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Soybean demand remains uncertain

By Todd Hubbs, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics University of Illinois

The USDA released the first projections for U.S. corn and soybean supply and demand in the 2020-21 marketing year on May 12. The forecasts for soybeans showed higher ending stocks this marketing year with a substantial decrease in the next marketing year’s ending stocks. While the prospects for this year’s crop come to the forefront, the consumption projections reflect the potential market size and merit consideration.

Current marketing year ending stocks increased to 580 million bushels due to a 100 million bushel drop in soybean exports. Total consumption for the 2019-20 marketing year is forecast at 3.901 billion bushels, down 70 million bushels from 2018-19. The initial forecast of soybean use for the 2020-21 marketing year came in at 4.315 billion bushels. Driven by an expectation of exports at 2.05 billion bushels, consumption near this level last occurred in 2017-18 before the onset of the trade war.… Continue reading

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Avoid the knee-jerk reaction

By Andy Westhoven, Regional Agronomist, CPAg, CCA, AgriGold

I realize it is now mid-May and plenty of corn and soybean fields have been planted, but avoiding the knee-jerk reaction actually applies to the entire growing season —

not just at planting. Many farmers (including me) have very short-term memories. The last thing we need to do is base our decisions solely off 2019. Coupled with the frightening facts of the virus pandemic and market decreases — staying with the plan is the best action to take.

Many areas that experienced prevent plant acres know full well there would not be a repeat in 2020. My own farm had only a third of the acres planted and, regardless of the environment(s) this spring, crops will be planted. So far this season, many small pockets were able to plant early while others waited on the sidelines. The planter is the most important pass of the season and no one enjoys a redo.… Continue reading

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Crimping cover crops

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Crop roller “crimping” has become a common way to mechanically terminate cover crops.  Crimpers are used to kill grass cover crops (cereal rye, barley, wheat, sorghum, Sudan, pearl millet), vetches (hairy and common), annual clovers (crimson and balansa), buckwheat,  and multi-species cover crops. Crimpers do not work well with perennial cover crops like red clover, alfalfa, or annual ryegrass as a cover crop.  The best results occur on annual cover crops when the heads or flowers are in the “boot” or head stage, near the end of the plant growth cycle.

Crimpers are 16-inch rolling steel drums with blunt steel blades either tractor pulled or front mounted.  As the crimper rolls through a cover crop, the blunt blade “crimps” or injures plant stems every 7 inches.

Roller Crimper, photo courtesy of Hoorman Soil Health Services

The blades are usually curved or positioned in a “chevron” pattern  at a 7-100 angle to reduce bouncing, soil movement, and to increase maximum plant stem crimping pressure.   

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Burndown and residual herbicide issues

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension

Depending upon where you are in the state, it’s possible right now to be experiencing delays in getting anything done, progress in planting but delays in herbicide application, weather too dry to activate residual herbicides, and/or reduced burndown herbicide effectiveness on big weeds due to cold weather — what’s become a typical Ohio spring. Some information relative to questions that OSU Extension educators have passed on to us:

1. Residual herbicides and rainfall. Residual herbicides do vary in the relative amounts of rain needed for “activation,” or adequate movement into the soil to reach germinating seeds. Most growers are applying mixtures or premixes of several products, so we’re not sure these diiferences are as important as the overriding principle here. Residual herbicide treatments need to receive a half to one inch of rain within a week or so after tillage or an effective burndown treatment, to control weeds that can will start to emerge at that time.… Continue reading

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Managing head scab with fungicides Q&A

By Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

Most of the wheat in the northern half of the state is still between Feekes growth stage 8 (early flag leaf emergence) and 9 (full flag leaf emergence), but in the southern half of the state, wheat is much further along. Malting barley is even further along than wheat, and will soon be approaching the heading growth stage. Understandably, given the wet weather we have had so far this season, folks are asking questions about head scab and vomitoxin. Based on some of the questions I have been asked over the years, here are a few things to remember and consider as you make your head scab management decision.

Q: What should I apply for head scab and vomitoxin control?

A: Prosaro, Caramba, or Miravis Ace. In my experience, they are just as effective when applied at the correct growth stage.

Q: What is the correct growth stage for applying a fungicide to control vomitoxin and head scab?… Continue reading

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Corteva announces Brevant to replace Mycogen brand

Corteva Agriscience announced the launch of a brand-new seed brand for the U.S.

Brevant seeds is a bold, high-performance corn and soybean brand that is exclusive to retail in the Midwest and Eastern Corn Belt. Brevant will replace Mycogen Seeds as the primary retail seed brand from Corteva.

“To retailers and their customers, Brevant brings a completely new and unique opportunity. It’s people and it’s proven products from an organization that truly cares about your individual success,” said Jason Dodd, general manager for Brevant. “Having access to this germplasm pool for retail has never been possible broadly in the past. The genetic diversity that is now available is a great new advantage.”

Brevant will offer more than 200 corn hybrids and soybean varieties with the latest trait technology solutions.

“Brevant is rooted in more than a century of U.S. ag experience, science and support, and we’ve built Brevant for farmers who prefer the service and local expertise the retailer brings to their farm,” said Mike Lozier, marketing leader for Brevant.… Continue reading

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Developing elite genetics

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Sixteen years ago, this month, when Reid Rice was walking across the stage as a graduate from high school in Wauseon, Ohio, he never would have guessed just a decade later, he would be a research scientist and plant breeder for Corteva Agriscience at a location, just a few miles south of their family farm. For the past six years, Rice has been leading soybean research for Corteva (formerly DuPont Pioneer) at their research center just north of Napoleon, Ohio.

“The breeding objective at the Napoleon research center is focused on soybeans with a relative maturity of 2.6 to 3.9 for the target production environment (TPE) found in Ohio, Southeast Michigan, and Northeast Indiana,” Rice said. “We have done a lot of work in the past on agronomic traits, herbicide resistance, and high oils like the Plenish soybeans.”

While developing elite varieties that can maximize a farmer’s yield is the first priority, Rice said that an important component of that is the screening for protection from yield robing disease, such as soybean cyst nematode (SCN), Phytophthora sojae, brown stem rot, White Mold, and sudden death syndrome (SDS).

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Ohio soybean disease monitoring

By Carol Brown, United Soybean Board database communications

Ohio farmers can be grateful that Anne Dorrance is working on their behalf. The soybean research and extension pathologist at Ohio State University has been monitoring soybeans across the state for the appearance of diseases including frogeye leaf spot in addition to her teaching and administrative requirements.

With funding support from the Ohio Soybean Council, she is monitoring for diseases and studying ways to mitigate them.

Anne Dorrance OSU Soybean Researcher Field Leader
Dr. Anne Dorrance, OSU Plant Pathologist

“It is my commitment to the Council to keep on top of any disease that might come into the state,” Dorrance said. “Their funding has enabled me to monitor for all diseases and their potential yield losses, and also run the experiments to detect when there is fungicide resistance in the state.”

Dorrance is involved with many research projects in the state and the Midwest, and this project allows her and her students to move with the surge when a plant disease emerges and to shift resources quickly within the season.

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Communicating in crisis: Your relationship with ag retailers webinar, Thursday, May 14

COVID-19 has profoundly affected every aspect of daily life, including the critical supply chain from retailer to farmer. The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and soybean checkoff, in partnership with the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA), is presenting the webinar Communicating in crisis: Your relationship with ag retailers, Thursday, May 14 at 11:00 a.m.

This free webinar will feature three ag retail representatives sharing how their companies are balancing the need to ensure safety with the reality of growing our nation’s food.

Jedd Bookman, Safety & Risk Coordinator, Sunrise Cooperative; Rodney Gilliland, Vice President of Sales and Supply, Morral Companies; and Bill Wallbrown, CEO, Deerfield Ag Service will discuss the following topics:

  • How are retailers adapting to the challenges of COVID-19?
  • What steps are retailers taking to reduce risk for their employees and their customers?
  • What are the best practices for farmers when working with retailers?

Register now at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5094436900911010061

We hope you will join us for this important and informative discussion presented by the Ohio Soybean Council and Checkoff and the Ohio AgriBusiness Association. 

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Soybean seeding rate considerations

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

The spring planting season in 2020 has started very different from that of a year ago. In some parts of Ohio, planting is well along, while in others, it is just getting started. As farmers head to the field to plant soybeans, the low commodity prices are in their minds. One way farmers have been attempting to reduce the cost of production is by lowering seeding rates for soybeans.

“Ohio State University Extension has been doing a good deal of soybean seeding rate research across the state for the past three years with the e-Fields program. Research has been done for 6 or 7 years in Western Ohio, and what we are finding is that farmers are typically moving that seeding rate down to a population of around 120,000 seeds per acre at planting, across the state,” said Sam Custer, assistant director for Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Ohio State University Extension educator in Darke County.… Continue reading

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Soil inoculants

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

As planting season starts, some farmers are applying soil bio-inoculants to promote improved plant growth.  Dr. Jay Johnson (retired), former OSU fertility specialist, touted inoculating soybeans with Rhizobium bacteria yearly to increase soybeans yields 1-2 bushels. The Rhizobium bacteria increased nitrogen in soybean nodules which improved crop yields. Today, many farmers are experimenting with soil bio-inoculants with variable results.  Evaluating and using soil inoculants requires some careful management to be successful.

Underneath a single footprint exists more soil microbes than humans in the world!  Soil microbes and plant roots evolved together, feeding each other, and  require certain environmental conditions to flourish.  Most beneficial soil microbes and plants require well aerated soils with high levels of soil organic matter (SOM).  Farmers converting from conventional tillage systems to no-till generally get the most benefit from soil bio-inoculants.  Conventional tilled soils may be too wet, lack enough oxygen or be low in SOM to support the soil microbes long-term. 

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Cold weather weed concerns

By Matt Reese

As wet, cold, windy weather lingers into May for much of Ohio, there are growing concerns about the growing weeds in unplanted fields.

“We always get questions about the cold weather. We had a warm winter and we actually have winter annuals larger than they have been in other years. I have been hearing about chickweed that is 8 to 10 inches tall, which makes for a really challenging burndown situation. A lot of times, you can take those down really fast in warm weather with the right herbicides,” said Mark Loux, Ohio State University herbicide specialist. “Cool weather is a big concern and then wet weather is another challenge. It is hard to give really concrete guidelines in this situation. If it is hitting freezing at night, cloudy in the day and 40 or 50 degrees, that is obviously not a good situation to spray and you probably want to wait that out.… Continue reading

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MRTN — Maximum Return To N

By Harold Watters, CCA, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Current recommendations from Ohio State University use an economic model to set our corn nitrogen rate. The Maximum Return To N (MRTN) concept was developed by soil fertility specialists from across the north central region as a Corn Belt wide approach to nitrogen rates.

For us we use data from trials in Ohio so we also have our weather included as part of the equation. And we factor in the price of nitrogen and the value of corn to bring in the economics. I see that our best economic return to nitrogen for $3.50 corn (I’m still optimistic) and $0.40 per pound of N is about 168 pounds of N/A. With a range of about 15 pounds to either side giving us about the same economic return — within $1. You may also gain efficiency by delaying the bulk of you N application until side dress timing.… Continue reading

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How and When to Plant No-till Soybeans

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Services

Planting no-till can be tricky and scary! Successful no-till depends on having fully functioning healthy soils and efficient nitrogen (N) recycling.  Fully functioning soils have higher soil organic matter (SOM) especially the active carbon, sugars, and root exudates  from live roots that allows the soil to crumble.  This leads to good soil structure, improved  drainage, increases water infiltration, and higher soil gas exchange. This aerobic (more oxygen) environment plus the food source (live cover crop (CC) roots) changes the microbial community from one dominated by bacteria (conventional soils, often anaerobic (no oxygen)) to a balanced system with beneficial fungi (mycorrhizal), good nematodes, healthy aerobic bacteria, and protozoa.  The “no-till time line” or transition period is often 3-7 years depending upon how fast and aggressive cover crops, continuous no-till, and manure have been used to promote a fully functioning healthy soil.

Soybeans are hardy, easy, and most simple crop to no-till. 

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Head scab on wheat

By Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

It is still too early to apply a fungicide to manage head scab. Use the scab forecast system (http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/) to monitor concerns. If you plan to spray for head scab, Prosaro or Caramba may be your fungicide of choice. The new fungicide, Miravis Ace, which seems to be just as effective as Prosaro and Caramba based on a limited number of trials, may not yet be widely available. STAY AWAY from the strobilurins when it comes to head scab management. These fungicides tend to increase rather than reduce vomitoxin contamination.

I know that the idea of “protecting the crop” with a “preventative treatment” seems to suggest that the fungicide has to be applied before the crop reaches the critical growth stage — flowering in the case of wheat. But results from more than 20 years of scab research show that you are better off applying a few days “late” rather than a few days “early.” Remember, with head scab you are also trying to reduce grain contamination with vomitoxin, and fungicides are certainly more effective against this toxin when applied at or 4 to 6 days after flowering for wheat.… Continue reading

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Good plant stand is a must for high corn yields

By Dave Nanda, Ph.D., Seed Genetics Direct director of genetics

With all the bad news about the coronavirus this year, we need a miracle. It is really a miracle of nature that a puny little seedling can grow into a big, tall corn plant within a couple of months. The most crucial time in the life of a corn plant is the seedling stage. If we understand how our crops grow, we can do a better job of meeting their needs and improve the odds for getting higher yields. Let’s look at what happens as the young corn plants develop.

Stage V1 to V2 — corn seedlings need 110 to 120 growing degrees to germinate and emerge. The seedlings emerge when coleoptile, the spear-like leaf, pierces thru the ground. First and second leaves develop six to seven days after the seedlings emerge. The first roots start to supply water and nutrients to the young seedlings.… Continue reading

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Ten practices for increasing corn yields and profits

By Harold Watters, CCA, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

The cropping season (a.k.a. late winter) is dragging along a bit slowly. Typically our best crops are planted between April 20 and May 10 — but we usually start a little earlier than the May 20. This year that won’t happen for many of us. What I do know is that the sun will get higher and higher in latitude and will change the weather pattern we are in. We will have a growing season, and we will get planted. I like to look over my corn reminders this time of year just to keep things in perspective and want to share them again. These are from Peter Thomison, our now retired OSU Extension corn specialist.

  • Know the yield potential of your fields, their yield history, and the soil type and its productivity.
  • Choose high yielding, adapted hybrids. Pick hybrids that have produced consistently high yields across a number of locations or years.
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Sprayer calibration: The why and how

By Erdal Ozkan, Ohio State University Extension State Specialist, Sprayer Technology

This is the time to check the accuracy of your sprayer. While applying too little pesticide may result in ineffective pest control, too much pesticide wastes money, may damage the crop and increases the potential risk of contaminating ground water and environment. The primary goal with calibration is to determine the actual rate of application in gallons per acre, then to make adjustments if the difference between the actual rate and the intended rate is greater or less than 5% of the intended rate. This is a recommended guideline by USEPA and USDA.

I get this question all the time: “Why should I calibrate my sprayer? I have a rate controller on the sprayer. I just enter the application rate I want, the controller does the rest”. This statement is correct, only if you are sure about the accuracy of the rate controller which is highly affected by the accuracy of the sprayer travel speed data that goes in the rate controller.

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Do you know which sprayer nozzles to buy?

By Erdal Ozkan, The Ohio State University Extension, State Specialist, Sprayer Technology

This is the time of the year you must complete shopping for nozzles because the spraying season is just around the corner. Although nozzles are some of the least expensive components of a sprayer, they hold a high value in their ability to influence sprayer performance. Nozzles help determine the gallon per acre. They also influence the droplet size, which plays a significant role in achieving improved penetration into crop canopy and better coverage on the target pest, both affect the efficacy we expect from pesticides applied. When I get a question like, “what is the best nozzle I can buy?”, my answer is: it depends on the job on hand. One nozzle may be best for a given application situation, but it may be the worst nozzle to use for another situation. Sometimes, the choice of nozzle may be determined by the requirements given on the pesticide label.

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Managing stored grain into summer

By Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Elizabeth Hawkins, Ohio State University Extension

If you are storing more grain on farm this spring than usual, you are not alone. Over the last few weeks, we have heard from more producers who are considering holding grain longer into summer months than they normally would. We have also heard a few reports of spoiled grain as producers fill April contracts. Carrying graining into summer has been done for many years successfully but requires much more intensive management than winter grain storage.

Key advice for long-term grain storage

  1. If bins were not cored in early winter, core bins now.
  2. Verify the moisture content of stored grain is at or below recommended levels.
  3. Monitor grain temperature every 3 or 4 weeks throughout storage paying special attention to insect activity and mold.
  4. Monitor the roof area for signs of condensation.
  5. Cover fans to keep the chimney effect from warming the grain.
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