowing their fields before they plant or after they harvest harms the health of the soil and its ability to spur growth and resist erosion. Soil plowed repeatedly can lose key ingredients that enrich it, including carbon, which can evaporate as carbon dioxide gas into the air. Left undisturbed, soil can maintain that carbon, and the dry decaying stalks in an untilled field add to the organic materials in the dirt. After crops such as soybeans or corn are picked, a farmer can plant a...
  8. A boom sprayer should be calibrated at least once a year to ensure it is applying the desired amount of pesticide.

    Calibrate Your Sprayer to Save Money on Pesticides

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Pickup trucks need occasional tuneups and oil changes, so it stands to reason that a boom sprayer needs a checkup at least once a year before it’s driven out of the barn and onto fields to spray for pests. Sprayers should be calibrated to determine the actual rate at which they are applying pesticide, then adjustments can be made, said Erdal Ozkan, a professor and spray technology expert with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Applying too little pesticide might not sufficiently defeat a grower’s crawling and flying enemies, and applying too much wastes money, may damage the crop and increases the odds of contaminating ground water, Ozkan pointed out. “What people don’t know is...
  9. OARDC Scientists, Graduate Student Awarded for Research

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Three Ohio State University scientists and one graduate student were honored April 20 at the 2017 research conference of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Distinguished Junior Faculty Research Award Jiyoung Lee, an associate professor of environmental microbiology, works in the Department of Food Science and Technology and in the College of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, based on the Columbus campus.
 She was recognized for her distinctive research that integrates water contamination issues with the One Health approach to human, animal and ecological health. Lee (photo: Ken Chamberlain...
  10. The early appearance of some weeds, including purple deadnettle, is one of the consequences of a warmer than usual winter and wet spring.

    Pests, Weeds and Crop Diseases Arriving Early

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A warmer than usual winter and wet spring are ushering in some crop diseases and weeds early in the season and could trigger a pestier summer. Ohio State University entomologists are keeping a close eye on insect species that survived the winter and may appear earlier and more abundantly. Particularly concerning are the pests that preyed on last year’s crops, including slugs, stink bugs and bean leaf beetles on soybeans, cereal leaf beetles on small grains, and Asiatic garden beetles and western bean cutworms on corn. “We emphasize the importance of scouting for farmers so they know what’s in their field at any given time and they know what levels,” said Kelley Tilmon, a field crop entomologist with Ohio State’s College of Food,...
  11. Farm bankruptcies likely will increase nationally as a result of a decline in farm income and agricultural land values.

    Farm Bankruptcies Could Rise

    COLUMBUS, Ohio —Declining farm income and farmland values likely will lead to an increase in the number of farmers who are delinquent on their loans and eventually a rise in farm bankruptcies, predicted a pair of Ohio State University agricultural economists. While the current farm bankruptcy rate is low, two per 10,000 farms nationally, that rate has gone up slightly in recent years and likely will continue to do so, said Ani Katchova and Robert Dinterman, both from the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Bankruptcy rates seem to be a lagging indicator of financial stress after debt levels rise and delinquencies on agricultural loans increase, Katchova, Ohio State’s Farm Income Enhancement Chair, pointed out. “Currently, only a limited...
  12. Ohio’s ‘Climate Whiplash’ Triggered, then Stopped the Early Spring

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Spring arrived early in Ohio this year and then came to a screeching halt, says a scientist in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Despite unseasonably warm days in January and February, March’s cool temperatures put Ohio’s weather back on par with last year’s, said entomologist Dan Herms. “It was like climate whiplash,” Herms said. “Now things are back to — I hate to call it normal — a ‘new normal’ as plants are blooming and insects are now emerging at the same time they did last year.” However, compared to a couple decades ago, spring is early due to climate warming, Herms pointed out. Along with the early buds and blooms that...