Agronomic Crops

Chief personnel and activities (2021-23)

Pierce Paul, Horacio Lopez Nicora - Plant Pathology
Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon - Entomology
Osler Ortez (joined 2022) - Horticulture and Crop Science

In the past few years, Ohio corn growers have experienced increases in 2 major and somewhat related production pressures: caterpillar damage in ears and ear molds. Research suggests connections between these two major impacts, which can be exacerbated by climate change and increasing resistance to transgenics. We have observed extensive feeding by western bean cutworm and corn earworm on transgenic corn and are concerned that Cry1F resistant European corn borers from Nova Scotia could spread to Ohio. Since they are associated with insect feeding, fusarium ear rot (FER) and its associated mycotoxins (Fumonisins) are likely increasing in Ohio. Furthermore, the prevalence and severity of Gibberella ear rot (GER) and its associated toxins, deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone, continue to increase in the state. 

Soybean is also a major commodity in Ohio with 4.3M acres planted and a $1.9B production value (2019 NASS). Perennial issues such as soybean cyst nematode and emerging issues in sunflower production and pathology will be addressed through a proper outreach campaign culminating in field days, workshops and webinars.

Our IPM Team trap network will expand to target key and emerging pests such as western bean cutworm, European corn borer, corn earworm, true armyworm, and black cutworm, and be coordinated with the Specialty Crop Team. These data will be available at our agcrops insects webpage and combined with the Great Lakes and Maritimes Pest Monitoring network.

To enhance insect scouting techniques in the field for insects, we will experiment using 3-D printed egg masses, immatures and adults of various species to increase scouting efficiency and confidence of stakeholders. With upgrades and experience, we can produce better 3D models of egg masses that should drastically improve scouting confidence. Our plan will include attaching 3D printed egg masses directly on plants in the field to mimic the scouting experience. This will eliminate the 

Collectively our activities on these three crops will increase stakeholders’ knowledge of Bt hybrid traits and resistant caterpillars, ear rots, mycotoxins, and weather variables associated with their occurrence. We will re-emphasize traditional IPM scouting along with weather-based tools to predict the risk of infestation and to help guide the implementation of timely management strategies. Farmers will also be made aware of emerging problems and how to conduct monitoring to assess them.

Chief personnel and activities (2017-20)

Anne Dorrance (left 2019) - Plant Pathology
Pierce Paul - Plant Pathology
Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon - Entomology
Laura Lindsey (left 2020) - Horticulture and Crop Science

Agronomic Crop IPM Activity Summary – Kelley Tilmon, Andy Michel, Laura Lindsey, Pierce Paul, Anne Dorrance

The OSU Extension State Specialists in agronomic crops conducted a number of programs to promote integrated pest management in soybean, corn, small grains, and forages. Some recent highlights include on-farm collaborations with growers to assess Asiatic garden beetle, an emerging pest of corn; a monitoring program to detect the invasive Kudzu bug in Ohio, an introduced pest of soybean; an annual monitoring program to track the statewide prevalence of western bean cutworm, a pest of corn; monitoring for soybean cyst nematode in soybean; and in-depth crop workshops and field days for extension educators and growers.

Crop workshops were a highlight of 2019.  The team conducted two winter Soybean Schools for growers.  These all-day events provided in-depth information on soybean insects and diseases – their biology, and how to scout and manage them.  They also provided two IPM Training workshops geared for crop advisors and extension educators, to train the trainers.  These schools and workshops are designed for a smaller number of participants in order to provide personalized training and hands-on exercises as part of the program.  For example, participants in both the Soybean Schools and IPM Training workshops worked through and exercise using pressed soybean leaves to learn how to accurately assess soybean defoliation and apply the information to management decisions.  The agronomic crops team also provided training through the Small Grains Field Day where participants learned about pest management in wheat and barley.  


Soybean Cyst Nematode Management - Anne Dorrance

Three trainings held in February, 2018, focused on soybean IPM practices with talks on current research to manage insects, weeds, and disease. Almost 180 people attended the trainings that were held in Wilmington, Fremont, and Napoleon, Ohio, representing growers, industry representatives, and Extension educators. Emphasis was placed this year on outreach for the Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) Coalition’s efforts to raise awareness of this pest in Ohio. Several key areas were addressed: yield losses attributed to SCN, the results from recent surveys on where SCN has been found, and more importantly, the adaptation to the most used resistance in Ohio populations. After the presentation, program evaluations were given to participants to measure the impact of the SCN presentation at Wilmington and Napoleon.

Winter Malting Barley - Laura Lindsay

Winter malting barley is a relatively new crop for Ohio farmers. However, acreage is rapidly increasing due to an increase in craft brewery and malting facilities and demand for local products. In response to this growing clientele, we released a “Management of Ohio Winter Malting Barley” guide to provide information on winter malting barley production, including crop establishment, soil fertility recommendations, and weed, insect and disease control. The guide has been downloaded 225 times ( and distributed to approximately 100 farmers at field days across the state. 

Additionally, winter malting barley management and double crop soybean practices were discussed at the Small Grains Field Day in Wooster and Agronomic Field Day at the Northwest Agricultural Research Station. Twenty-seven percent of the field day attendees were currently growing winter malting barley with an additional 31 percent of the attendees intending to grow winter malting barley within the next three years. We will continue to develop resources and extension programming to meet the growing demand for winter malting barley production and management.

Barley Disease Management - Pierce Paul

A small grains field day was conducted at the OARDC research farm near Wooster, OH in June 2018. The event was attended by close to 120 participants, representing growers, students, crop consultants and advisors, and OSU Extension educators. Several aspects of small grain production were covered through research plot demonstrations, lectures, and hands-on exercises including disease resistance screening, in-field diagnosis, and management. The three primary areas covered during the barley diseases section of the program were: 

- Identification of Fusarium head blight (also known as scab or head scab) and other diseases of barley 

- Determining the optimum growth stage for fungicide application for head scab management in barley

- Use of disease quantification methods to evaluate the efficacy of disease management programs. 

Participantswalked fields and learned how to identify foliar and spike diseases and evaluated differences in the reactions of varieties and advanced breeding lines to head scab. They also quantified and compared the efficacy of different fungicide and integrated management programs for head scab management. 

Insect and Disease Scouting School - Kelley Tilmon, Andy Michel, Anne Dorrance, Pierce Paul and Mark Sulc

The OSU Extension State Specialists in agronomic crops trained approximately 40 farmers, crop consultants and extension personnel as part of an agronomy field day at the Western Agricultural Research Station. The proper methods of how to identify and scout for the presence of key pests and damage in alfalfa, corn and soybean were demonstrated. In alfalfa, Dr. Mark Sulc demonstrated how to identify and sweep for potato leafhopper, and then discussed treatment thresholds. In corn, Dr. Andy Michel provided recommendations on how to scout for Western bean cutworm, a new pest for Ohio but one that is slowly spreading across the state. Dr. Pierce Paul showed farmers scouting techniques for various corn diseases while in soybean, Dr. Anne Dorrance trained farmers how to identify frog-eye leaf spot and other soybean diseases. Dr. Kelley Tilmon finished the scouting school by explaining why soybean plants can withstand what appears to be a large amount of defoliation from insects before economic damage occurs, which was followed up by a field exercise to collect and estimate percent defoliation.

Scouting sessions like this were conducted at several field days at research stations across the state. Based on surveys of the attendees given after the scouting school, participants at the field day had greater confidence in scouting and managing these key pests of agronomic crops at the conclusion of the session compared

Kudzu Bug Surveillance - Kelley Tilmon, Andy Michel and Amy Roudenbush

Monitoring seasonal or invasive insect pests is an important tool in IPM programs, which alerts growers to increasing problems or new threats. The OSU Extension IPM Program provides monitoring in key counties for seasonal population trends of Western bean cutworm, an important corn pest in the state. In the summer of 2018 we expanded the scope of pest monitoring to include the Ohio Kudzu Bug First Detection network. Kudzu bug is an invasive insect pest that has been extremely damaging to soybeans in the southeastern United States. Since its first detection in 2009 its range has spread dramatically. Although it has not been found in Ohio yet, it has been found adjacent to our southern border in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. With the I-75 corridor connecting Ohio to the Southeastern US where this pest is very prevalent, our network remains vigilant to detect it.

Our trapping network is designed to provide an early alert for the appearance of kudzu bug in Ohio. This will allow us to mobilize OSU Extension educators to inform the growers most likely to be affected by it. This year traps were deployed in nine counties in southern Ohio (Adams, Athens, Butler, Clermont, Madison, Meigs, Montgomery, Ross and Washington). This is a collaborative effort with Ohio State Extension Educators, who maintain, check and report trap activity weekly to Ohio State Department of Entomology Extension Specialists from May through June. Although the kudzu bug has yet to be found in Ohio, these monitoring efforts are important because of the expanding distribution of this pest and potential economic impact.

Chief personnel and activities (2014-16)

Anne Dorrance, Pierce Paul - Plant Pathology
Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon - Entomology
Laura Lindsey - Horticulture and Crop Science
Steve Culman - School of Environmental and Natural Resources

Insect Monitoring - Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon

The presence of pests and timing of control are important elements for IPM. The Field Crop Insect Reporting Network monitors emergent pests that could cause economic damage to growing crops. One such pest is the Western bean cutworm, which began damaging corn in Ohio recently. The network works with county-based Ohio State University Extension educators for weekly monitoring and reporting from traps placed strategically around the state for the new pest. Moth populations are reported directly to growers through CORN, a weekly, web-based newsletter to keep agronomic crop growers up to date on the latest information. The newsletter can be accessed at 

Over 2,000 people clicked on the “read more” link on the newsletter’s front page to view articles pertaining to the Western bean cutworm trap reporting and control recommendations during last year’s growing season. The reporting of the pest just began in July for 2017, and the first two trapping reports garnered 60 percent of the visitors to the general agronomic crops newsletter for that time period. 

Small Grains & Disease Monitoring - Pierce Paul

pierce paul

An interactive, small grains field day allowed participants to experience field scouting for disease and compare wheat varieties. The field day was conducted at the OARDC research farm near Wooster, Ohio in June, 2017 and was attended by 85 participants, including growers, students, crop consultants, crop advisors, and Extension educators from 12 Ohio counties. Several aspects of small grain production were covered through research plot demonstrations and lectures, including disease resistance screening and management. The program included wheat disease identification and a demonstration of the efficacy of fungicides and generic resistance for managing Fusarium head blight (also known as head scab). The field day was interactive as participants walked through fields and identified foliar, spike, and root diseases, and observed differences in the reactions of wheat varieties and breeding lines to scab. They also learned to quantify disease severity and use the information 

A statewide weather monitoring network for wheat was established and deployed at 10 locations across the state in order to help predict diseases during the growing season. A number of wheat fields were scouted for diseases, particularly head scab, and this information will be ground-truthed by scouting to help validate and refine our existing scab forecasting system. Grain samples were also collected to quantify mycotoxin levels. In order to help train the scouts properly, a growth-staging podcast series was developed and delivered via the OSU Extension Agronomic Crops Team’s website and YouTube channel. Weather data was collected through July so that late-season wheat diseases could be identified, along with their effect on grain quality.

This same weather network was used to monitor and quantify foliar and ear diseases of corn until the end of October. These data will be used to generate extension materials to educate interns and stakeholders during the fall-winter extension meetings on how grain yield and quality is effected by these diseases.   During the season, a group of interns were given hands-on training on how to soil sample for nematodes in field corn. Corn fields in several counties were sampled or resampled for nematodes, and the data (population density and species diversity) will ultimately be used to identify risk factors and develop management recommendations for these emerging pests. 

Agronomic Crop Research Experience - Steve Cullman

A new program was implemented in 2015 to train undergraduate interns to facilitate on-farm research and revive the value of scouting amongst established farmers. The Agronomic Crop Research Experience (ACRE) program is intended to immerse interns in active on-farm research, outreach and education programs with growers across the state through OSU extension. Eight undergraduate students were selected and housed in county extension offices across the state to assist and learn from local county educators how to scout insect pests, diseases, and weeds in farmers' soybean and corn fields. The interns also helped collect data from on-farm field trials including soybean cyst nematode and kudzu bug trapping that will be used in later workshops and conferences. The interns received training from state specialists numerous times throughout the experience including an initial two day workshop, two separate agronomy field days, and a final training session in Columbus. The interns increased their ability to interact and work with growers and Extension educators, gained a better understanding of specific on-farm programs and practices, and consistently rated the program as a valuable learning experience. 

We hired and trained eight undergraduates this past season to conduct various applied research and outreach programs. Each intern was given two days training at Wooster on scouting and IPM activities like soil sampling, insect identification, how to check traps, and assist with other applied research and education projects. The interns were based in OSU Extension County offices and mentored by Extension Educators. This unique internship allows them to partner with Extension staff, interact with agronomic crop producers, and learn scouting and IPM techniques.

Soybean Workshops - Laura Lindsey, Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon and Anne Dorrance

steve cullmanHelping soybean growers succeed was the focus of intensive workshops held in Huron and Muskingum Counties in 2017. The workshops were attended by 39 participants who received in depth instruction on managing insects, disease, soil fertility, and production. Participants were farmers, who represented over 37,000 acres of field crop production, and crop consultants, who provide consultation on 294,000 acres. After attending the workshop, the participants were asked to assign a value to measure the impact of knowledge received. The participants valued the workshop at an average of $10 per acre, equating to a $3 million cumulative value for the workshop. 

Three hands-on soybean workshops were held in Greene, Paulding, and Fulton County Ohio with 59 participants representing over 173,000 acres(farmed and consulted for).  The average value of the workshop was estimated by the participants at $10/acre which is a $1.7 million dollar value over the acres represented.  Prior to the workshop, participants were asked about their level of knowledge of several topics on a scale from 1-5 (1 = not very knowledgeable, 5 = very knowledgeable).  Immediately after the workshop, farmers were asked to rate their knowledge and the increase in knowledge was determined.  Topics discuss at the workshop included: yield limiting factors (average increase in knowledge of 0.8), insect management (average increase in knowledge of 1.6), seed treatments (average increase in knowledge of 1.1), and soybean cyst nematode (average yield increase in knowledge of 1.2). 


Chief personnel and activities (2013)

Anne Dorrance - Plant Pathology
Andy Michel - Entomology
Laura Lindsey, Mark Loux - Horticulture and Crop Science

Soybean Pathology- Anne Dorrance

The primary activities for this summer were focused on three disease management strategies. Field studies were established in growers fields in a replicated design.  Data was collected on the presence of SCN and charcoal rot (a), and b) disease severity of white mold.  We are still analyzing data from both field studies. 

a)     Comparison of planting populations for the influence of charcoal rot and SCN in southern Ohio (Highland and Brown County)
b)     Determine if fungicides were still needed to manage white mold when varieties with higher levels of resistance were planted

Initial outcomes.  Reducing plant populations in southern Ohio, did not impact yield.  However, the summer was too cool for substantial amounts of charcoal rot to develop at both locations. For white mold, disease severity was greatly reduced in the resistant cultivar.  It is unlikely that fungicides are necessary if the correct variety is selected.

Isolates of Pythium spp. were collected from 19 fields with extensive damping-off and seedling blight this spring.  From these, the Pythium recovered from 17 of these fields were insensitive to metalaxyl.  This indicates that the Pythium spp. in Ohio have adapted to this fungicide, and other management strategies are needed.

-Identification of Pythium spp. and metalaxyl sensitivity from isolates recovered from soybean seedlings collected from fields with very high levels of soybean damping-off.

Corn and Soybean Entomology - Andy Michel

Developing pest management for Asiatic Garden Beetle (AGB): working with Eric Richer (extension educator-Fulton Co.), we held anwestern bean cutworm AGB field day in June of 2014 (see Figures) to discuss biology and management prospects. (see video:

Western Corn Rootworm Resistance to BtA night-walk was provided in Hardin County, where much of the continuous corn acreage is produced, to focus on assessing root damage and Bt-check strip testing of corn

Kudzu Bug Sampling: with assistance of the Ohio Soybean Council, we monitored for the presences of the invasive kudzu bug in Ohio. To date, no kudzu bugs have been found

Western Bean Cutworm Trapping: We continued trapping for WBC, and found significant damage in Fulton County. 

Hands-On Soybean Workshops - Laura Lindsey, Andy Michel and Anne Dorrance

During winter 2014, the soybean team held two hands-on soybean workshops with the goal of providing farmers hands-on experiences soybean meetingin soybean agronomy, entomology, and pathology.  Dr. Laura Lindsey discussed yield-limiting factors in Ohio soybean production including soil fertility and soybean cyst nematode.  Dr. Andy Michel focused on scouting and management of stink bug pests.  Farmers passed around stink bugs and practiced identification.   Soybean pathology activities were led by Dr. Anne Dorrance which included the identification of key soybean diseases and use of foliar fungicides and seed treatments.  Attendance was limited to facilitate discussion and hands-on activities.

In 2015, we will be holding four soybean workshops in Paulding County (Jan. 20), Union County (Jan. 21), Greene County (Feb. 4), and Fulton County (Feb. 17).  The 2015 soybean workshops will feature new soil fertility specialist, Dr. Steve Culman.

Assessment of weed problems - Mark Loux

OSU weed scientists conducted an end-of-season survey in 2013 to determine the prevalence of several of the more problematic weed palmer amaranthspecies in soybean fields, followed by greenhouse screening of Amaranthus populations to assess herbicide resistance.  The survey covered 3768 fields by following transects across each of the 52 primary grain-crop producing counties.  Giant ragweed and horseweed continued to be the primary weeds escaping herbicide programs, and were observed in 23 and 35% of the fields surveyed, respectively.  Common ragweed and redroot pigweed occurred at a much lower rate, in 3 and 4% of the fields, respectively.  Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth were not observed in the survey, but seed samples were obtained from several infested fields based on information provided by clientele.  Greenhouse screening of collected and submitted Amaranthus populations determined the presence of resistance to group 2 herbicides in most populations and resistance to group 14 in several populations; subsequent studies are further characterizing this resistance.  Glyphosate resistance was not evident in any Ohio populations of redroot pigweed, waterhemp, or Palmer amaranth.