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To till or not to till

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

For the last several years, many farmers have been adopting practices to improve the “soil health” of their fields. Often this includes no-till or reduced tillage, and the introduction of cover crops. While the basic soil health concept is relatively uniform, the way the practices are implemented is often very different from operation to operation.

Every farm and field is unique, and so is the management approach taken by each farmer. Systems that manage no-till combined with cover crops have been found to have the greatest benefit to overall soil health.

“It takes commitment and a systems approach,” said Jim Hoorman, owner of Hoorman Soil Health Services in Jenera, Ohio.

Unfortunately, the wet harvest last fall and continued saturated soil conditions this past spring in many parts of the state created a scenario that left many farmers scratching their heads: “To till or not to till…that is the question.” Last year’s harvest caused obvious compaction issues from equipment traffic.… Continue reading

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Over half of Ohio soybeans harvested

Most of the State received cooler than normal temperatures and less than normal rainfall last week, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. There were 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 20.

Conditions were ideal for harvest across much of the State, although corn maturity and percent harvested continued to lag behind normal levels. This resulted in an average harvested corn moisture content of 21 percent, compared to 18 percent last year. Soybeans continued to come off the field very quickly as percent harvested, at 55 percent, was one percentage point behind last year. Average soybean moisture content was 13 percent compared to 14 percent last year.

Winter wheat planters worked quickly amidst the favorable weather, staying ahead of the 5-year average pace. The crop continued to emerge ahead of the 5-year average as well. Pastures rated in good to excellent condition increased by 6 percentage points as fields dried out, although regrowth had slowed considerably.… Continue reading

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A heavy handful of soil: Considerations for fallow fields

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader

It is hard to imagine that a single handful of soil can contain more living organisms than there are people on the Earth. Kathy Merrifield, who is a retired nematologist from Oregon State University, said a single teaspoon of rich soil can hold up to one billion bacteria, several yards of fungal filaments, several thousand protozoa, and scores of nematodes, not to mention other archaea, algae, protozoa, and larger soil fauna. Healthy soil is full of life, and those organisms living in it often have a close symbiotic relationship in which the survival of one is dependent on the survival of many others. Under normal weather conditions, the organisms thrive in their environment, and the crops that are grown in these healthy soils also have their needs met.

Mycorrhizae are a type of fungi found in the soil that grow in close association with roots of a plant in a symbiotic relationship.… Continue reading

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Ohio CAUV values projected to decline through 2020

By David Marrison, Ohio State University Extension

The Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) program allows farmland devoted exclusively to commercial agriculture to be taxed based on their value in agriculture, rather than the full market value, resulting in a substantially lower tax bill for the farmer.

The formula for CAUV values incorporates agricultural factors (soil types, yields, prices, and non-land costs for corn, soybeans, and wheat) to calculate the capitalized net returns to farming land based on the previous 5 to 10 years. CAUV underwent large-scale changes to its calculation in 2017 that was targeted to reduce the property tax burden of farmland.

A new report, Ohio CAUV Values Projected to Decline Through 2020, shows the projection of CAUV values though 2020. According to the study authors, OSU agricultural economists Robert Dinterman and Ani Katchova forecast a decrease in the assessed value of agricultural land to an average CAUV value of approximately $600 in 2020.… Continue reading

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Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence Research Program continues efforts

The Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence Research Program funded by the National Corn Growers Association continues to move forward with its long-term initiative to manage and ultimately solve aflatoxin issues for farmers with the announcement of a new round of research grants.

The Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence (AMCOE) Research Program will again offer grants to researchers for projects focused on solving aflatoxin issues for farmers. These grants, which will be awarded to researchers focusing on six priority areas, were designed by southern corn checkoff boards to bring a unified approach to funding research projects across the region and will thus favor research teams that include members from multiple states.

“The National Corn Growers Association, working with southern state grower associations including Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina, developed AMCOE to bring a unified approach to aflatoxin research that will yield results in a timely and more efficient manner,” said Charles Ring, NCGA Corn Productivity and Quality Action Team Chair.… Continue reading

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Tar spot in corn

By Pierce Paul, Felipe Dalla Lana da Silva, Ohio State University Extension

Tar spot, a new disease of corn caused by the fungus Phyllachora maydis, was reported for the first time in Ohio at the end of the 2018 growing season. At that time, it was found mostly in counties close to the Indiana border, as the disease continued to spread from the middle of country where it was first confirmed in 2015.

Over the last few weeks, there have been several new, confirmed report of tar spot in Ohio, this time not only in the northwestern corner of the state, but also from a few fields in central and south-central Ohio. As was the case last year, disease onset was late again this year, with the first reports coming in well after R4. However, some of the regions affected last year had more fields affected this year, with much higher levels of disease severity.… Continue reading

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Building weather resilience for a stronger 2020

Weather has always been one of the most variable factors in farming, but 2019 has been an extreme example. Heavy rains. Flooding. Storms. Tornadoes. While this year’s growing season has been anything but typical, there are valuable lessons to learn in preparation for a successful 2020.

With climate and weather trends continuously evolving, there are actionable strategies and tools to help build resilience against weather extremes next year and into the future.

Resilience-building strategies:

1. Expect extremes.

“This spring was extreme, but it certainly fits the trend,” said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist with The Ohio State University Extension. “Farmers can go into next year thinking about 2019 as an example of the types of conditions we see in all long-term trends moving toward with the understanding that more of these events are expected in the future.”

2. Use long-range weather forecasts.

“Looking at short-range weather doesn’t offer much help when making proactive management decisions,” said Noah Freeman, Digital Ag Technical Lead at AgReliant Genetics.

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What checkoff-funded research means for your bottom line

Local experts in crop and soil health work throughout the year to fine-tune soybean farming strategies to combat your toughest challenges. However, that’s not the only type of research supported by the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and the soybean checkoff. There’s also an innovative team in Ohio focused on finding new uses for soybeans and inventing new soy-based products to build demand and, at the end of the day, improve the profitability of farms.

Todd Hesterman, a soybean farmer from Henry County, is a member of OSC’s farmer-led board and is currently part of the team focused on developing new uses for soybeans. As the Research Committee Chair, Todd knows firsthand the benefit this research provides for Ohio farmers.

“Every new product development means an increase in soybean usage and demand,” Hesterman said. “Every increase in demand helps utilize more soybeans which, in turn, helps the value of soybeans down the road.”

Every new product starts out as an idea.

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Cargill to invest $225 million in Sidney facility expansion

Cargill is expanding its integrated soybean crush and refined oils facility in Sidney, Ohio, to better serve area farmers and to meet growing demand for protein and refined oils.

The company will invest approximately $225 million at the Sidney site, increasing crush capacity and modernizing operations. The investment creates greater market access for farmers’ crops in the area and allows those farmers to deliver their soybeans more efficiently, as the upgraded plant will unload trucks at a much faster rate.

“Farmers are at the core of our business. This investment will help us provide them a better experience when they choose to sell their crops to us,” said Don Camden, commercial leader for the eastern region of Cargill’s agricultural supply chain business in North America. “This also demonstrates our commitment to invest in and grow with the Sidney community.”

The crush facility originally opened in 1978, with the refinery added a decade later.… Continue reading

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EPA’s proposed RFS small refinery measures under fire

On Oct. 15, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, signed the supplemental proposal to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking for the Renewable Fuels Standard.

The notice does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each obligated party is required to blend into their fuel or to otherwise obtain renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance.

Specifically, the EPA is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE), including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions. The agency intends to grant partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions.… Continue reading

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Ohio hemp laws have been proposed

By Peggy Kirk Hall and Ellen Essman, Ohio State University Extension Agricultural & Resource Law Program

Ohio’s newly created hemp program is one step further toward getting off the ground. On Oct. 9, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) released its anxiously awaited proposal of the rules that will regulate hemp production in Ohio. ODA seeks public comments on the proposed regulations until Oct. 30, 2019.

There are two parts to the rules package: one rule for hemp cultivation and another for hemp processing. Here’s an overview of the components of each rule:

  1. Hemp cultivation

The first rule addresses the “cultivation” of hemp, which means “to plant, water, grow, fertilize, till or harvest a plant or crop.” Cultivating also includes “possessing or storing a plant or cop on a premises where the plant was cultivated until transported to the first point of sale.” The proposal lays out the following regulatory process for those who wish to cultivate hemp in Ohio.… Continue reading

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Do you know your number?

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio 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 of future soybean crops will be impacted by the level of soybean cyst nematode (SCN) present in your 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 soybean cyst nematode. Presentations about SCN were common on the agenda of many farm programs in the mid to late 90’s. The relative ease of round-up 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.… Continue reading

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Managing phosphorus for yield and reduced edge of field losses

By Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA, Ohio State University Extension

A new factsheet highlights eight steps to reducing edge of field P losses while maintain soils for increase crop production. The Phosphorus Nutrient Management for Yield and Reduced P Loss at Edge of Field-AGF-509 (https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/agf-509) highlight practices that can be used to reduce edge of field losses of P. There are eight field specific steps to considered.

  1. Control erosion
  2. Identify surface inlets to tile and use appropriate practices to reduce surface losses
  3. Consider ground and weather conditions prior to application of fertilizer and manure
  4. Take a representative soil test
  5. Use soil test as screening tool to meet crop production and water quality goals
  6. With a soil test P value of 40 PPM Mehlich III or less, you can reduce risk of crop yield losses with nutrient application for crop yield.

• A soil test P value of 20 PPM defines the critical level.… Continue reading

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Alleviate compaction to reduce yield losses

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

As a result of the wet spring weather there was a great deal of variability in corn and soybean fields in 2019. Early rainy weather caused wet soil conditions early in the growing season, flooded areas of fields, and resulted in fields that had to be replanted. Although in many cases the saturated soil conditions stunted crop growth, in some cases compaction is to blame. Field work this spring when soils were too wet or “marginal” created yield-limiting shallow compaction, smearing of the seed furrow, etc.

In the 2012-01 issue of the C.O.R.N. Newsletter Randall Reader and Alan Sundermeier state that “Years of OSU Extension research on Hoytville silty clay loam showed that through compaction, 10% to 15% of the potential crop yield was being left in the field.” Horizontal root development and poor root development in general are indications of soil compaction.… Continue reading

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Dry conditions can lead to nitrates in corn

By Peter Thomison, Laura Lindsey, Steve Culman, Sam Custer, Ohio State University Extension

Have very dry soil conditions increased the potential for toxic levels of nitrates in corn harvested for silage? Nitrates absorbed from the soil by plant roots are normally incorporated into plant tissue as amino acids, proteins and other nitrogenous compounds. Thus, the concentration of nitrate in the plant is usually low. The primary site for converting nitrates to these products is in growing green leaves. Under unfavorable growing conditions, especially drought, this conversion process is retarded, causing nitrate to accumulate in the stalks, stems and other conductive tissue. The highest concentration of nitrates is in the lower part of the stalk or stem. For example, the bulk of the nitrate in a drought-stricken corn plant can be found in the bottom third of the stalk. If moisture conditions improve, the conversion process accelerates and within a few days nitrate levels in the plant returns to normal.… Continue reading

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Fallow ground syndrome

By Andy Westhoven, AgriGold agronomist

Doesn’t that title sound a lot better than prevent plant ground syndrome? The words prevent plant (PP) send shivers down many growers’ backs. For those with PP acres, the season just keeps on offering new challenges. Many growers have worked the ground, sprayed the weeds, chopped the weeds, worked them again… you get the point. Let’s face it, the PP acres are more work to keep clean than the planted acres. In addition to those challenges, the title implies that idle farmland has some more work to do and there is more to watch for with PP acres leading up to next spring.

Fallow syndrome can occur when a corn (or wheat) crop is planted the year after no crop was planted in a field. These grass crops might exhibit a phosphorus (P) or zinc (Zn) deficiency early in the growing season. Plants will appear to be stunted, pale, and purple in color.… Continue reading

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Watch for corn stalk issues this fall

By Peter Thomison, Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

It may be an especially challenging year for corn stalk quality in Ohio. Stress conditions increase the potential for stalk rot that often leads to stalk lodging.

This year persistent rains through June caused unprecedented planting delays. Saturated soils resulted in shallow root systems. Corn plantings in wet soils often resulted in surface and in-furrow compaction further restricting root growth. Since July, limited rainfall in much of the state has stressed corn and marginal root systems have predisposed corn to greater water stress.

Corn stalk rot, and consequently, lodging, are the results of several different but interrelated factors. The actual disease, stalk rot, is caused by one or more of several fungi capable of colonizing and disintegrating of the inner tissues of the stalk. The most common members of the stalk rot complex are Gibberella zeae, Colletotrichum graminicola, Stenocarpella maydis and members of the genus Fusarium.… Continue reading

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Bearish corn, bullish soybeans

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Today’s USDA WASDE report will be closely watched to see what direction grains will take. A surprise from USDA could easily be in the numbers today. Many are expecting a friendly report, especially since the grain stocks report September 30 was bullish for both corn and soybeans. Acres for corn and soybeans could also be changed.

Today’s USDA report had corn production at 13.779 billion bushels, yield of 168.4, and ending stocks at 1.929 billion bushels. Soybean production was 3.550 billion bushels, yield was 46.9, and ending stocks of 180 million bushels.

Corn production lowered, yield up .2 bushels, ethanol lowered 50 million bushels, exports down 150 million bushels, and ending stocks down 261 million bushels. Soybean production lowered, yield down 1 bushel, crush up 5 million bushels, ending stocks down 180 million bushels. Corn acres lowered 100,000 acres, soybean acres down 200,000.

Shortly after the report release, corn was down 9 cents, soybeans were up 8 cents, and wheat was down 2 cents.… Continue reading

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Long fall needed to maximize soybean yields

By Matt Reese

The extended wet conditions through much of the state this spring resulted in soybean planting dates ranging from timely to double-crop. The wide variation in planting dates has resulted in an Ohio soybean crop heading into fall all across the board in terms of development and yield potential.

“The record-breaking rains of spring delayed planting across the Eastern Corn Belt to mark the slowest planting progress on record,” said Roy Ulrich, a technical agronomist for DEKALB Asgrow. “This delayed spring shortened our growing season and has delayed some of our normal management decisions later into the summer.”

Compounding the potential problems this year were challenges with insects in some fields.

“Stink bugs pierce through the pod wall to feed causing the bean inside to not develop or become shriveled and malformed reducing the number of beans per pod,” Ulrich said. “Bean leaf beetles are the other major insect of concern when it comes to pod feeding.… Continue reading

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Managing corn harvest this fall with variable corn conditions

By Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Elizabeth Hawkins, James Morris, Will Hamman, Ohio State University Extension

 

Thanks to the weather we had this year, corn is variable across fields and in some areas we will be harvesting corn at higher moistures than normal. Stalk quality may also be variable by field and amount of stress the plant was under. This variability and high moisture may require us to look harder at combine settings to keep the valuable grain going into the bin. Each .75-pound ear per 1/100 of an acre equals 1 bushel of loss per acre. This is one ear per 6, 30-inch rows in 29 feet of length. A pre harvest loss assessment will help with determining if your combine is set properly. Initial settings for different combines can be found in the operator’s manual but here are a few adjustments that can be used to help set all machines.… Continue reading

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