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Be mindful of sidewall compaction this year

By Joel Penhorwood

With the delayed planting season this year, certain agronomic concerns arise as farmers rush to get in the fields.

Bill McDonald, director of agronomic services, said he is seeing some corn fields being planted into wet ground, causing a distinct seed slot to form. That could lead to possible detriment for the corn plant down the road.

“I can stand here and visually look down in the ground and I can see the seed with the mesocotyl coming out of it,” said McDonald, referring to the pictures at right and below. “I have no nodule roots yet and my concern is if we don’t get a rain here relatively quickly, there is going to be nowhere for those nodule roots to go except for up and down the row. We’re dependent on mother nature now. We could see a lot of stand loss out here.

“If those sidewalls continue to dry out — we’re talking about temperatures in the 80s for the next few days — and if those sidewalls continue to get dryer and harder, those nodule roots will just continue to have virtually nowhere to go besides up and down that seed slot.

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Hemp bill completes third hearing in Ohio House committee

By Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Ohio State University Extension Agricultural & Resource Law Program

The Agriculture and Rural Development Committee in the Ohio House of Representatives completed its third hearing regarding Senate Bill 57 on Tuesday. The bill would decriminalize hemp produced under the regulatory system proposed in the bill. The committee heard testimony from nearly two dozen individuals and organization representatives.

None of the witnesses gave testimony in opposition to the bill. Nearly all of the testimony, including the testimony given on behalf of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Ohio Chamber of Commerce, was offered in support of the bill. The Ohio Farmers Union submitted testimony only as an “interested party” rather than as a “proponent,” saying that it supports the principle of hemp decriminalization, but does not believe that the hemp marketing program established in the current version of the bill would be necessary. Click HERE to view the witness testimony regarding Senate Bill 57 on the Ohio General Assembly’s webpage.

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Ohio Corn, soybean and wheat enterprise budgets: Projected returns for 2019

By Barry Ward, Ohio State University Assistant Extension Professor, Leader Production Business Management

Production costs for Ohio field crops are forecast to be largely unchanged from last year with slightly higher fertilizer and interest expenses that may increase total costs for some growers. Variable costs for corn in Ohio for 2019 are projected to range from $356 to $451 per acre depending on land productivity. Variable costs for 2019 Ohio soybeans are projected to range from $210 to $230 per acre. Wheat variable expenses for 2019 are projected to range from $178 to $219 per acre.

Returns will likely be low to negative for many producers depending on price movement throughout the rest of the year. Grain prices used as assumptions in the 2019 crop enterprise budgets are $3.60/bushel for corn, $8.20/bushel for soybeans and $4.25/bushel for wheat. Projected returns above variable costs (contribution margin) range from $150 to $308 per acre for corn and $144 to $300 per acre for soybeans.

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Head scab update

By Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist

In northern Ohio, most of the wheat fields are between Feekes growth stages 9 (full flag leaf emergence) and 10 (boot), with the odd early-planted field or field planted with an early- maturing variety beginning to head-out. In southern Ohio, fields are between Feekes 10 and early flowering (Feekes 10.5.1). For those fields of wheat at flowering and fields of barley heading-out May 20, the risk for head scab is moderate to low, according to the scab forecasting system (http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu) shown here.

However, persistent rainfall and warmer temperatures over the next few days will likely cause the risk to increase as more fields reach anthesis later this week and early next week. Remember, the scab fungus requires moisture in the form of rainfall or high relative humidity and warm temperatures to produce spores in crop residue, and for those spores to spread to wheat and barley heads, germinate, and infect.

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Late start on planting might not hurt yields much

Despite rain that has stalled the planting of corn and soybeans across the state, yields might not be reduced, according to two grain specialists at The Ohio State University.

That’s because weather later in the growing season can have a bigger impact on yields than the date the seeds go in the ground, said Peter Thomison and Laura Lindsey, both agronomists at Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

During July and August, too much or too little rain or really hot temperatures can be detrimental because that’s when corn plants form kernels and soybean plants form beans, Thomison and Lindsey said.

Only 4% of this year’s corn crop has been planted compared to 50% this time last year; 2% of the soybean crop has been planted compared to 28% this time last year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released May 13.

During the week that ended May 12, only 1.5 days were suitable for fieldwork due to rain or ground saturation.

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Ohio soybean farmers call for an end to damaging trade war

The ongoing escalation of the trade war between the U.S. and China is threatening the livelihood of Ohio soybean farmers. Since tariffs were put in place last year, soybean prices have dropped 20 to 25%. The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) has been fighting against the use of tariffs from the beginning because farmers want to be able to compete in a free market. When they do, they thrive.

“This is simply unacceptable,” said Scott Metzger, OSA president and Ross County soybean farmer. “We understand the reasons for bringing China to the negotiating table to address technology transfer and intellectual property issues. However, there are other tactics that can be used to accomplish that without harming farmers and our rural economies.”

On May 10, the U.S. increased tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, from 10 to 25%. It is also taking steps for an additional 25% tariff on the remaining $325 billion in annual imports from China.

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Cold, wet weather can lead to purple corn

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, product manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

For much of the eastern Corn Belt, it has been too wet to plant this spring. However, in some areas corn has been planted is emerging or in the early growth stages of development. One phenomenon that commonly occurs at the early stages of the growing season is the appearance of purple corn plants. Corn plants can turn purple for several reasons related to environmental factors such as:

  • Sunny days and cool nights (temps in the 40s to 50s F)
  • Soil pH lower than 5.5
  • Cool temperatures
  • Wet soil
  • Stresses that hinder the uptake of phosphorus
  • Herbicide injury
  • Soil compaction.

Because many fields have saturated soils and the forecast includes cooler nights and continued wet weather, producers may see some purple plants in their fields. Purpling in corn due to cooler weather most often occurs when plants are in the V2 to V5 growth stages.

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Leading agriculture commodities oppose additional tariffs on Chinese goods

On May 10 the U.S. Trade Representative moved forward with increasing the tariff rate from 10 to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Farmers across the country are extremely concerned by the actions taken by President Trump and his Administration. The National Association of Wheat Growers, the American Soybean Association, and the National Corn Growers Association were expecting a deal by March 1 before farmers went back into the fields but today saw an escalation of the trade war instead. The three commodities represent around 171 million of acres of farmland in the United States.

“U.S. wheat growers are facing tough times right now, and these additional tariffs will continue to put a strain on our export markets and threaten many decades worth of market development,” said Ben Scholz, NAWG president. “Further, members from both sides of the aisle and Chambers have reservations about the Section 232 tariffs in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

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May 10 numbers bearish

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Ending stocks were bigger than expected all across the board for both old and new.

It’s been a crazy week for grain prices, unfortunately a down week. Producers have been active with field preparations and most of all, planting finally taking place. However, at least for Ohio, it has not been a full week of planting for everyone. 

Old crop corn ending stocks were 2.095 billion bushels, last month 2.035 billion bushels. Soybean ending stocks were 995 million bushels, last month 895 million bushels. Wheat ending stocks were 1.127 billion bushels, last month 1.087 billion bushels. Looking ahead to 2019 crops, corn ending stocks were 2.485 billion bushels, soybeans 970 million bushels, with wheat at 1.141 billion bushels.

This report today was a supply and demand report which also includes the first report for 2019 crops. In a first ever, world grain tables without China are also detailed.

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Patience for planting 🔊

By Joel Penhorwood

The 2019 planting season continues to be an aggravating one for Ohio growers, though there’s still plenty of time for a good crop ahead, says DEKALB Asgrow Technical Agronomist Roy Ulrich.

Ulrich spoke Thursday to a group of Union County farmers, hosted by Yoder Ag Services, answering questions and highlighting timely agronomic issues.

“No really big reasons to change anything as far as products or practices until after we get out past Memorial Day. Once we get toward the end of the month, then we can make some changes, but right now just stay the course. Whatever plan you had is still the best plan to put in place,” said Ulrich.

He pointed out how growing degree day requirements for corn actually go down as the planting season rolls along due to corn’s unique adaptation abilities. Soybeans though do require a different tailoring as the planting date gets later, the reason he recommends upping populations by 10,000 per acre for each week after Memorial Day.

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Early planting soybean flop (and other soil health lessons) shared on new forum for farmers

By Matt Reese

So Nathan Brown decided he would try to plant some soybeans — about 3 acres worth — on March 24 to see how they’d do. While the stand won’t make it as a whole, Brown did learn some lessons from the experiment.

The seeds germinated well, but struggled to consistently emerge from the cold, wet soils this spring.

“The beans planted March 24 were planted at 2 inches deep. I thought that would keep them in the ground longer to avoid frost, which it did. But, being 2 inches deep, there was not enough warmth to actually get them up and out of the ground once they germinated. Next year I’ll hopefully try planting early again in another plot and I’ll shallow up my planting,” he said. “I learned a lot from the experiment.”

Brown shared about his experiences with the March 24 soybeans on the Ohio Soil Health and Cover Crops Facebook page.

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Getting corn off to a good start: Planting depth can make a difference

By K. Nemergut, Alexander Lindsey, Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Planting depth recommendations for Ohio are 1.5 to 2 inches deep to ensure adequate moisture uptake and seed-soil contact. Deeper planting may be recommended as the season progresses and soils become warmer and drier, however planting shallower than 1.5 inches is generally not recommended at any planting date or in any soil type. According to some field agronomists, shallow plantings increase stress and result in less developed roots, smaller stalk diameters, smaller ears and reduced yields. In a 2011-2012 Ohio evaluation of planting depth, grain yields were about 14% greater for the 1.5-inch and 3-inch planting depths than the 0.5-inch planting depth in 2011, and 40% greater in 2012. The lower yields of the shallow planting were associated with reduced final stands and six to seven times as many “runt” plants as the other two planting depths.

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How long can a corn seed hold its breath?

By Andy Westhoven, AgriGold regional agronomist

At this point in the calendar, undoubtedly, there are many corn fields planted around the area. Just as undoubtedly, planting conditions will be like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears — some will be too cold and wet, some too hot and dry, and some just right. The role as an agronomist usually travels down the road of the first two situations in Goldilocks’ tale — less than ideal planting conditions. Somewhere in the eastern Corn Belt, after a corn field has been planted, a torrential rainfall will occur and/or there will be a cold period where a grower might wonder, “What is to become of the corn seed I just planted? How long can it last in the soil before rotting and dying?”

Last season almost gave growers a false impression of corn emergence when most fields emerged in about 8 days.

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Federal judge says Lake Erie itself can’t participate in LEBOR lawsuit

By Joel Penhorwood

A federal judge on Tuesday made a notable announcement regarding the ongoing Lake Erie Bill of Rights lawsuit brought forward by farmers in Ohio.

U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary said he would not allow Lake Erie to participate in the lawsuit.

Cleveland.com reported he called the request “unusual” and “meritless.”

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) looks to give the body of water itself legal rights, allowing Toledo residents to sue on its behalf. It stems from the ongoing tension from the Harmful Algal Blooms which forced the City of Toledo to shut down its drinking water system for three days in 2014.

LEBOR was passed by Toledo voters in February, and Wood County farmer Mark Drewes immediately countered the move with a lawsuit of his own the day after LEBOR was passed, questioning its constitutionality.

The proceedings regarding the case continued this week and the environmental advocate group Toledoans for Safe Water had asked to be included in the legal action, along with Lake Erie itself, in order to better represent those in favor of LEBOR.

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Delayed planting effects on corn yield: A “historical” perspective

By Allen Geyer, Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

According to the USDA/NASS, for the week ending May 5, only 2% of Ohio’s projected corn acreage was planted — compared to 20% last year and 27% for the five-year average. Persistent rains and saturated soil conditions have delayed corn planting. The weather forecast this week indicates the likelihood of more rain, so it is probable that many soggy fields may not dry out soon.

Long-term research by universities and seed companies across the Corn Belt gives us a pretty good idea of planting date effects on relative yield potential. The recommended time for planting corn in northern Ohio is April 15 to May 10 and in southern Ohio, April 10 to May 10. In the central Corn Belt, estimated yield loss per day with delayed planting varies from about 0.3% per day early in May to about 1% per day by the end of May, according to Bob Nielsen at Purdue University.

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National Corn Yield Contest entries open for 2019

Farmers have from May 6, through Sunday, July 31, 2019, to enter the National Corn Yield Contest (NCYC). This year marks the 55th year for the contest that began with 20 entries from four states. Last year 7,258 entries from 46 states made NCYC the premier event of its kind in the nation.

“NCGA wants to challenge you to take advantage of this opportunity to explore new ideas and production techniques while gleaning knowledge to enhance your future yield potential,” said Linda Lambur, NCYC manager. “It’s not just about big yields but promoting innovative production methods and sharpening management skills. It’s about being more precise in how we grow each bushel of corn and that ultimately will make corn production more sustainable.”

A farmer must have an NCGA membership number to have an entry in the contest which can only be obtained from NCGA. Please call 636-733-5512 or email ncyc@ncga.com to obtain your membership number or to create a new membership number.

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No need to switch hybrid maturities yet

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

In many areas of the Eastern Corn belt planting has been delayed due to wet spring weather. With the continued planting delays some growers may begin to wonder if they should switch to earlier maturing hybrids.

When considering late-planted corn, it is important to keep in mind that hybrids can adjust the amount of Growing Degree Days required to reach maturity. In this C.O.R.N Newsletter Article, Ohio State’s Peter Thomison states: “In Ohio and Indiana, we’ve observed decreases in required heat units from planting to kernel black layer which average about 6.8 growing degree days (GDDs) per day of delayed planting. Therefore a hybrid rated at 2800 GDDs with normal planting dates (i.e. late April or early May) may require slightly less than 2600 GDDs when planted in late May or early June, i.e. a 30 day delay in planting may result in a hybrid maturing in 204 fewer GDDs (30 days multiplied by 6.8 GDDs per day).” Because hybrids can adjust their required GDDs, late-planted hybrids can still reach physiological maturity before first killing frost in the fall.

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Excessive rainfall as damaging to corn yield as extreme heat, drought

Recent flooding in the Midwest has brought attention to the complex agricultural problems associated with too much rain. Data from the past three decades suggest that excessive rainfall can affect crop yield as much as excessive heat and drought. In a new study, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Illinois linked crop insurance, climate, soil and corn yield data from 1981 through 2016.

The study found that during some years, excessive rainfall reduced U.S. corn yield by as much as 34% relative to the expected yield. Data suggest that drought and excessive heat caused a yield loss of up to 37% during some years. The findings are published in the journal Global Change Biology.

“We linked county-level U.S. Department of Agriculture insurance data for corn loss with historical weather data, letting us quantify the impact of excessive rainfall on yield loss at a continental scale,” said Kaiyu Guan, a natural resources and environmental sciences professor and the study’s principal investigator.

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Switching from alfalfa to soybean…Should I inoculate?

By Laura Lindsey and Mark Sulc, Ohio State University Extension

Alfalfa stands were negatively affected by this winter’s weather. Some farmers may be converting their alfalfa fields to soybean. Does the soybean seed need to be inoculated?

While there is very little information on this topic, we believe yes. You should inoculate soybean with Rhizobia when converting an alfalfa field to soybean. Here’s why… Both alfalfa and soybean plants have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria in which the bacteria fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into a plant-available form of nitrogen. However, different species are associated with alfalfa and soybean. In soybean, nitrogen fixation is associated with Bradyrhizobium japonicum. While in alfalfa, nitrogen fixation is associated with Sinorhizobium meliloti (also called Ensifer meliloti). The bacteria associated with nitrogen fixation in alfalfa will not form the same association with soybean.
Generally, fields with a history of soybean production have a large population density of Bradyrhizobium japonicum.

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Push continues for E15 as June looms

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) submitted comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to allow year-round sales of 15% ethanol blends, or E15, by eliminating the outdated barrier that currently requires retailers in many areas of the country to stop selling E15 during the summer months.

“By allowing E15 to receive the same summer volatility adjustment EPA permits for E10, retailers will be able to offer drivers E15 year-round, providing choice to their customers without an interruption in sales between June and September,” NCGA President Lynn Chrisp wrote in the submitted comments. “Corn growers have advocated for this change for several years, and we agree with EPA’s assessment that the conditions that led EPA to provide the original volatility adjustment for E10, at a time when 10% was the highest ethanol blend available, are ‘equally applicable to E15 today.’”

In addition to being beneficial for farmers, higher blends of renewable fuels such as E15 also lower fuel prices for drivers and reduce emissions, improving air quality and providing greater greenhouse gas reductions.

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