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2020 weed control strategies for waterhemp and Palmer amaranth

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

From a distance, Palmer amaranth, common waterhemp, and redroot pigweed can easily be mistaken for each other, but proper identification is a key to effective management. Each weed species is a growing problem in Ohio.

Palmer amaranth and waterhemp are relatively easy to separate from redroot pigweed when taking a closer look, because both the Palmer amaranth and waterhemp have smooth stems with no hair on them. Redroot pigweed has fine hairs on the stem.

“It is not critical to separately identify the Palmer amaranth from common waterhemp because the management strategy

Jeff Stachler, OSU Extension

is going to be similar for both,” said Jeff Stachler, Ohio State University Extension educator in Auglaize County. “Palmer amaranth and waterhemp are both dioecious plants, meaning they produce separate male plants and separate female plants. That causes a problem from the standpoint of diversity as every flower on a female plant could hypothetically have a unique male plant that pollinated each of the flowers.

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Ohio Farm Custom Rate Survey 2020

By Barry Ward, Ohio State University Extension

A large number of Ohio farmers hire machinery operations and other farm related work to be completed by others. This is often due to lack of proper equipment, lack of time or lack of expertise for a particular operation. Many farm business owners do not own equipment for every possible job that they may encounter in the course of operating a farm and may, instead of purchasing the equipment needed, seek out someone with the proper tools necessary to complete the job. This farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply “custom work.” A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.

Custom farming providers and customers often negotiate an agreeable custom farming machinery rate by utilizing Extension surveys results as a starting point.… Continue reading

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Macro and micro nutrients

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

A basic understanding of soil fertility is important for high crop production. All crops require seventeen essential nutrients for proper growth and development, the specific amount of each nutrient depends upon the crop. The atmosphere provides hydrogen and oxygen and carbon (most comes from the soil first). The rest must come from the soil and the amount available for a plant depends upon many factors such as the soil type, organic matter, pH, drainage, microbes, temperature, and rainfall. Soil nutrients are absorbed by water being pulled through the plant through transpiration and by roots intercepting the nutrient molecules.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Some nutrients are required in large amounts compared to other nutrients and are called primary or macro nutrients. Primary nutrients include nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), or potassium (K). Nitrogen is used to form amino acids and proteins in the plant and most plants need 3-5.5% of their plant tissue biomass as N.

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Brazil headed for a bumper soy crop amid US-China deal

The 2019/20 soybean crop harvest has started with expectations for a record production in Brazil. Despite planting delays in some states due to irregular rains in the fourth quarter of 2019, production is pegged by consultancy AgRural at 123.9 million metric tons, 1.2 million up from the previous estimate and a new record for the country, above the 119 million metric tons produced two years ago.

By Jan 16, 1.8% of the soybean area had been harvest in Brazil, most of it in top producer Mato Grosso, where yield reports have been coming at the high end of expectations. In the rest of the country, soybeans still need beneficial weather conditions until at least the end of February to secure a bumper crop, since important states such as Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul and Goiás had significant planting delays. All of them, however, have favorable weather forecasts.

Still at risk
In Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, and in the North/Northeast region known as “Matopiba” (Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia), hot, dry conditions seen in December reduced the yield potential.… Continue reading

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Farming for cleaner water: Soil health sessions

American Farmland Trust (AFT) wants to help Ohio agriculture learn more about soil health. AFT is sponsoring a 2-hour session — same session offered three times over the course of 18 hours — in Ostrander, Mt. Victory and Waldo.

Hans Kok, Midwest Soil Health Specialist and Coordinator of the Indiana Cropping Systems Initiative and Indiana Conservation Partnership, will be the featured speaker at all three sessions. Hans will talk about the adoption of practices and cropping systems that can lead to improved soil health. Food will be provided at each stop.
The sessions are:

• Feb. 3, 2020 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Leb’s Pizza House 17 S. Main St. Ostrander

• Feb. 4, 2020 7:30 am – 9:00 am at Plaza Inn 491 S. Main St. Mt. Victory

• February 4, 2020 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at All Occasions Banquet Facility 6989 Waldo-Delaware Rd. Waldo.

RSVP by calling Mark Wilson at 614-506-7846.… Continue reading

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A look back at 2019 Crop Tour numbers

By Matt Reese

Rewind back to mid-August of 2019 when two groups from Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net took to the back roads of the state to take a peek at the yield potential following arguably the worst planting season in the state’s history. The 2019 Ohio Crop Tour was sponsored by AgroLiquid.

Of course, we found many fields (particularly in northwest Ohio) that were very late developmentally. This made estimating yields for the fields quite challenging. The corn yield potential was there in many fields, but the crop was in great need of a late frost and steady rainfall throughout the rest of the growing season to come close to achieving the yield potential we were seeing. Guess what happened…

Here is what we wrote at the end of the 2019 I-75/I-71 Ohio Crop Tour on Aug. 15: For corn, the average yield for the East was 175 bushels per acre, the average for the West was 167 bushels per acre and the overall average was 171 bushels.Continue reading

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Compaction: Where the rubber meets the road

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

It can be said that compaction occurs where the rubber meets the road, or in this case, the rubber meets the soil.

“If you think about how roads are designed and built, they are constructed to handle heavy loads. It comes down to a function of the axle weight,” said Ian McDonald, researcher from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. “Why do we think it is alright to put heavy axle weight on top of a biological ecosystem?”

In research conducted at Bern University by Matthias Stettler, it suggests that the axel load on equipment in a field should ideally be less than 5 tons per axle and tire inflation pressure should ideally be less than 15 pounds per square inch. Common field equipment axle loads are 7.5 tons per axle for a 200 horsepower 4-wheel-drive tractor, 13 tons per axle for a 325 horsepower 4-wheel-drive tractor, 24 tons per axle for a combine with a 12-row head, and 35 to 40 tons per axle for a 1200-bushel grain cart.

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Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Soybean Council energy study: Understanding the impact of demand charges and power factor in agriculture

Farmers have long explored options to provide energy savings associated with their agricultural operations. Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Soybean Council have partnered to provide research-based data driven tools to help Ohio farmers assess and navigate various energy infrastructure investment options for their farm. Specifically, the project team is interested in learning more about your experience and interest in implementing energy management strategies such as peak demand reduction, power factor correction, and/or the integration of solar generation systems to reduce electricity costs on your farm.

Farmers with commercial rate structures that charge for peak demand and poor power factor can implement equipment and management strategies to reduce electricity costs, thus increasing long-term profitability. However, very little is known about the economic feasibility of investing in equipment to reduce peak electric demand charges in agriculture. To determine the economic feasibility of implementing energy management strategies it is important to simultaneously study the real costs of installing new equipment, ongoing risks, challenges, as well as understanding how these improvements will influence the calculations of a farms electric bill a comprehensive manner.… Continue reading

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Soil compaction, choices and patience

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Management requires measurement. There are two forms of soil compaction that can be measured and then managed, said John Fulton, associate professor at the Ohio State University in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at the recent Precision University 2020 meeting.

“To effectively manage compaction we need to both understand it and measure it. The first is surface compaction. This is the compaction that occurs at the upper soil layer.  It is considered to be within the tilled layer of soil. The second is subsoil or deep compaction. Subsoil compaction occurs below the tilled layer as a result of surface loading,” Fulton said. “There are four stages when dealing with compaction issues. They include: identifying areas of soil compaction,evaluating those compacted areas to determine both the cause and also severity, making plans to prevent future compaction, and developing plans to manage existing compaction.”

John Fulton, Associate Professor, Biosystems Engineering, The Ohio State University

Soil compaction can be defined as soil particles being compressed together and reducing the pore space.… Continue reading

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Plenty to consider at OSU Extension farm bill meetings

Farmers who prefer planting over paperwork could gain a lot from a series of upcoming meetings that will guide them through the tedium of signing up for farm safety net programs and crop insurance.

Ohio State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are partnering to offer free meetings across Ohio to help growers of commodities decide on a government farm program that will help protect them against dips in farm income.

By March 15, farmers of corn, soybeans, and wheat have to decide which one of three government farm programs they want to enroll in. Each offers different benefits. Those who sign up for Agriculture Risk Coverage at the County Level (ARC-CO) receive a payment whenever revenue on a particular commodity in the county where their farm is located runs below a guaranteed level.

Another option is Agriculture Risk Coverage at the Individual Level (ARC-IC), which triggers a payment when revenue falls below the guaranteed level. … Continue reading

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Northwest Ohio Corn & Soybean Day

By Eric Richer, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

The annual Northwest Ohio Corn & Soybean Day is scheduled for Friday, January 17 in Founders Hall at Sauder Village in Archbold from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm. The program has a variety of speakers, farmer/retailer re-certification credits and 30 exhibitors sharing information on management practices for the 2019 crop production season.

Topics and speakers for the day include:

Drainage for Crop Production and Soil Health

Eileen Kladivko, Professor, Purdue University

Biology and Management of Pigweeds

Jeff Stachler, OSU Extension, Auglaize County

Farmer Attitudes and Behaviors in WLEB

Robyn Wilson, Professor, OSU School of Natural Resources

Corn Nematodes

Abasola Simon, PhD Candidate, OSU Plant Pathology

CORE Pesticide Update

Stephanie Karhoff, OSU Extension, Williams County

Farm Bill Decision 2019-2020

Eric Richer, OSU Extension, Fulton County

Fumigation: Caring for your stored grain

Curtis Young, OSU Extension, Van Wert County

The following continuing education credits for pesticide and fertilizer applicators are offered throughout the day:

Private Pesticide Applicator Re-certification: 3hrs in categories Core, 1, 2, and 6.… Continue reading

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How recent corn losses will impact Brazilian exports in 2020?

The new year has started with crop woes in Brazil. No, I am not talking about soybeans, my favorite subject here and everywhere. I am talking about corn – the first corn crop, which has been damaged by hot, dry conditions in some southern producing areas.
And now you might be questioning whether a crop failure in Brazil could result in weaker exports here and, consequently, in more sales of US corn in 2020. That is a fair question. But the answer is no. The problems that Brazil’s first corn crop faces right now will not impact Brazilian exports.
As I have already explained a few weeks ago right here in this column, Brazil grows three corn crops a year. The first crop is harvested from January to May and represents about 25% of Brazilian total corn production. It is grown in states where weather conditions do not allow a second corn crop – which is planted from January to March, right after the soybean harvest.
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Hemp production workshop

Join experts from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and beyond in discovering Ohio’s possible new cash crop.

A workshop titled “Growing Hemp in Ohio: Separating Fact from Fiction,” featuring 10 sessions by 18 speakers, is set for Jan. 24 at the CFAES Wooster campus, about 60 miles south of Cleveland.

The event will look at the opportunities and challenges facing Ohio hemp growers. Subjects will include hemp plant basics, growing practices, business considerations, rules, and regulations.

Also offered is an optional program from 9:30 a.m. to noon the next day, Jan. 25, featuring six sessions by speakers from national and Ohio hemp-related businesses. Independence-based HempOhio is sponsoring the program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved Ohio’s hemp plans, making it legal for the state’s farmers to grow the crop.

Useful for making products including health food, paper, clothing, biofuels, bioplastics, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil, hemp is closely related to marijuana but lacks its psychoactive component, the chemical THC.… Continue reading

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2019 eFields Report is available

By Elizabeth Hawkins and John Fulton

The spring planting season of 2019 was a season that many of us may want to forget, but the weather conditions we dealt with provided us an opportunity to learn how we can be more resilient in agriculture. Looking back at the lessons learned can help us be prepared for similar conditions in the future. The 2019 eFields Research Report highlights 88 on-farm, field scale trials conducted in 30 Ohio counties. Research topics include nutrient management, precision crop management, cover crops, and forages. Other information about production budgets, planting progress, and the 2018 Farm Bill is also included.

The 2019 report is now available in both a print and e-version. To receive a printed copy, contact your local OSU Extension office or email digitalag@osu.edu. The e-version can be viewed and downloaded at go.osu.edu/eFields with the online version readable on smartphone or tablet devices.

The eFields team has planned six regional results meetings to discuss local results and gather information about research interests for 2020.… Continue reading

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USDA NASS to re-survey operators with unharvested corn and soybeans

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will re-contact respondents who previously reported acreage not yet harvested in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin in the spring, once producers are able to finish harvesting remaining acres. If the newly collected data justifies any changes, NASS will update the Jan. 10 estimates in a future report. Stocks estimates are also subject to review since unharvested production is included in the estimate of on-farm stocks.

When producers were surveyed for the Crop Production 2019 Summary there was significant unharvested acreage of corn in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin; and soybean acreage not yet harvested in Michigan, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. The unharvested area and expected production were included in the totals released on Jan. 10.

As a result of this work, NASS may release updated acreage, yield, production, and stocks estimates for corn and soybeans later this spring. Because farmers’ ability to complete harvest is impacted by winter weather, timing of the re-contacts and subsequent publication schedule will be announced at a later date.… Continue reading

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Quitting tillage cold turkey

By Matt Reese

In recent years Nathan Brause re-learned some lessons and quit tillage cold turkey.

“My grandpa, Glenn Brause, no-tilled corn into rye on this farm in the 70s. I remember that. Everyone else was plowing and I thought he was crazy,” said Nathan Brause, who was recently named the No-Till Farmer of the Year by the Ohio No-Till Council. “They had it figured out back then and it took me 20 or 30 years to figure it out again.”

When Nathan took over the gently rolling Sunny Slopes Farm in Crawford County that his grandpa had purchased in the 1920s he invested heavily in tillage.

“We were doing soil samples one day and got caught in the rain. We watched the rain just run off. I thought I had to start tilling again. We used to moldboard plow back in the 80s. Then I started deep ripping. Then we got a chisel plow.… Continue reading

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OSU hosting Farm Bill meetings around Ohio

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 through early February 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 assess 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.… Continue reading

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Scientists improve yield predictions based on seedling data

A doctor diagnosing a 50-year-old patient based on a blood test taken during the patient’s infancy would be unthinkable.

Anecdotally speaking, however, that’s what Michigan State University scientists have done with corn. Using plant RNA data from 2-week-old corn seedlings, Shinhan Shiu, professor of plant biology and computational mathematics, science and engineering, has shown that farmers and scientists can improve adult crop trait predictions with accuracy that rivals current approaches using DNA, i.e. genetic data.

“Traditional breeding methods take months to years, which can be saved if we can predict the desirable traits just from DNA and RNA without growing them, without having to measure the actual traits directly,” said Shiu, senior author of the paper appearing in the current issue of The Plant Cell. “To continue the human medicine anecdote, it’s like sequencing an infant’s RNA and analyzing what sort of traits the infant may develop later in life.”

Shiu has long been fascinated with using computational approaches to resolve evolution and genome biology questions.… Continue reading

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Plenty of market factors to watch in early 2020

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Uncertainty and risk are the themes at this writing, just days into 2020. The U.S. military bombed Iran, killing a top general the second trading day of 2020. Crude oil rose over $3 upon news of U.S. air strikes as they reached levels not seen since mid-July 2019.

The U.S. and China are expected to sign an historic trade deal in Phase 1 of ongoing trade talks on Jan. 15. Then a 30-day implementation period goes into effect in which China must wait before they can begin to buy U.S. goods. Instead, it will be crucial to monitor the weekly U.S. grain export sales report, which is published each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. It has been way too long since May 2018 when the tariffs began with partial hints along the way of a trade deal just days away, but unsettled for months. China is not expected to remove retaliatory tariffs implemented since the beginning of the 2018 trade war.… Continue reading

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