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CTC Conference coming soon

The Conservation Tillage & Technology Conference (CTC) will soon be here. This year it will be held Tuesday, March 3 and Wednesday, March 4 at Ohio Northern University in Ada. Each year the CTC gives farmers and crop consultants an opportunity to not only catch up on the latest conservation tillage information, but also serves as a valuable source of up-to-date Cover Crop and Soil Health programming in addition to the traditional Corn University and Soybean School programs which bring participants to this annual conference looking for ways to increase crop production efficiencies while stretching that bottom line.

Also, as a feature this year, the CTC will be having concurrent sessions on Precision Seeding and Placement along with Big Data usage from farm fields to farm machinery to effective use in making management decisions. Besides these exciting new topics, Certified Crop Advisors and farmers alike won’t want to miss out on Advanced Scouting sessions.… Continue reading

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2015 on-farm soil fertility projects

The Ohio State Soil Fertility Lab will be starting a number of projects this year that will only be successful with participation from farmer cooperators across the state. We are asking for your help with the projects outlined below.

1) Revising Fertilizer Recommendations in Corn, Soybean, and Wheat

We are in the process of updating the Tri-State Recommendations, looking specifically at N, P and K in corn, soybean and wheat. This is a major undertaking that will require a collective effort from numerous OSU extension personnel, crop consultants and farmer cooperators. We will cast a broad net to collect data from a large number of farms across the state and determine economically-optimum fertilization rates to maximize farmer profitability.

Experiments will involve either applying additional fertilizer or no fertilizer to replicated strip plots. Farmers can choose which nutrient they’d like to work with and will have a large degree of flexibility in the plot layout and applied rates.… Continue reading

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Match your corn hybrids to your needs and your soils (Even if the seed is in the shed)

Selecting and matching the right hybrids to soils on your farm and for your needs & purpose is one of the most important decisions you will make for meeting your yield goals. Make the hybrid selection on a field-by-field basis and check out the following points:

• No-till, minimum-till or conventional — Hybrids for no-till ground should have very good seedling vigor and strong disease tolerance package.

• What is the CEC and pH value? Hybrids do differ in their response to different soil types. Soil Type Response — Is the soil sandy, loam, clay, with high organic matter content?

• For lighter ground select hybrids with Drought, Heat and Stress Tolerance — Even though we had two years of good growing weather, you never know when Mother Nature wants to turn the heat on again. Hybrids with good drought and stress tolerance are available from Seed Consultants.

• Hybrid Maturity — Generally, full-season hybrids for your area will have the highest yield potential.… Continue reading

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USDA offers few changes and several yawns in report


Today’s report was pretty boring, a few changes, nothing major. No big price movements followed this report.  Corn ending stocks were lowered 50 million bushels to 1.827 billion bushels. Corn for ethanol was increased 75 million bushels but feed demand was lowered 25 million bushels.  Ending stocks for corn were less than traders had expected. That along with higher ethanol numbers is a small positive. Soybean ending stocks stand at 385 million bushels, down 25 million bushels from January. Crush was increased by 15 million bushels while soybean exports went up 20 million bushels.  Soybean imports went up by 10 million bushels. US ending stocks at 385 million bushels would be a positive. Brazil’s soybean production was lowered by one million ton to 94.5 million tons. That decline was offset by higher production from Argentina of one million tons to 56 million tons.  Wheat ending stocks were up 5 million bushels to 692 million bushels.Continue reading

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A farmer’s story

Richard Flax hopes he can save someone’s life with his story. Here it is.

“We had a bin we tried to core in December and the grain didn’t come out of it. We decided the only way we could get it unloaded was to unload it out of the sample spout on the side of the bin. We got one side unloaded. We got it down to where we could get into the top door on the side. At that point we put some rods in and were trying to push them down to the side draw. When we got the side draw opened up we were ecstatic because we had been working on this problem for a couple of months and we had gotten it going. We stayed there and were watching the corn go down.”

Richard was in the bin with his grown son, Kevin, and another man outside.… Continue reading

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RFS proposal announced

Reps. Bob Goodlatte, Jim Costa, Steve Womack, and Peter Welch reintroduced the RFS Reform Act to the frustration of biofuel proponents.

“Once again, Rep. Goodlatte and his colleagues have put Big Oil ahead of America’s corn farmers. The Renewable Fuel Standard is working: enabling competition from America’s renewable energy market, and breaking Big Oil’s monopoly. With the help of the RFS, we have reduced foreign oil imports by 25%. In 2013, 33% of petroleum consumed in the U.S. was imported — the lowest level since 1985. The renewable fuels industry drives an estimated $184.5 billion in economic output and supports more than 850,000 jobs,” said Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association, issued the following statement. “Farmers answered the call for energy that is clean, renewable, and American-grown. They have produced a second consecutive record crop, with more than enough corn to meet our needs for food, fuel, feed, and fiber.… Continue reading

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New vineyard survey assessing costs

Whether it’s clearing brush from the vineyard, installing wire or laying tile drainage, labor in Ohio’s grape-growing industry, and how much it costs, is the focus of an inaugural Ohio Vineyard Custom Rate Survey.

The project will allow viticulturists and other experts from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences to gauge how much Ohio grape growers pay farm workers and machinery operators to work in their vineyards.

The survey is being conducted by Ohio State University Extension educators as a means of determining the cost of work completed on a vineyard by others, which is often referred to as custom work, said David Marrison, an OSU Extension educator.

The survey is targeted at both those who hired custom vineyard workers and those who performed the work, Marrison said. A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider, he said.… Continue reading

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Palmer amaranth holding steady in Ohio

There is increasing concern in more northern states about the tremendous weed problem in the South — most notably the dreaded herbicide resistant Palmer amaranth.

The notorious weed has been making appearances in Ohio fields.

“It has been found in more than one location in Fayette County,” said Mike Earley, an agronomist with Seed Consultants, Inc. “If we catch it at two or three inches we are able to control with Cobra, or Flexstar or Prefix, which is a Dual/Flexstar premix. About the only other thing to do for it is Liberty.”

Palmer amaranth is in the pigweed family, so it looks similar.

“The leaf petiole is going to be longer than the leaf if you break it off from the stem.  That is the first identifying factor and it has a hairless main stem,” Earley said. “It is tough to identify if you don’t know what to look for.”

The seed is getting into Ohio in a variety of ways.… Continue reading

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Cropland market outlook relatively flat

While cropland values in Ohio increased in each of the past three years, several factors, including continued low interest rates, low debt-to-asset ratios and lower profit margins, are likely going to make for a relatively flat land market in 2015, an economist from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences said.

Ohio cropland value rose 8.9% in 2014, with bare cropland averaging $5,650 an acre, said Barry Ward, production business management leader for Ohio State University Extension.

Ward, citing statistics from the Ohio Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, said he expects values to be flat to modestly lower this year depending on relative crop margins and interest rates.

“Projected budgets for Ohio’s primary crops for 2015 show the potential for low margins and pressure to decrease cash rents,” he said. “On the other hand, strong equity positions together with higher property taxes will likely continue to lend support to cash rental rates.”

Lower profit margins in 2014 and 2015 will put downward pressure on rents, Ward said.… Continue reading

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WISHH at work in Asia

Asian food industry representatives gathered on Jan. 28 to gain insight into how they can offer a variety of nutritious foods made with soy and soy ingredients in Myanmar.

The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program organized the seminar with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and North Dakota Soybean Council.

The seminar is based on WISHH’s USDA-supported research in Myanmar, which is located between India and China and formerly known as Burma. The research suggests that by partnering with the local industry to improve soy processing and increase awareness of soy and soy-based foods, human consumption of soy-based foods will expand in Myanmar.

“North Dakota soybean growers are pleased to work through WISHH and USDA to increase the potential for trade for soybeans,” said Art Wosick, who serves as a director of the North Dakota Soybean Council as well as on the WISHH Program Committee.… Continue reading

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Dry weather hurting Brazil’s soybean crop

Though recent rains have helped in some areas, hot, dry weather throughout January damaged Brazil’s 2014/15 soybean crop, said local consultancy AgRural, which plans to cut its forecast for the crop from 95 million tonnes in its February revision.

“Even though there were some rains during the week, the volumes were not enough to normalize the soil in parts of the northeast, center-west and southeast,” AgRural said in a report published late on Friday. “Losses can already be accounted for.”

Parts of top soy-growing state Mato Grosso have received less than half the usual volume of January rains, Somar meteorologists said in a bulletin on Monday, though rains have been above average in the far south.

Soy harvesting is 3% complete nationwide, AgRural said, in line with last year and the 5-year historical average.

Dry weather in the center-west state of Goias, which was most affected by hot dry weather, could result in a loss of 15% of the state’s crop, or 1.2 billion reais ($462 million) worth of damage, according to state farm association Faeg.… Continue reading

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Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District 2015 Agronomy Workshop & Expo

The Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District 2015 Agronomy Workshop & Expo to be held on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. New this year, Agriculture Fertilizer Applicator Certification will be available for those with a pesticide applicator license. Certified Crop Advisors may earn continuing education credits and those with a private pesticide applicator license may earn one hour of core credit.

This free event is sponsored by the Delaware, Knox, Licking, and Morrow Soil & Water Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ohio Federation of Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Delaware County Farm Bureau, and the Upper Big Walnut Creek Water Quality Partnership. This year’s agenda includes the following:

  • Keynote speaker Tom Bruulsema, Director of the Northeast Region of the International Plan Nutrition Institute will address Sustainable Crop Nutrition:Improving Global and Local Performance
  • Michelle Lohstroh, Assistant State Conservationist with USDA Natural Resources

Conservation Service will provide an update on USDA programs

  • Anne Dorrance, Professor of Plant Pathology at Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, will discuss Making Soybean Disease Management Profitable
  • Kevin King, Research Agricultural Engineer with USDA Agricultural Research Service, will speak to Surface and Subsurface Nutrient Transport:Preliminary Findings from Edge of Field Research in Ohio
  • John Barker, Knox County Director with The Ohio State University Extension, will cover Soil Testing
  • Jeff McCutcheon, Morrow County Director with The Ohio State University Extension will address Phosphorus Management on Pastures
  • Rob Leeds, Delaware County Director with The Ohio State University Extension will cover the Agriculture Fertilizer Applicator Certification

Visit vendor displays and ask questions about cover crops, equipment, fertilizer, herbicides, and more.… Continue reading

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USDA accepting applications for CSP

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will make $100 million available this year through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).  Applications are accepted all year; however, interested farmers and forest landowners should submit applications by February 27, 2015, to ensure consideration for this year’s funding (applications received after that date will be considered for future funding).   The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers CSP and may enroll up to 7.7 million acres this year.

“CSP provides an incentive for farmers and private forest managers who already practice conservation on their land to achieve even higher levels of stewardship,” said Terry Cosby, Ohio’s NRCS State Conservationist. “By addressing multiple resource concerns, such as soil erosion, air, and water quality, landowners maintain or increase the productivity of their operations on a more sustainable landscape.”

Cosby said CSP producers are conservation leaders, showing how science-based conservation and technological advancements can improve the environment and farming operations at the same time.… Continue reading

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2015 will be a year of survival for crop operations

Last month USDA came out with a plethora of reports for grains. USDA estimated 2014 corn production at 14.216 billion bushels with a yield at 171 bushels per acre. Both numbers were down from the previous estimate last November. Early last fall, some analysts thought corn production could top 15 billion bushels with the yield climbing near 180 bushels. Ending stocks were reduced 121 million bushels to 1.877 billion bushels. Corn production eclipsed the record production year of 2013. The January reports included grain stocks as of December 1.

Corn stocks were higher than expected which provided a dampening affect on corn prices. In addition, many traders were disappointed that harvested corn acres were unchanged. For weeks and months leading up to this report, commodity trading funds had added to their already long corn positions. They had long pointed out that the corn acres number tabulated by FSA were less than expected, having a larger than normal discrepancy compared to the USDA corn acres number in the supply and demand table.… Continue reading

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Expanded market access for U.S. grown apples to China

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reached agreement with Chinese officials to allow all U.S. grown apples to gain access to the Chinese market. This will allow a greater share of U.S. apple exports to China in the coming months and has the potential to increase U.S. fresh apple exports, which were valued at more than $1 billion in 2013, by approximately 10%. With this new agreement, the apple industry estimates that within two years, exports to China will reach 5 million bushels annually, a value of nearly $100 million per year. The agreement was reached during bilateral discussions between USDA and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) in San Francisco.

“USDA values the relationship we are forging with China to bring mutually-beneficial food and agricultural trade to Americans and Chinese alike. The new access for American exports we’re announcing today is the culmination of decades of hard work by USDA staff.… Continue reading

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ASA shows support for neonicotinoid seed treatments

The American Soybean Association reiterated support for pollinator health and the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments to soybean farmers in comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

EPA released an analysis in October, contending that neonicotinoid seed treatments do not contribute to improving soybean yield; however, ASA has heard from farmers, especially in the northern and mid-south growing regions, that growers are seeing benefits from the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments.

“ASA cannot support efforts to restrict or ban neonicotinoid seed treatment products,” ASA states in the comments. “Such efforts would unquestionably lead to additional and more costly input applications than the more limited use of seed treatment products.”

The comments also underscored that soybean producers use neonicotinoid seed treatments where they are needed and effective, and don’t use them where they are not. That approach to the use of crop protection products should be rewarded, not penalized.

“Farmers who use seed treatments for soybean seed note that the withdrawal of registration for neonicotinoids would harm the sustainability of those who genuinely need this tool,” ASA said.… Continue reading

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Schedule set for on-farm food safety training programs for fruits and vegetables

Ohio State University Extension’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Program is again hosting training sessions on “Good Agricultural Practices” for Ohio’s fruit and vegetable producers.

“This year’s program is very similar to the 2014 program,” said Lindsey Hoover, the program’s coordinator.

New this year is information on the proposed supplement to the produce safety rule in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act, which is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register in October, Hoover said. The proposal includes revisions in what will be required for water quality and testing, manure and compost application, and wildlife intrusion.

The revisions are still in the proposal stage and are subject to further change, Hoover said, but participants will learn the newest information available at the time of the classes.

Classes typically run about three hours, Hoover said. Participants will receive a three-ring binder with standard operating procedure templates and record-keeping templates, presentation handouts and a certificate of participation.… Continue reading

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A tool to make profitable decisions in 2015

The commodity price outlook for 2015 is lower than it has been in recent years and input prices have held firm for the most part, putting a tight squeeze on profit margins for farmers.

Knowing your numbers will be a key to making profitable decisions in 2015, according to Alex Johnson, an agronomist with Beck’s Hybrids. He has talked with farmers throughout Ohio over the last few weeks about sitting down and taking a look at their crop budgets.

“Crop budgeting is a pretty simple process, but an important one,” Johnson said. “It’s all about knowing your cost per acre and converting the cost per acre to cost per bushel, getting to precisely what it takes for you to produce a bushel of grain.”

Johnson says as farmers begin to work on their 2014 taxes, they will get an idea of what last year’s profitability was, but that retrospective look won’t be much help when planning the year ahead.… Continue reading

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The evolution of digital agriculture and considerations today

A farmer commented to me the other day when talking about data that the industry “really needs to be able to exchange data across platforms.” This comment was associated with other comments about how farmers are looking for help in understanding the benefits data can bring to their business but also how data services and portability of data need to be simplified. We also discussed how data are being generated on a variety of machinery but likely not all with the same brand. Our discussion ended with his belief that data could bring additional information back to his farm and in particular to be able to benchmark facets of his operation with others. However, proof and clarity to what data services actually deliver were needed.

Big data?

Big data continues to be a hot discussion topic within the agricultural community. New technology and services are continuing to come online to help farmers.… Continue reading

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OSU Extension winter agronomy meetings

Winter meeting season is here for 2015 and that means getting some personal and professional education. We on the Agronomic Crops Team try to provide programs of interest to corn, soybean and wheat growers across Ohio. See our calendar throughout the winter: http://agcrops.osu.edu/calendar.

February is a big Extension meeting month. Please pick out the one you like and join us. For more details on the following programs check our calendar (http://agcrops.osu.edu) or call your local Extension office.


Feb. 2

Northeast Ohio Agronomy School

Williamsfield Community Center in Williamsfield, Ohio

This year’s workshop will focus on keeping crop producers on the front edge of farm policy, technology, weed control, disease management and fertility decisions. With profit margins decreasing it will be vital for crop producers to get the biggest bang from the dollars they invest in land rental, seed and fertilizer, technology, chemicals, and crop protection. Pre-registration is required by Monday, January 26, 2015.… Continue reading

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