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SCN overcoming resistant soybeans

The soybean cyst nematode (SCN) continues to erode yields in Ohio, often largely unnoticed. Approximately every three years, a map is updated where SCN is found around the country using records from diagnostic clinics and data from field studies.

As researchers expected, SCN has expanded in Ohio — from the western to the eastern borders of the state. In addition, researchers are identifying more fields in the state with populations above the economic thresholds. SCN populations of 1,500 eggs per cup of soil lead to 25% to 50% yield loss without any above ground symptoms.

“We’re identifying fields where the counts are getting way out of line, up in the 18,000 to 25,000 eggs per cup of soils. The cautionary tale is that folks really need to keep track of the SCN populations and sample,” said Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist. “SCN is an obnoxious little thing. You can’t even see the difference in the field and you are losing 15% to 20% of your yield.… Continue reading

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Fall herbicide applications in the era of Enlist

The U.S. EPA last week issued approval for Enlist Duo, the glyphosate-2,4-D premix for use in the Enlist corn and soybean system, in six states, including Ohio.

The approval came with a number of conditions that set a new precedent really, and we will cover these in more detail later this fall. Dow informed us that they would provide more information in the near future about intentions for the scope of the 2015 launch of Enlist. They are still working on export clearances for some countries and as with most new things, availability will be limited initially anyway. We obviously have problems with herbicide resistance in Ohio, which have reduced the utility of some herbicide sites of action. So new weed management technology is needed and beneficial, and this includes the Enlist system along with the traits that provide resistance in soybeans to dicamba and group 27 herbicides (HPPD inhibitors — mesotrione and isoxaflutole).… Continue reading

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EPA launches voluntary program to reduce herbicide drift

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a new voluntary Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) program to encourage the use of verified, safer pesticide spray products to reduce exposure and pesticide movement while saving farmers money in pesticide loss.

“Every year state and local agencies receive thousands of complaints about the impacts of pesticide drift on people, wildlife and plants,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Our new star-rating system of products and technologies will help farmers reduce drift, protect neighbors and reduce costs by keeping more of the pesticide on the crop. We hope the new voluntary DRT will encourage the manufacture, marketing and use of safer spray technology and equipment scientifically proven to reduce pesticide drift.”

One to ten percent of agricultural pesticide sprays drift or move from the intended target crop. Every year about 70 million pounds of pesticides valued up to $640 million are lost to pesticide drift.… Continue reading

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Expect harvest delays moving forward

Large corn and soybean crops will likely result in backups at grain handling facilities and delay some farmers from harvesting, Purdue agricultural economist Chris Hurt said.

“When the grain industry hits its maximum drying or storage capacity, harvest has to slow down to allow dryers to catch up and to move more grain out of storage toward end users,” Hurt said. “This forced slowdown of harvest activity generally occurs during the last half of corn harvest, which will likely be in late-October and the first half of November this year.”.

To make matters more challenging, there is still some corn still has relatively high moisture content. The USDA said in its Oct. 14 Crop Progress report that the average Indiana corn moisture was still at 22%. Corn needs to be dried to about 15% moisture content to be safely stored.

“The record volume of corn this year and the high moisture mean that, in some areas, dryers simply cannot dry the corn as quickly as farmers can harvest,” Hurt said.… Continue reading

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Weather and logistics making 2014 harvest a long one

Harvest or the lack of it during the first half of October was much different than September. Central and southern Ohio took advantage of great harvest weather in September. Unfortunately that came to a halt as the first two weeks of October had more rain days than all of September.

Corn yields continue to be above average for much of the Midwest as many producers report record breaking yields. Illinois also had plentiful rain early last month as the Decatur and Springfield areas had as much as six inches in a two day period bringing harvest to a halt. Stalk quality has deteriorated, making the threat of high winds a huge concern. U.S. corn harvest progress by the middle of October was just 24%, while soybean harvest was 40%. Further examination revealed some states were 20% below average for corn or soybean harvest by the middle of October. Weather forecasts indicate November weather across the Midwest could be wet and cool.… Continue reading

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Planting off to slow start in Brazil

Brazil’s soy planting is 10% complete for the 2014-15 crop, the slowest for this time of year since the 2008-09 season, local Brazilian consultancy AgRural said.

Planting advanced just three percentage points from the previous week after a long dry spell in many areas made the soil too dry to continue field work, and seeds that were already planted may have to be replanted.

“There are reports on the need for replanting in many regions, but producers say they will only know the size of the area when rains return, which should happen with more regularity in the last week of October,” AgRural said in a weekly bulletin.

Farmers’ soy planting is nine percentage points behind the planting at this time a year ago and 10 percentage points behind the five-year average, AgRural said.

Despite the dry weather and slow planting, analysts are maintaining their forecasts for a record soybean crop in Brazil of between 90 million and 98 million tonnes.… Continue reading

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Are the price rallies justified?

Similar to many of you, I’m running the combine this week, so I’ll keep the commentary short.

On Thursday I drove from Minneapolis to my farm south of Lincoln, NE. I was amazed by what I didn’t see — there was very little corn harvested along I-35 and I-80. For mid-October, this is a big change from years past. Bean harvest was still in progress, but it wasn’t as far along as I expected, considering the USDA reports that beans are 40% harvested.

There were incredible corn and bean rallies this week. Several things caused this.

One, federal statements that interest rates will not likely increase in 2015. This makes the dollar less valuable and easier to export grain overseas. This caused short covering by the funds from the rise in prices, which caused even more rallies (sell the dollar and buy grains).

Second, the financial market went into a tail-spin with the news of a second ebola case. … Continue reading

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Ohio fertilizer training program kicks off

Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is ramping up its efforts to improve Ohio’s water quality through a new fertilizer applicator certification training program that’s designed to help growers increase crop yields using less fertilizer more efficiently, thus reducing the potential for phosphorus runoff into the state’s watersheds.

Introduced in September as part of Ohio’s new agricultural fertilization law, the program has already trained 777 Ohio growers who farm some 522,250 acres of farmland statewide, said Greg LaBarge, an Ohio State University Extension field specialist and one of the leaders of Ohio State’s Agronomic Crops Team.

Offering the certification training program is part of the college’s goal to improve the state’s water quality by informing growers how to lessen the use of phosphorus and keep more of it on the field, while increasing crop yields and boosting farm profits, LaBarge said.

“The training covers water quality and crop production best management practices, including encouraging growers to adhere to the principles of applying the right fertilizer at the right rate at the right time and in the right place,” he said.… Continue reading

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Plan now for 2015 weed control

As herbicide resistant weeds become more prevalent across the Eastern Corn Belt, university weed experts and agronomists continue to advocate the importance of fall herbicide applications. University research has proven to be practical and applicable in the field. Growers who make fall herbicide applications have an easier time keeping weeds under control in the following growing season, and as a result, have cleaner fields.

As harvest winds down, it will be important to take some time to plan for fall herbicide applications. There are many resources available, including articles and discussions of research studies performed by university experts. There are many questions concerning these applications such as: When to apply? What products? What rates? How much should I spend? If you only have time to read one article on the subject, check out this excellent article by Ohio State University’s Mark Loux by clicking here.

As always, Seed Consultants’ agronomy staff is available and has provided the sales staff with resources to assist customers in making sound agronomic decisions this fall.… Continue reading

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Getting late to plant wheat

Growers may still have time to plant wheat this fall even though cool, wet weather that has delayed the soybean harvest for many growers is making wheat planting difficult for some, according to a field crops expert with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

While wheat is ideally planted within 10 days past the fly-free safe date, which has now passed, growers can still plant wheat later into October but doing so is risky, said Laura Lindsey, a soybean and small grains specialist with the college’s outreach arm, Ohio State University Extension.

“If we experience a frost or freeze in November or December with late-planted wheat, the crops could see some problems,” she said. “But if the weather holds in November and December, the wheat should be fine.”

Soybeans across much of the state were planted late this spring due to cooler, wet, muddy conditions in May, Lindsey said.… Continue reading

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USDA taking steps to address resistant weeds

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced several steps that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking to address the increase of herbicide resistant weeds in U.S. agricultural systems.

“Weed control in major crops is almost entirely accomplished with herbicides today,” said Vilsack. “USDA, working in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, must continue to identify ways to encourage producers to adopt diverse tactics for weed management in addition to herbicide control. The actions we are taking today are part of this effort.”

USDA is announcing several of the steps it is taking to help farmers manage their herbicide resistant weed problems in a more holistic and sustainable way:

  • USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer financial assistance under its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for herbicide resistant weed control practices that utilize Integrated Pest Management plans and practices.
  • Later this year NRCS will be soliciting proposals under the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) Program for innovative conservation systems that address herbicide resistant weeds.
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Soybean inputs evaluated for value

There are so many products and practices out there offering incredible benefits to crop production that is can make a farmer’s head spin. And, as crop budgets are getting increasingly tighter, it is important to know what really helps yield and what is a waste of money?

To find some answers, Laura Lindsey, with funds from the Ohio soybean checkoff, is conducting a two-year study examining some of the more popular practices and products in soybean production. Graduate student Grace Bluck also contributed to the research.

“It is a little bit different treatment design. It has been done in Ohio for corn but not for soybeans,” said Lindsey, in Horticulture and Crop Science with The Ohio State University Extension. “Similar studies have been done in Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana, but not Ohio.”

The study looked at fertilizer levels, fungicides, inoculant, gypsum, and insecticides in Henry, Delaware and Clinton counties. Of the different inputs, there was very little yield response in general, though fungicides did make a difference in some situations.… Continue reading

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EPA registers Enlist herbicide

Resistant weeds have more than doubled since 2009 and infest approximately 70 million acres of American farmland. In some cases, farmers have had to resort to hand weeding many acres to get on top of the problem.

With this in mind, many farmers are glad to hear that a new weed control tool will be available in the near future. Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is registering the long awaited herbicide, Enlist Duo, for controlling weeds in corn and soybeans genetically-engineered to tolerate 2,4-D and glyphosate. This follows up on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to deregulate Dow AgroSciences 2,4-D and glyphosate-resistant corn and soybeans last month.

The regulatory process for the technology has been a long one.

“It took more than 1,800 days for the USDA to approve it and there was very little reasoning for the length of that time frame that should have been closer to 300 days,” said John Davis, a Delaware County farmer and board member for the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association.… Continue reading

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Current farm economics encourage a new way of thinking about nitrogen

The current corn price is a significant incentive to consider a new way of thinking when it comes to nitrogen management.

A new economic nitrogen model has been discussed as far back as 2007. Then, inputs were so low in cost relative to corn prices that farmers did not show much interest. That is no longer the case. Agriculture has taken an economic 180-degree turn since then and producers are looking to save on input costs and are very curious about a new Corn Nitrogen Rate Calculator developed by Iowa State University.

“Always in the past, we used the Tri-State Fertility Guide for recommendations on nitrogen for our corn crop and, of course, that was based on yield information,” said Sam Custer, Ohio State Extension Educator in Darke County. “Now we are looking at using an economic model, based strictly on the return on nitrogen investment.”

The Iowa State calculator includes Ohio specific recommendations, and is as simple as putting in the type of nitrogen source, amount, price for that nitrogen, and the price of corn.… Continue reading

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Capturing price rallies

Many farmers have been waiting for a 25-cent rally and it finally happened last week, but it happened once corn had hit $3.20. The USDA report increased yield estimates and decreased harvested acres to levels the trade expected, keeping prices steady after the report. Still the trade expects a bigger crop than current USDA estimates and this sent the market lower into the close on Friday. There are two reasons that corn has not likely hit bottom.

1) From a technical perspective, oversold conditions are not strong after the rally this week.

2) Fundamentally gulf basis prices are declining.

3) Another consideration — most farmers are filling contracted grain first, and home storage second. What will happen to prices once contracts are filled and home storage is full? If the southern states are any indication it means that basis will fall in the short term.

We are 66% complete with corn harvest on my farm.… Continue reading

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Agriculture taking measurable steps toward improving Lake Erie water quality

Less than a year after its launch, the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced its first three agriculture nutrient service providers to achieve certified status.

The voluntary certification program is a concentrated effort by the agriculture industry to significantly reduce and prevent applied nutrients from running off fields, which has contributed to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, such as the one responsible for the shutdown of Toledo’s water supply in early August.

The three facilities achieving certification to date include:

• Legacy Farmers Cooperative Custar, Ohio facility

• Morral Companies, LLC Caledonia,

Ohio facility

• The Andersons, Inc. Fremont, Ohio facility

“We’re proud to be recognizing the first 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program

certified facilities,” said Chris Henney, president and CEO of the Ohio AgriBusiness

Association, which serves as the administrator of the program. “By participating in the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program, these facilities have proven their commitment to the long term improvement of Lake Erie’s water quality.”

The program certifies that individuals and entities in the Western Lake Erie Basin that

sell, apply or make recommendations on how fertilizers should be applied to crops are

doing so in accordance with 4R Nutrient Stewardship principles which refers to using the Right Source of Nutrients at the Right Rate and Right Time in the Right Place.… Continue reading

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How do you analyze test plot data?

Most farmers plant single strips of several hybrids and try to select hybrids for the following year. Single strips are OK for observations but replications can measure variability and give you more reliable results. Consider the following points for analyzing test plot data.

• One location or test is not enough to draw conclusions about the performance of a hybrid or variety but it is a lot better than not planting any test plot at all. However, when combined with information from other unbiased sources, your own test plots become a powerful tool for the selection process, especially when you start accumulating data for several years.

• For analyzing yield data whether from university trials, data from Seed Consultants test plots or third party data, make sure you are looking at data from replicated tests.

• Replications must be randomized which allows every hybrid or variety an equal chance of being on a certain piece of ground or next to a certain treatment as any other.… Continue reading

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Gypsum could offer water quality benefits

Gypsum, which has roots in the past as a farm soil treatment, also may have a bright future, and not just as a booster of crops but also as a protector of water.

Warren Dick, a scientist in Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, is two years into a three-year study of gypsum’s benefits on farms, including to soil quality, crop yields and reducing phosphorus runoff.

So far, he said, farm fields in his study treated with gypsum are seeing an average reduction of 55% in soluble phosphorus runoff, based on tests of water samples collected from the fields’ drainage tiles.

“There’s no one technology that’s going to solve the issue of phosphorus runoff,” said Dick, a soil and environmental chemistry professor in the college’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. “But I think gypsum is going to become one of the tools in the toolbox, something farmers will use with other approaches as part of their total management package.”

Experts say soluble phosphorus runoff from farms is a cause of the harmful algal blooms plaguing Lake Erie and other lakes in recent years.… Continue reading

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U.S. infrastructure important for future of ag

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Transportation Division released a study in September, examining how improved Brazilian infrastructure and the continuing decline of U.S.  infrastructure impacts the U.S. soybean exports and global market share.

According to the study, although the U.S. is still the dominant country in the world soybean market, the U.S. market share of soybean world trade is declining.

“This study quantifies the decline that results from changes in ocean freight rates and Brazil’s infrastructure development. The results suggest that the U.S. world market share could further decline by 20 percentage points without improvements in the U.S. infrastructure from the farm to the port,” the report states. “A decline of 1% in the U.S. soybean market share is equivalent to $500 million lost in export sales, based on a world soybean trade volume of 100 million metric tons and today’s price of soybeans.  Market shares for the United States, Argentina, and Brazil converge and reach equilibrium over the study period, despite the variability of the ocean freight rates.”

The study states while Brazil can import production technology and increase planted area to expand exports, its capacity is limited without a transportation system that includes all major modes (truck, rail, barge and ocean vessel) utilized by the U.S.… Continue reading

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The Weekly Corn Belt Update – October 10th, 2014


Host:  Jay Calhoun of Colgan Commodities “Snapshot Tour”

The Snapshot Tour is hosted by Jay Calhoun of Colgan Commodities. This is a daily update on crop and weather conditions across locations in the Corn Belt.  Listen to the audio report in full by visiting www.colgancommodities.com and clicking on the audio tab.

Maumee, Ohio

Harvest progress has been slow.  Very little was accomplished this week.  Producers will be at it today, but rain moves back in Sunday evening and will halt progress again til Wednesday.  Beans are running in the mid 60’s and are 10% harvested.  Corn is 15% harvested and great yields of 220+ very common.

  Greenville, OH

Harvest was on the slow side.  Intermittent showers slowed bean progress which is around 20% .  Yields are ranging from the upper 50’s to upper 60’s.  Corn is at least 20% harvested with many yields averaging over 200+. … Continue reading

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