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Lackluster soybean yields for 2019

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

The 2019 growing season will be remembered for many things, though bin-busting soybean yields will probably not be one of them.

“Soybean yields in Ohio are going to be wide ranging. This is largely due to the soil moisture during the growing season, both excess and drought. Soybean planting date across the Midwest is still the No. 1 factor in soybean yields. With the late planting this year, that is very unfortunate. This year the excessive wet, followed by the dry also had a huge impact,” said Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension soybean specialist. “It started wet, was late planted and then some areas of the state just dried out. Wet soils led to poor root conditions, then dry conditions struck some areas, which just magnified the poor root problem. The lack of moisture during pod fill is probably a bigger issue where water and rainfall is concerned for soybeans.

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How reliable will this year’s test plot data be?

By Laura Lindsey and Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Ohio’s corn and soybean crops experienced exceptional growing conditions in 2019, including record rainfall in May and June followed by drier than normal August and September conditions in many areas. As a result of the early season saturated soils, corn and soybean planting was delayed across most of the state. For soybean, planting date is the most important cultural practice that influences grain yield. Planting date is also a major factor affecting crop performance and profitability in corn. The persistent rains and saturated soils caused localized ponding and flooding. These conditions resulted in root damage and N loss that led to uneven crop growth and development between and within fields. Agronomists often question the value of test plot data when adverse growing conditions severely limit yield potential.

With corn, is data from test plots planted in June of questionable value since corn is typically planted by mid-May for optimal crop performance?

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Figuring out the 2019 lessons learned

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Sometimes the best lessons learned are from the times things do not go as planned. Most in agriculture will agree that 2019 is a year that in many aspects did not go as we had planned. The variability of planting dates and conditions throughout the growing season left many farmers scratching their heads, especially as it related to the final yields. In some cases, the yields were what was expected as a result of the late planting and given growing conditions this year. In other cases, however, the yields were surprisingly good. The Ohio State University is undertaking a project to try to better understand the yield impacts of the planting delays created by the 2019 weather conditions. A farmer survey has been developed, and researchers are asking for help.

Normal planting dates for Ohio range from mid-April to the end of May. This season was quite different when planting for both crops was delayed until late May and stretched into June and even July across many parts of Ohio.

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Soybean research addresses some of the challenges of 2019

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

There were plenty of challenges for soybeans in 2019 and, fortunately, there are numerous research projects seeking some solutions.

Research has consistently shown the importance of planting date. In some cases in Ohio in 2019, planting date did not hurt final yields as much as would be expected due to a late frost and consistent moisture. This does not diminish the importance of planting dates for soybeans.

“Planting date is still the number one factor that influences soybean yield,” said Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension soybean specialist. “You don’t want to push it too early, because there can be issues on that end.”

Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension Soybean and Small Grains Specialist

Research has consistently shown a yield reduction from late planting ranging from 0.25 to 1 bushel per acre per day depending on row width, date of planting, and variety. In southern Ohio, soybeans should be planted any time after April 15 when soil conditions are suitable.

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Corn residue breakdown

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers often struggle to get corn residue to breakdown. Many environmental and soil conditions can affect residue breakdown including air and soil temperature, moisture, oxygen, biological activity, and farming practices. Tillage and the addition of fall nitrogen after harvest are common practices that farmers use to speed up residue breakdown. Many farmers feel that the GMO (genetically modified) corn residue is also much slower to break down. Integrated Crop Management at Iowa State University (Madhi Al-Kaisi) conducted a 3-year trial to test these ideas.

 

GMO versus Non-GMO corn with tillage

Researchers used both Bt (Bacteria thuringiensis) and Non Bt or Non-GMO corn varieties and evaluated three tillage systems: deep tillage, strip till, and no-till systems for three years, in the field and under controlled laboratory conditions. After 12 months in the field, they found no significant differences between Bt and non Bt corn and no differences between tillage system in corn residue break down.

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Crop rotation and second-year soybean yields

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

As harvest wraps up in across the eastern Corn Belt and plans for the 2020 crop are finalized, growers will determine what crops to plant and plan crop rotation across their acres. When considering crop rotations and yields, many focus on continuous corn and the yield penalties associated with that practices. However, there is one possibly overlooked benefit of crop rotation: avoiding a soybean yield penalty.

In this article, the University of Kentucky’s John Grove discusses soybean yields for first year and second year soybeans from 2009 to 2016. Grove’s research data shows an average yield penalty of 2.3-bushels per acre across that 7-year period, with some years being showing yield losses greater than 10 bushels per acre. In another article from no-till farmer, Greg Roth shows data that predicts a 4- to 6- bushel per acre yield penalty for second year soybeans.

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Understanding the Brazil corn crop

Even if the mere idea of visiting Brazil has never crossed your mind, you probably have listened to a song called “The Girl From Ipanema”, maybe in Frank Sinatra’s voice. And what does that song have to do with agricultural markets?

Nothing. But one of its composers, Brazilian Tom Jobim (who sings the song with Sinatra), once said that Brazil is not for beginners. That sentence became a famous and useful way to describe how difficult it is to understand Brazil’s peculiarities. And its corn market is one of them.

As you probably know, Brazil grows two corn crops a year. Well, since last October, it is officially three, but I will write about that third crop another time. For now, let’s stick to the two traditional crops. The first one is planted from September to December and competes for area with soybeans.

Considering that Brazil is now a soybean powerhouse, it is not a surprise that the first corn crop has lost millions of acres over the last two decades.

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The top weeds for 2020

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader

After a challenging 2019, four specific weeds should be on every farmer’s radar for 2020: waterhemp, Palmer amaranth, giant ragweed, and marestail.

Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth

Palmer Amaranth is an invasive pigweed. Get tips for controlling it from Ohio Field Leader.
                Palmer amaranth seed heads

In terms of waterhemp, there was significant seed production potential in 2019.

“I have seen an increase in waterhemp in 2019, especially with all the prevent plant acres, and that is going to mean big problems for some farmers in 2020,” said Kenny Schilling, retail market manager for FMC Corporation. “If you know you are going to have waterhemp issues in the 2020 soybean crop, a farmer needs to plan on using a dicamba or Liberty soybean in that field.

“It is recommended to use a Group 14 and Group 15 Family herbicide in the pre-emerge application and follow it up with a Group 15 Family herbicide again in the post-emerge application, combined with the chemistry from the herbicide resistant soybean that was planted.

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Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative puts H2Ohio focus on farm-specific conservation initiatives

Following Gov. Mike DeWine’s overview of his H2Ohio program, the Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) announced the framework of its public-private partnership with the DeWine Administration’s H2Ohio initiative to ensure funds are provided to farmers at all levels of conservation and nutrient management implementation.

“OACI’s mission is to achieve meaningful improvement of water quality in Ohio, assure the future viability of Ohio agriculture, and build widespread participation of farmers,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council and co-chair of OACI. “While there is no silver bullet, we believe this unprecedented partnership will bring meaningful change to Ohio’s water quality over time.”

OACI will work with the H2Ohio program to ensure funds flow to farmers who demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement through implementation of science-based practices that contribute toward healthier waterways. This initiative will begin in the Maumee watershed.

“We are bringing together diverse stakeholders to improve Ohio’s water quality through measurement, education, and certification of Ohio’s farmers,” said Scott Higgins, CEO of the Ohio Dairy Producers Association and co-chair of OACI.

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Do you know your SCN number?

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader

What’s your number? While this question sounds like the latest campaign to monitor your cholesterol or blood pressure, it is actually talking about a different health measurement. The health and yield of future soybean crops will be impacted by the level of soybean cyst nematode (SCN) present in fields.

SCN damages soybeans by feeding on roots. This takes nutrients from the plant, and creates wounds for fungi to enter. The past few years the SCN Coalition, funded by the soybean checkoff, has been running the “What’s your number?” campaign to renew attention to the yield robbing pest. Presentations about SCN were common on the agenda of many farm programs in the mid to late 90s. The relative ease of Roundup ready soybean production increased the common practice of no-tilling soybeans back to beans, which created a wonderful environment for SCN populations to grow. In the years following, thanks in part to an increased awareness of SCN associated yield losses and the development of resistant varieties, SCN saw a decline in many Ohio fields.

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Farm bill meetings scheduled around the state

Ohio State University Extension and the USDA Farm Service Agency in Ohio are partnering to provide a series of educational Farm Bill meetings this winter to help producers make informed decisions related to enrollment in commodity programs.

The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill. While the ARC and PLC programs under the new farm bill remain very similar to the previous farm bill, there are some changes that producers should be aware of.

Farm Bill meetings will review changes to the ARC/PLC programs as well as important dates and deadlines. Additionally, attendees will learn about decision tools and calculators available to help, which program best fits the needs of their farms under current market conditions and outlook.

Enrollment for 2019 is currently open with the deadline set as March 15, 2020. Enrollment for the 2020 crop year closes June 30, 2020.

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Changing weather patterns: The new “normal”

By Luke Schulte, Beck’s Hybrids

After enduring the spring of 2019, it will not take much convincing for many of you that precipitation extremes have become the new normal. It’s been said that if you want things to be different, just wait until next year. While this will likely be true, the trend of punishing rain events occurring more frequently is undeniable.

Impacts of extreme precipitation:

  1. Intense rains with increased atmospheric moisture = persistent risk of flooding
  2. Soil movement and topsoil degradation
  3. Decreased aggregate stability, lower soil O2 levels
  4. Sustained dry periods between rains
  5. Days to perform field work are limited.

 

Effective water use

While excessive water at any given time has many downsides, effective water utilization is critical to overall crop development and growth. Water is a fundamental component of photosynthesis. In order to maximize this critical resource, we must implement management strategies that allow our soils to both accept and retain more water to sustain us throughout the drier periods.

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The best weed control is a growing crop

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

The best weed control is a growing crop. This is one of the lessons re-learned in 2019 according to a couple of long time agricultural chemical company representatives.

“The earth was meant to be covered. If there is not a crop growing, nature is going to cover itself. Something is going to grow,” said Neil Badehnop, sales representative for Valent USA. “Overall weed control is done by the growing crop, and if the intended crop is not planted, something else will grow — in this case, it will be weeds.”

In his over 28 years monitoring the weed situation across Ohio, Badenhop has seen first hand the reality of the old saying “Weeds beget weeds.” In those fields that were left bare and weeds were not properly controlled and allowed to go to seed, there was the potential for a huge build-up in the weed seed bank.

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Where’s the bean? Missing seed in soybean pods

By Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon, Ohio State University Extension

As soybean harvest progresses, a few growers are noticing poor yields in otherwise nice-looking plants and pods. While a visual inspection might lead to high estimations of seed quality, the inside may contain shrunken, shriveled or, even worse, missing seed. Stink bugs can often cause this type of injury to soybean seed. They have piercing sucking mouthparts that poke through the pod wall, and then feed directly on the seed. Because their mouthparts are small, damage to the pod is often undetected. However, opening a few pods may reveal poor seed quality evident of stink bug feeding. We have seen increasing issues with stink bugs in Ohio. This past season was no exception and we will likely continue to see issues in the future. For more information on stink bug identification, scouting and resources, see our agronomic crops insects webpage: https://aginsects.osu.edu/home

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Ohio corn, soybean harvest near completion

Operators were busy in the fields last week as the State received cool temperatures that averaged 6 degrees below normal, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Reports mentioned significant amounts of tillage, baling, and strip till fertilizer placement occurring in addition to harvest activities. There were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 10.

Corn jumped to 65 percent harvested, an increase of 16 percentage points from the last report, but still 14 points behind the 5-year average. The average corn moisture content was 20 percent, unchanged from the previous report. Soybeans moved to 86 percent harvested, an increase of 8 points from the previous report, but still 6 points behind the 5-year average. The average soybean moisture content was 14 percent, up one point from last week. Winter wheat was at 94 percent emerged, which was 10 points ahead of the 5- year average.

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More regular rains take Brazil’s soybean planting to 58%

Brazilian farmers had planted 58 percent of their 2019/20 soybean area by Nov 7, according to a weekly survey conducted by AgRural. That represents a progress of 12 percentage points in one week and keeps the new crop planting pace slightly ahead of the five-year average. There is still a delay, however, in comparison to last year.

Favorable weather conditions seen last week took the area already planted to 94 percent in top-producer Mato Grosso, where the soybean crop develops well so far. The only issue, for now, is that the state will not have new soybeans entering the market as early as in the 2018/19 season, when some farmers were already harvesting in late December.

Mato Grosso grows about 65% of Brazil’s second corn crop, which will be planted right after the soybean harvest, in January and February 2020. That means that a good chunk of the Brazilian corn crop will not be behind schedule or have any significant problem caused by delays in the soybean planting.

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The Xenia Effect in corn

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

The Xenia Effect refers to the effect of foreign pollen on kernel characteristics. Cross-pollination occurs in corn because it is a monecious, which means that it has both male (the tassel) and female (the ear) flowers on a single plant. The Xenia effect occurs when pollen from the tassel of one corn variety moves from one field to another, landing on the silks of another variety which fertilizes and produces. The picture above is an example of the Xenia effect, found by SC agronomists. Flint corn was planted a short distance from a field of hybrid dent corn. Both the flint corn and dent corn were flowering at the same time, allowing the flint corn to pollinate some kernels on the dent ears. The cross-pollination exhibited by the Xenia Effect can influence testing procedures and production of specialty corn crops.

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USDA announces establishment of U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program

By Dave Russell, Ohio Ag Net

The interim final rule formalizing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program was published in the Federal Register in late October, allowing hemp to be grown under federally-approved plans. Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Greg Ibach said the interim rule includes a number of provisions for USDA to approve plans developed by states.

“This includes provisions for tracking the land where hemp is grown, procedures for testing the concentration levels of TCH, procedures for disposing of non-compliant plants, compliance provisions on how to handle violations as a result of inspections on farms, and procedures to share information with law enforcement,” Ibach said. “We are also going to make sure that states that have programs have resources available to manage those plants.”

The new hemp rule enables the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Risk Management Agency to determine which USDA programs hemp growers are eligible, including loans and crop insurance.

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USDA to issue second tranche of trade payments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will proceed with its second tranche of trade relief payments to American farmers as a result of retaliatory tariffs, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said.

“We just have gotten authorization on the second tranche. We’ll be getting it ready hopefully at the end of this month or early December,” he said.

In May, the USDA announced it would again provide payments under the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), valued at $16 billion.

The first round of payments was issued in August and Perdue indicated a third tranche may not be necessary.

“We’re very hopeful that the China negotiations can come to a favorable conclusion. The numbers that we’re talking about right now would be very beneficial to our agricultural producers. We’re hopeful that trade would supplant any type of farm aid needed in 2020,” he said.

MFP provides payments to eligible producers of:

  • Non-specialty crops, including alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat.
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Corn neutral, soybeans bearish in today’s USDA numbers

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Today’s USDA report had corn production at 13.661 billion bushels, yield of 167.0, and ending stocks at 1.910 billion bushels. Soybean production was 3.550 billion bushels, yield was 46.9, and ending stocks of 475 million bushels.

The market has been anticipating this report for weeks. Anticipation can be highly overrated. Yet, it can also be disappointing as the amount of time and energy spent is quickly forgotten once the report is released. Don’t be surprised to just move on.

Will USDA finally get it right with corn acres and yield? However, with only 52% of the U.S. corn harvested shown on this week’s progress report, it means even less corn had been harvested when USDA compiled and field reports the beginning of November. Many anticipate the corn yield would decline in the last 20% to 40% of harvest. It could easily be the January 10, 2020 report to get a much better handle on corn yields when final 2019 production and yield are released.

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