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Soybean farmers strategically invest in key supply chain link

As Ohio soybean farmers continue to tackle this year’s unprecedented challenges in growing and marketing a crop, it remains essential to maintain and improve the transportation system used to get their products to markets around the world. With that in mind, the United Soybean Board (USB) recently announced a $2 million allocation to help offset the planning, design, and research costs of deepening the lower Mississippi River from 45 feet to 50 feet.

According to the Soy Transportation Coalition (STC), dredging this part of the river would allow for larger and/or more heavily loaded ships and decrease transportation costs of soybeans from Mississippi Gulf export terminals by 13 cents. This could mean an additional $34 million for Ohio soybean farmers annually as a result of improved basis levels.

The 256-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to the Gulf of Mexico accounts for 60% of U.S. soybean exports, along with 59% of corn exports — by far the leading export region for both commodities.

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Tax planning in an unusual year — Prevented planting indemnity payments, Market Facilitation payments and cost-share payments

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management & Director, Ohio State University Income Tax Schools

With unprecedented amounts of prevented planting insurance claims this year in Ohio and other parts of the Midwest, many producers will be considering different tax management strategies in dealing with this unusual income stream. In a normal year, producers have flexibility in how they generate and report income. In a year such as this when they will have a large amount of income from insurance indemnity payments the flexibility is greatly reduced. In a normal year a producer may sell a part of grain produced in the year of production and store the remainder until the following year to potentially take advantage of higher prices and/or stronger basis. For example, a producer harvests 200,000 bushels of corn in 2019, sells 100,000 bushels this year and the remainder in 2020. As most producers use the cash method of accounting and file taxes as a cash based filer, the production sold in the following year is reported as income in that year and not in the year of production.

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Noxious weeds in cover crop seed and seed germination

By Alexander Lindsey, Laura Lindsey, Mark Loux, Anne Dorrance, Stan Smith, John Armstrong, Ohio State University Extension

Seed quality is key to establishing a good crop (or cover crop). Some of the critical components of seed quality are percent germination, mechanical analysis for purity (% other crops, % inert, and % weeds), and a listing of noxious weeds identified by scientific/common name and quantity found. As producers are looking for seed sources to provide living cover on acreage this year that was previously earmarked for corn or soybeans, it is important to pay attention to the quality. These tests may also be required on seed lots for use in some relief programs as well. Commercial or certified seed used for cover crops should have a seed tag that shows variety and the seed quality measurements above. However, if the seed is sourced from out of state, the noxious weeds listed (or NOT listed) on the tag by name may differ from those had the seed been sourced from Ohio.

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Wheat harvest jumps from last week, lags behind a year ago

There was abundant field activity last week as temperatures remained above normal and rainfall was very light, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. There were a season high 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 14.
Clear skies allowed farmers to spray herbicides and side dress fields where necessary. Corn leaves were rolling on sandy soils and in hot, dry areas of the State. Soybean and corn conditions improved slightly from the prior week as the rains slowed and fields dried out. Reports of corn and soybean replanting meant varying levels of plant progress within some fields and overall delayed maturity.
Wheat combines rolled quickly, as wheat harvested progress was up 35 percentage points from the prior week. Oat condition improved slightly from the prior week as 42 percent of the crop was rated in good to excellent condition. The hot, dry weather was good for making hay last week.
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Two Ohio wheat farmers leading the nation both near and far

By Joel Penhorwood

Though Ohio is not a top state for wheat production, the state continues to be a hotbed for national leaders in agriculture. A pair of farmers in Ohio have taken their wheat expertise to the national level this year as they each are currently serving as chairs of their national organizations.

Doug Goyings of Paulding and Rachael Vonderhaar of Camden are chair people of the U.S. Wheat Associates and Wheat Foods Council, respectively. They by no means selected an easy year for organization leadership in these groups as a multitude of issues face the industry nationwide, along with unique seasonal challenges here at home.

“I’m a fourth-generation farmer,” said Doug Goyings, chair of the U.S. Wheat Associates. “My great-great-grandpa, he came here in 1886 — actually the farmstead where my son lives now. I followed my grandfather’s, great-grandfather’s, and my father’s steps, and I’ve grown the farm considerably since then.

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Soybean problems showing up

By Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist

We have multiple planting dates in Ohio this year with soybeans in all different growth stages. This can create challenges when management decisions are based on the stage of crop development.

For soybeans that are flowering, there was a confirmed report of frogeye leaf spot. If the soybeans in the field are in good health then managing this disease is often cost effective on susceptible varieties. Scouting between R2/R3, if frogeye is easy to find on the newly expanded leaves a fungicide application is warranted. There are many fungicides available with fair to very good efficacy. The one caveat is in Ohio we have identified strains of the fungus that causes frogeye leaf spot that is resistant to strobilurin fungicides, so choose a product that has another mode-of-action.

For soybeans that are in the early seedling stages that have continued to get these saturating rains, damping-off is occurring.

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USDA numbers neutral on July 11

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

What will USDA give us today? How will they affect my bottom line?

That is the gargantuan (adjective for the day) question farmers are asking. They continue to be in shock with the most surprising corn acres number provided with the June 28 Acres Report. This report had U.S. corn acres at 91.7 million acres while soybean acres were estimated at 80 million acres. What happened to prevent planted corn acres talked about for weeks ahead of that report? Corn acres were a huge bearish surprise, with December CBOT corn closing down 19 ½ cents at $4.31 ½ on the June 28 report day. Trader estimates ahead of the report estimated corn acres at 86-87 million acres. Soybean acres were a huge bullish surprise as the November CBOT soybeans closed at $9.23, up 10 ¾ cents that same day. Trader estimates had been 84 million acres.

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USDA extends spring-seeded crop reporting deadline in Ohio, 11 other states

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the deadline for agricultural producers in states impacted by flooding and heavy moisture. The new July 22 deadline applies to producers in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin for reporting spring-seeded crops to USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices and crop insurance agents.

“These are challenging times for farmers, and we are here to help,” said Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “This deadline extension is part of our broader effort to increase program flexibility and reduce overall regulatory burden for producers who are having to make some tough choices for their operations.”

Producers not in the selected states must file reports or be added to a county register by the original July 15 deadline.

“While producers in many parts of the country are experiencing a challenging spring and early summer, these states are seeing an especially large number of producers delayed in planting and unable to complete their other fieldwork,” Northey said.

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Soybeans as a cover crop

From the USDA RMA website (https://www.rma.usda.gov/News-Room/Frequently-Asked-Questions/Prevented-Planting-Flooding)

 

  1. Can I plant a cover crop of the same crop I was prevented from planting? Or in other words, can I use the seed I have on hand (corn, soybeans, wheat) to plant a cover crop as long as it’s at a lower seeded rate that qualifies for cover crop?
  2. Yes. An acceptable cover crop must be generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement is planted at the recommended seeding rate, etc. The cover crop may be the same crop prevented from planting and may still retain eligibility for a prevented planting payment. The cover crop planted cannot be used for harvest as seed or grain.”

Soybean is an acceptable cover crop as it is agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement.

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More on the RMA cover crop harvest date change

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

With many farmers in Ohio unable to plant before the Final Planting Date for crop insurance, questions are arising about planting and harvesting cover crops on those prevented planting acres. USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) rules allow operators to plant cover crops on prevented planting acres and to hay, graze, or cut the cover crops for silage after the posted “harvest date.” In previous years, the harvest date for cover crops was Nov. 1.  If an operator harvested the cover crop before that date, the prevented plant payment would be reduced from 100% to 35%.

The RMA has changed the harvest date for 2019, however. In response to reduced livestock feed supplies that will result from the loss of planted acres this year, the RMA has moved up the cover crop harvest date to September 1.

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Study highlights nitrogen efficiency gains in corn hybrids over 70 years

During the past 70 years, hybrid corn varieties have increased both yield and nitrogen use efficiency at nearly the same pace, largely by preserving leaf function during grain filling. The Purdue University study’s findings offer strategies for corn breeders who want to continue to improve yields and nutrient efficiencies.

Decades of genetic improvements in corn have led to a fourfold increase in grain yield since the 1930s, before hybrids were widely used. But those yields also required increases in nitrogen application, and loss of excess nitrogen can damage water and air quality as well as wildlife.

Tony Vyn, the Corteva Agriscience Henry A. Wallace Chair in Crop Sciences and a professor in Purdue’s Department of Agronomy, wanted to know how corn plants have historically utilized nitrogen — especially in reproductive growth — so that breeders can make informed decisions with future hybrids. He and his former doctoral student, Sarah Mueller, obtained seed and grew seven commercially important Pioneer hybrids, approximately one from each decade between 1946 and 2015.

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Fungicide applications to late planted crops

By John Schoenhals, Pioneer Field Agronomist in northern Ohio

Fungicide applications to corn and soybeans is an important management practice in an “average” year, but what about in 2019, a year

in which many corn and soybean acres were planted much later than normal? To answer this question, it is important to understand the role and function of fungicides.

Leaves serve as a “factory” for the plant, collecting sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce sugars used for grainfill. Healthy leaves produce sufficient amounts of sugars to meet grainfill needs as well as support plant health.

When plant diseases are present, the efficiency of this factory is reduced. If the demand for sugars is greater than what an unhealthy plant can produce, grain yield is reduced and overall plant health will rapidly decline as cannibalization of stalks takes place.

When fungicide applications occur, the leaf “factory” is protected from further disease development for a period of at least two to three weeks.

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USDA adds flexibility for cover crop management in 2020

The 2018 Farm Bill mandated changes to the treatment of cover crops for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs, which add more flexibility to when cover crops must be terminated while remaining eligible for crop insurance. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Risk Management Agency (RMA) developed new guidelines and policy provisions to enact these changes, which will be available beginning with the 2020 crop year. With these changes, NRCS is now recognized as an agricultural expert resource for cover crop management systems.

“USDA is working to quickly implement the 2018 Farm Bill to better serve our customers,” said Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “These new guidelines will provide more flexibility for our customers who want to plant cover crops to meet their production and conservation goals for their farms.”

Producers now know up front that insurance will attach at time of planting the insured crop.

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MFP funding for cover crops

Though it initially did not appear to include funding for cover crops, it was announced on July 1 that farmers prevented from planting corn or soybeans can now sow a cover crop and still be eligible to receive federal trade assistance through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). This aid is in addition to crop insurance payments on those acres.

The change in policy on cover crops from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is one of several allowances the agency has made in recent weeks to assist farmers in the Midwest.

MFP was created to help offset growers’ losses as a result of the recent, international tariffs on U.S. goods. USDA has targeted a little over $14 billion in MFP payments for the 2019 growing season in order to ease the impact the ongoing trade dispute with China is having on U.S. farmers. The first of three rounds of payments is due in either late July or early August.

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Ohio Farm Service Agency Extends prevented plant crop reporting deadline in 76 counties to July 15 for producers without insurance or NAP coverage

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is extending the prevented plant crop reporting deadline for Ohio producers affected by spring flooding and excessive moisture.

Producers without crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage in certain counties now have until July 15, 2019, to report acres they intended to plant this spring but could not due to weather conditions. Counties include: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Champaign, Clark, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Darke, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Gallia, Greene, Guernsey, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henry, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Huron, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Morrow, Noble, Ottawa, Paulding, Perry, Pickaway, Portage, Putnam, Richland, Sandusky, Scioto/Pike, Seneca, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Union, Van Wert, Vinton, Washington, Wayne, Williams, Wood and Wyandot counties. The new deadline coincides with the July 15, 2019, FSA crop acreage reporting deadline that is already in place.

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Make the best of a bad spring

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

Spring of 2019 is one everyone would soon like to forget. However, as the growing season progresses, there are several areas of crop growth and development that could be impacted because of the wet field conditions and delayed field work.

In many areas field conditions were marginal at best for the duration of April, May, and June. As a result, field work was performed in wet soils. Although many growers feel they never had adequate conditions and to perform field work, it is important to keep in mind that throughout the growing season we are going to see why agronomists warn against field work in wet soils. Root-restricting compaction is a concern this growing season and evidence of compaction’s significant impact on crop development appeared shortly after emergence of corn this year. In fields where corn was planted under wet conditions, sidewall compaction is evidenced by roots that can only grow in the direction of the seed furrow because they are unable to penetrate the sidewall of the furrow.

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Cover crops following prevented planting

Growers who opt not to plant corn or soybeans this year because of consistently wet fields would be best off not leaving those fields bare, according to an expert at The Ohio State University.

A bare field is a vulnerable field, subject to losing its valuable, nutrient-rich layer of topsoil because wind can blow the topsoil away and rain can wash it away, said Sarah Noggle, an educator with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

And a field without a crop is an open invitation for weeds to take over, making it harder to prevent weeds the next time a crop is planted there, Noggle said.

Planting a cover crop such as oats, buckwheat, or cereal rye to have something on the field is a wise choice, she said. In addition to helping slow soil erosion, cover crops can improve soil health.

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Hay inventory severely low across Midwest

Excessive rainfall has not only hindered soybean and corn farmers’ attempts to plant, but has contributed to a near record-low level of hay to feed livestock in Ohio and across the Midwest.

The hay inventory in Ohio has dipped to the fourth lowest level in the 70 years of reporting inventory, leaving farmers struggling to find ways to keep their animals well fed, said Stan Smith, a program assistant in agriculture and natural resources for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The situation is not much different across the Midwest, where some livestock owners are having to pay much higher prices for animal feed.

“We’re all in the same boat. There’s very little stored hay in the Midwest, and there’s been very little opportunity to harvest more. It’s a huge challenge,” Smith said.

Ideally, hay should be dry when it’s baled.

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Using corn as a cover crop

By Peter Thomison, Ben Brown, Sam Custer, Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA, Sarah Noggle, Mark Sulc, Eric Richer, CCA, Harold Watters, CPAg/CCA, Kelley Tilmon, and Anne Dorrance

Based on information from across the Corn Belt, including states where they have more experience with delayed planting of corn (University of Wisconsin – http://wisccorn.blogspot.com/2019/06/B102.html) and Iowa State University – https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/cropnews/2019/05/cover-crop-options-prevented-planting-fields), these are our best recommendations for using corn as a cover crop.

Although the yield potential of corn planted in July for grain and silage is very low, corn makes an excellent “emergency” forage when planted in July. Moreover, unlike some other forage crops, Ohio producers know how to grow it. We also are aware of limited seed supply for several alternatives that typically could be used. Farmers should consult with their insurance agent to see if harvesting as forage will affect any current or future insurance payments on prevented plant acres.

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