Ohio Farmer

Program asks farmers to test soil health for research

Ohio Bits: Molded fiber facility coming to the state; Ohio Ag Council awards scholarships.

May 24, 2023

3 Min Read

Improving soil health can provide a variety of benefits, including improved water infiltration, increased water-holding capacity and increased nutrient availability. However, it can be challenging to quantify these benefits in the field.

With funding from Ohio Soybean Checkoff, the eFields program is continuing an effort to help better understand how management practices influence soil health and crop yields. Ohio State Extension has worked to identify a few soil tests that can provide helpful indicators of improved soil health.

Though several health tests exist, this study uses tests that are simple, economical and repeatable. The research project is looking for farmers interested in soil health and who want to participate in a statewide field survey collecting soil health data from fields under various management practices — specifically conventional tillage, no-till, manure application and cover cropping. The results from this effort will be used to guide recommendations for improving soil health on Ohio farms.

Based on the past few years of soil health survey data in Ohio, there has been a trend toward increased corn and soybean yields as the soil health indicators for respiration and POXC increase. As expected, soil properties varied greatly across all soil samples collected so far.

Fifty percent of the soils had optimal pH values (6.0-6.8), and most soils had sufficient Mehilch-3 phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) values. In general, soil test levels were in optimal ranges for grain crops in Ohio. Soil organic matter ranged from 0.1% to 9.8% for these soils, with 50% of the values falling below and 50% of the values falling above 2.2% (median value).

Soil health measures that reflect biologically active organic matter values varied greatly, with median values of 496 mg/kg for POXC, 46.5 mg/kg for respiration and 4.4 g/kg for soil protein. To learn more about previous soil health work, visit go.osu.edu/efields.

If you are interested in learning more about participating in eFields trials focused on soil health, reach out to your local Extension educator or email [email protected]. For more information about the soil health indicators and how to use them, visit go.osu.edu/MeasureSH.

Specialty molded fiber facility coming to Ohio

TekniPlex Consumer Products is expanding its molded fiber solutions sector by announcing plans for a new manufacturing facility in Ohio.

Planned to commence operations in early 2024, and with room for future expansion, the 200,000-square-foot specialty molded fiber solutions facility will further expand the company’s capacity and capabilities in this sustainability-minded niche, with a variety of products including high-performance egg cartons. This new technology, the company says, allows for stronger, better-quality egg cartons to enhance egg protection.

For TekniPlex, the facility — its eighth in the specialty molded fiber sector — is the latest in its molded fiber market push, one now comprising some $350 million in investments.

Molded fiber is a renewable bio-based material derived from 100% natural, typically recycled paper and cardboard fibers, making it highly attractive to brands seeking to expand their bio-based packaging offerings.

Ohio Ag Council awards 6 scholarships

Each year, the Ohio Agricultural Council offers up to three $1,500 scholarships annually to Ohio high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree in agriculture, and up to three $1,500 scholarships to undergraduate college students from Ohio who are currently pursuing a degree in agriculture.

OAC is pleased to announce the 2023-24 recipients of the scholarship program:

  • Haven Hileman of Stout, Ohio

  • Lauren Mellott of Butler, Ohio

  • Laura Wuebker of Versailles, Ohio

  • Joseph Bruns of Anna, Ohio

  • Adeline Kendle of New Philadelphia, Ohio

  • Adrianna Meyer of Swanton, Ohio

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