The 2nd Western Ohio Manure Application Technology (WOMAT) Field Day was held on July 31st at the Homan Barn and surrounding fields. Big thanks to the Homan Equipment staff, Kevin Homan, and Dale Goettemoeller for letting us overrun the company grounds and farm fields. This field day is important to show how producers can apply manure outside of traditional seasons – pre planting and post harvest. About 110 people attended the field day, including producers, crop advisors, livestock advisors, and conservation employees, among others. The potential benefits of applying manure to standing crop include additional time to spread manure and nutrient utilization by the growing crop. The event began with speakers covering the PED virus in pigs, Senate Bill 150, and how to manage farms for the best nutrient utilization. A lunch fundraiser was provided by the Marion Local FFA. There were two demonstration sessions, one in the early afternoon and a repeat in the evening. Several pieces of custom manure application were demonstrated. Equipment included a tanker with various implements mounted on the toolbar, two custom VIT units, and a demonstration of drag hose on standing corn.

Corn seed was donated by Mercer Landmark. The standing corn was flattened with the drag hose to demonstrate the bounce back of the young corn. Fifteen different types of cover crop seeds and seed mixtures were donated by Burtch Seeds. Manure was not applied to cover crops, but a waste water irrigation gun was demonstrated on the cover crops. Cover crop seed signs were left up so producers and other interested people can see how the cover crops move through the fall and into winter. We hope to continue this field day in the future to demonstrate to local farmers, certified applicators, and others what new technology – be it industrially developed or a custom creation – is available to increase time and efficiency in applying manure on cropland.

Other exciting news on the SWCD front is that the 2014 Mercer County Banner Fair was a success last week. Despite the mini flood on Monday, lots of learning was to be had. The theme was Soil: Digging Deeper. Along with getting your fingers buttery from the free popcorn, fairgoers had the opportunity to touch and feel the difference between sand, silt, and clay. Other activities within the tent included: answering the Soil Question of the Day correctly for a chance to win a free soil sample test; comparing the difference between six soil monoliths: lawn, pasture, fencerow, woods, no-tilled ground, and conventionally-tilled ground; guessing the Mystery Farm photos; and looking at the new additions to the mini farm. Seven correct guesses from the Mystery Farm photos won the coveted Plat book.

More exciting news?! The 70th annual Mercer SWCD Annual Banquet will be on September 28th at the fairgrounds. All I’m going to say for now is: picnic and bouncy house.

– Submitted by Abbey Tobe

GLWWA Watershed Coordinator

Mercer SWCD