The Ohio Ag Net annual Ohio Crop Tour is underway this week. The tour takes a trip down I-75 and I-71 with a team of farmers to sample crops from across the state. The I-75 leg is where you’ll find Hardin County Farmer, Paul Ralston. The West leg of the tour is covering 22 counties. The two groups converge in Clinton County to compare notes.
Ralston, who is a licensed drone pilot, uses his unmanned aerial vehicle to fly over fields on the tour.
“We’re only walking into edges of fields and trying to get a representative sample. You put that drone up and you really see what’s going on in these fields.” Said Ralston.
Ralston notes that our region has had a challenging growing season. He says the tour is finding disease in both corn and beans due to the wet weather early on in the season. The group is also seeing Nitrogen deficiency in fields.
Ralston said he expected variability as the group moved to Hancock County, but says the county also saw much of the similar rains that may not have damaged the crops as much, but now drought-like conditions can be observed from the northern portion of the state.
Ralston says the crops maybe doing better than expected.
“I think there's more crops than what most people think. I would’be guessed Ohio to come in the 160 range. We were just in Defiance County and it was just over 200 [bushels per acre].”
In Allen County, Ralston notes that the group observed Japanese beetles that had infested corn and bean crops, but Ralston notes that the insect pressure is nothing of major concern.