Capturing Nature’s Wonders workshop set for May 6

By Deborah Reinhart Brown - Ag update

Capturing Nature’s Wonders, a full-day-class-plus-evening-field-trip on how to take outdoor photography to the next level, will be held on Saturday, May 6, at the OSU Mansfield Campus. Intensive classroom preparation and then ‘real time’ instruction in the field will help participants learn simple steps that make the difference between ordinary snapshots and extraordinary photos.

Some of the information to be taught includes: Metering – the first big step toward great images; Depth of Field – the doorway to dramatic images; how to “read” and “work with the light” to put magic in your images; creating images that your eyes can’t see; Wildlife Photography; how to create beautiful flower images; night and low light photography; and Outdoor Photography – documentary vs fine art.

The workshop will be held 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with the outdoor field trip from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $90 which includes both lunch and dinner. Class size is limited to 12, so register early! More information, a brochure, and registration information is available at

While I know there aren’t a lot of full-time pasture operations in this part of the state, there still are a lot of acres of forages grown for harvest. If you need to seed a new field, this month – April – is one of the two preferred times to seed perennial cool-season forages. (The other preferred timing for cool-season grasses and legumes is in August here in Ohio. Yes, I learned that “years ago” in my “Forages” class: The “A” months!) Of course, the two primary difficulties with spring plantings are finding a good window of opportunity when soils are dry enough and isn’t too late, and managing those weed infestations that are usually more difficult with spring plantings.

Well, our Forages Expert, Marc Sulc has shared some tips to improve the chances for successful forage establishment in the spring. He says to make sure soil pH and fertility are in the recommended ranges. Forages are more productive where soil pH is above 6.0, but for alfalfa it should be 6.5 – 6.8. If seedings are to include alfalfa, and soil pH is not at least 6.5, it would be better to apply lime now and delay establishing alfalfa until late summer. (You can plant an annual grass forage in the meantime.)

We need to plant high quality seed of known varietal source adapted to our region. Lower quality seed often results in lower quality forage and shorter stand life. We should be seeding in April as soon as it is possible to prepare a good seedbed to allow the forage seedlings the best opportunity to get a jump on weeds and to be established before summer stress sets in. Late April/first of May is the “cut-off” for this area of the state.

The ideal seedbed for conventional seedings is smooth, firm, and weed-free, but not overworked soil! Too much tillage depletes moisture and increases the risk of surface crusting. Drills with press wheels are the best choice. When seeding without press wheels or broadcasting seed, cultipack before and after dropping the seed, in the same direction as the seeder was driven.

Seed needs to be planted ¼ to ½ inch deep, in good contact with the soil. Marc indicated that in his experience, finding some seed on the surface indicates most of the seed is at the right depth.

Scout new seedings weekly for the first six to eight weeks for any developing weed or insect problems. Weed competition during the first six weeks is most damaging to stand establishment. Potato leafhopper damage on legumes can be a concern beginning in late May to early June.

By Deborah Reinhart Brown

Ag update

The writer can be reached at the OSU Extension office (937-498-7239) or by email at

The writer can be reached at the OSU Extension office (937-498-7239) or by email at