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USDA launches second round of trade mitigation payments

At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue this week launched the second and final round of trade mitigation payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. Producers of certain commodities will now be eligible to receive Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments for the second half of their 2018 production.

“The President reaffirmed his support for American farmers and ranchers and made good on his promise, authorizing the second round of payments to be made in short order. While there have been positive movements on the trade front, American farmers are continuing to experience losses due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. This assistance will help with short-term cash flow issues as we move into the new year,” Perdue said.

Secretary Perdue announced in July that USDA would act to aid farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation.

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2018 Grain Farmers Symposium highlights

By Matt Reese

Yesterday’s 2018 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium had a strong program that kicked off with a welcome from Lt. Governor-elect Jon Husted.

“Mike DeWine and I are working very diligently to put our administration together. We are putting the right people in place so we can get our agenda accomplished. That is our focus now in preparation for our inauguration on Jan. 14,” Husted said. “We want to make sure

workforce and training opportunities are available to everybody in rural Ohio and we also want to extend broadband to make sure that no matter where you live in Ohio you have access to the technology highway that broadband presents and creates for everybody. Those will be some of the top priorities for rural Ohio over the next few years.”

Attendees also heard updates on edge of field research from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, gained insights into the farm economy, and heard from Cathann Kress, Dean of the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

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2019 Precision University: Ag tech for in-season management

By Trey Colley, John Fulton, Jenna Lee, and Elizabeth Hawkins

Digital agriculture technologies, connected devices, and sensor networks have enabled data-based decision making to be implemented at the farm level. The farm of the future will have increasing access to data and real-time analyses, allowing new insights related to in-season crop protection and nutrition management. Farmers of today already have many of these data sources at their fingertips through the use of connected smart phones.

Implementation of these digital tools and services during the growing season can potentially reduce the time needed to assess crop health, scout for disease, and evaluate cropping system performance. A recent infusion of in-field sensor systems are beginning to change the game for such in-season decisions through irrigation management, real-time soil nutrient assessment, and site-specific application of cropping inputs. Additionally, advanced scouting tools such as apps with geo-location features, and aerial imagery are being adopted to assist in crop nutrition and crop protection applications.

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NCGA announces 2018 Yield Contest winners

With improved seed varieties, advanced production techniques and innovative growing practices, corn growers achieved impressive yields despite weather-related adversity in the National Corn Growers Association 2018 National Corn Yield Contest.

The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 54th year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members.

“While participating in friendly competition, yield contest participants create and share information that shapes the future of the industry,” said Roger Zylstra, chair of NCGA’s Stewardship Action Team. “Contest winners, at the state and national levels, find innovative ways to help their fellow farmers excel in a variety of situations. Emphasizing innovation both from growers and technology providers, our contest enables us to meet the growing demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber.”

The 18 winners in six production categories had verified yields averaging more than 349 bushels per acre, compared to the projected national average of 178.9 bushels per acre in 2018.

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The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018: Initial review

By Jonathan Coppess, Gary Schnitkey, Nick Paulson, Benjamin Gramig, Krista Swanson, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics University of Illinois and Carl Zulauf, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, Ohio State University

On Monday Dec. 10, 2018, the House and Senate conference committee released the conference report for the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018; the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill. On Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, the Senate moved quickly to pass the conference report with a final vote in favor of the farm bill of 87 to 13. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, the House voted overwhelmingly to pass the farm by 369 to 47 (16 not voting). Given that it passed by veto-proof majorities, it is likely that the President will sign it and the Agricultural Act of 2018 will soon become law.

From the beginning of the debate, the outlook for a farm bill in 2018 was clouded by concerns about relatively lower crop prices, the restricting parameters of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline and the political landscape in Congress.

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Aerial crop disease drone project receives Gates Foundation grant

Aerial drones will scout, track, and hopefully prevent crop diseases in a study conducted by The Ohio State University and supported by a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The study will include a system of plant disease surveillance drones that will be developed to monitor rice blast and maize dwarf mosaic, two devastating diseases in many countries like Tanzania, plant pathologist and principal investigator Enrico Bonello said.

The drones will be mounted with spectral sensors capable of identifying plant pathogens from the air. It is hoped that the technology could allow crop managers to control the spread of disease even before plants show visual symptoms, said Bonello, professor of molecular and chemical ecology of trees in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Department of Plant Pathology.

“This is a very novel, out-of-the-box, high-risk, high-payoff approach to a very significant problem, in a globalized world in which plant diseases are constantly being moved around by human activity,” he said.

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Central Ohio Precision Ag Symposium

By John Barker, Ohio State University Extension

The Central Ohio Precision Ag Symposium will be held on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at All Occasions Catering, 6986 Waldo-Delaware Road, Waldo, Ohio from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s program will feature the most current technologies available in precision agriculture. These topics will be shared by some of the leading university and industry Precision Ag experts.

This year’s program opens with a discussion regarding where we are in Precision Ag today – “The Adoption of Precision Ag Technologies” – Jack Zemlicka, Ag Division Content Director Lessiter Media and ends with a look into the crystal ball – “The Future of Precision Ag” – Dr. Scott Shearer, The Ohio State University.

Data management is a “hot topic” in today precision agriculture. Dr. John Fulton will share his insights on “Data Considerations in Today’s Crop Production.” You will learn about data security and who can/has access to your data at afternoon breakout sessions from Climate-Fieldview, Agleader–Agfinity, and My JohnDeere.

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2018 Ohio Corn Performance Test: Regional overviews

By Rich Minyo, Allen Geyer, David Lohnes, and Peter Thomison

In 2018, 192 corn hybrids representing 24 commercial brands were evaluated in the Ohio Corn Performance Test (OCPT). Four tests were established in the Southwestern/West Central/Central (SW/WC/C) region and three tests were established in the Northwestern (NW) and North Central/Northeastern (NC/NE) regions (for a total of ten test sites statewide). Hybrid entries in the regional tests were planted in either an early or a full season maturity trial. These test sites provided a range of growing conditions and production environments.

Growing conditions were very favorable for corn production across most of Ohio in 2018. The growing season was characterized by well above average rainfall and heat unit accumulation (growing degree-days). Precipitation and heat unit accumulation were generally greater at OCPT sites in the SW/WC/C region (with rainfall ranging from 23.3 to 26.3 inches and heat unit accumulation ranging from 3270 to 3520 GDDs) than at sites in the NW and NC/NE regions.

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Ohio No-Till Conference highlights equipment innovation

By Matt Reese

As more farmers are thinking outside the box to get better results for the environment and their bottom line, innovations with equipment have to keep up. Award winners were recognized, a wide range of topics was highlighted and the evolution of equipment was a part of much of the discussion at this week’s Ohio No-Till Conference in Plain City.

Gary Fennig of Fennig Equipment talked about the continual innovation with equipment for no-till, nutrient management and cover crops.

“We specialize in hand-crafting special requests. Cover crop is one application. Nutrient placement is another. In the next 3 to 5 years, a lot of guys will be taking a hard look at inter-seeding cover crops, nutrient placement, and banding fertilizer. There are a lot of studies out there showing benefits to these farming practices. It is beginning to gain traction,” Fennig said. “We have a corn head cover crop seeder — the seeder fits on the back of the corn head.

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Neutral report from USDA

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Today’s USDA report in typical fashion has been a pretty typical report for the month of December. It is being called a neutral report with very small changes in ending stocks. Corn ending stocks went up 45 million bushels, soybean ending stocks unchanged at 955 million bushels, and wheat ending stocks were up 25 million bushels.

Production and yields do not change with the December report. The market continues to glean for further details on how and when China comes back to the U.S. with their buying shoes on. Prior to the report, corn, soybeans, and wheat were each down one cent. Just following the report corn was unchanged, soybeans up one cent, and wheat was down 2 cents.

The January report will detail final yields and production for corn and soybeans. It will also have U.S. grain stocks as of Dec. 1, 2018.

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Bret Davis elected secretary of American Soybean Association

The American Soybean Association (ASA) recently elected executive committee members to lead its organization in 2019. Bret Davis, Ohio soybean farmer and Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) board member from Delaware County, was elected as Secretary.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) represents U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international policy issues important to the soybean industry. ASA has 26 affiliated state associations representing 30 soybean producing states and more than 300,000 soybean farmers.

“We are happy to see Bret elected to this leadership position,” said Kirk Merritt, OSA executive director. “Bret has a passion for soybean advocacy and is a leader at both the state and national levels. He will make Ohio proud.”

Bret previously served as an At-Large Member on ASA’s Governing Committee and as OSA President, Chairman, Vice President and Treasurer. He grows 3,400 acres of soybeans and corn on his family farm in Delaware County. In addition to his work with ASA and OSA, Bret holds a designation as a Certified Crop Advisor and is a past president of both the FSA Board and the Delaware County Farm Bureau.

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Harvest delays, tariffs and China all influencing markets

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

The last half of November continued the weather trend of summer: wet. As I write this there are still many producers across Ohio who want to be done harvesting corn and soybeans. Unfortunately, it is not going according to plan for those producers. As I talk with customers along with other Ohio producers, many have hundreds of acres of corn or soybeans still remaining in the fields. Rains in central Ohio the weekend following Thanksgiving reached one-half inch or more in many locations. Some of our customers went on to report that one-half looked like three inches in many areas. On the lighter side, one customer who farms with his brother jokingly relayed that he could still be harvesting in May with his brother following immediately behind planting 2019 crops. He went on to say he needed a head start in the combine as the planter covered twice the footprint compared to the combine.

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Soil Health Partnership expands new program to grow network and data

Just in time for World Soil Day on Dec. 5, the Soil Health Partnership (SHP) announced it is expanding a pilot project to give more farmers access to the soil health network.

As the organization launches phase 2 of its pilot Associate Program, it will invite 75 farmers across the country to enroll in 2019. This will enable more farmers to join SHP in its mission of using science and data to support farmers in adopting agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.

The economic component of soil health has taken on an increasing level of urgency during a difficult farm economy, said Shefali Mehta, executive director of the Soil Health Partnership.

“We’ve seen increasing demand from farmers who would like to join our network,” Mehta said. “Expanding the pilot phase of our Associate Program provides a great number of farmers with access to a scientific platform to evaluate soil health as part of a comprehensive management strategy.”

Joining the Associate Program during the pilot phase will give farmers access to no-cost soil health sampling and results.

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Helpful tips for reducing soil erosion

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

Soil erosion is an annual problem throughout the Eastern Corn Belt. Recent research estimates that farmland across the Corn Belt loses close to four tons of soil per acre each year due to erosion. In addition, even under the best conditions topsoil buildup is very slow, if it occurs at all. Soil particles can be detached and moved out of a field by both wind and water. Wind can pick up small soil particles, transporting them long distances. Water moving along the ground surface can remove a thin sheet of soil, create small channels, or wash out large gullies.

 

Factors that contribute to erosion

1.Rainfall — soil erosion increases as length or intensity of rainfall increases
2.Slope length/grade — soil erosion is worse on longer/steeper slopes because water moves faster across the soil
3.Vegetation/residue — growing plants and residue protect the soil from rain impact, slow down flowing water and increase infiltration of water into the soil, as well as protecting the soil from wind erosion.
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Final RVO rule leaves waiver loophole open

The National Corn Growers Association said the EPA’s final 2019 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rule under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) moves renewable fuels and energy security forward in 2019, but the growth will only be realized if EPA does not grant refiners further RFS exemptions.

“We are pleased the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintained the implied conventional ethanol volume of 15 billion gallons and increased the total 2019 renewable fuel volume as intended by the RFS. However, EPA granted refineries 2.25 billion gallons in RFS waivers over the past year but did nothing to account for those lost volumes. If EPA continues to grant large amounts of waivers in this manner, the volumes set in this final rule cannot be met,” said Lynn Chrisp, NCGA president.

In comments on the rule, NCGA and its grower members urged EPA to take steps to maintain the integrity of the RFS, including projecting 2019 waivers and accounting for those gallons to keep the RFS volumes whole.

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Soybean harvest dragging on

By Matt Reese

There were eye-popping soybean yields around the state in 2018 and, unfortunately, some of those soybeans are still out there. The Ohio soybean yield is forecast at 59 bushels per acre, which would be the highest on record if realized, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Ohio Field Office. But, harvest continues to drag on for Ohio’s soybeans with 90% of the state’s crop harvested as of Nov. 25. The five-year average for the same date is 99%.

“We’re just down to about 300 acres of double-crop beans,” said Scott Metzger, a Pickaway County farmer on Nov. 20. “In our area there are some beans and not much corn out there. Everybody was hammering on corn because they were concerned about it going down.”

The early focus on corn followed by very uncooperative harvest weather has unfortunately left some soybean fields un-harvested into December. Quality issues also presented a challenge for soybeans, offsetting some of the strong yields.

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The root of all production

By Mary Wicks and Peter Ling

In many ways, the intricate network of plant roots serve as its control center. Thus, optimizing the root environment, including irrigation water and nutrient levels, can improve plant health and production. The controlled growing conditions of a greenhouse allows for precision management of the root zone.

In traditional crop production, where plants grown outdoors in fields, irrigation and fertilizer application are options, but there is little or no control over rainfall and soil composition and chemistry. Greenhouse producers can choose a growing media, from hydroponics to soilless substrates, that best fits the plant’s needs. Similarly, the amount and chemistry of irrigation water and nutrients can be carefully controlled. By providing conditions that optimize the function of roots, greenhouses production can improve plant health, increase yields, and reduce potential runoff of soil and nutrients.

 

Find out more from the experts

On Jan. 17 and 18, 2019 greenhouse growers will have the opportunity to learn how to optimize the root zone environment for improved plant production.

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Did you spray a fall burndown?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Is it too late to make a fall application for marestail control? Probably not, but will the conditions allow? That is another story. I have seen a few folks squeeze in fall applications, and heard several who said they will still try. I made a couple of applications last fall in mid-December and surprisingly they worked. I used glyphosate and 2,4-D. It went under snow shortly after and then deep cold, so I wasn’t sure if I had wasted my time. But when we started to green up in the spring, it was mostly dead — not perfect but pretty good. This year we had a long fall, and plenty of moisture to get weeds started. It’s green out there under those corn stalks.

We have published this information fairly frequently in the C.O.R.N. newsletter (http://corn.osu.edu), and our suggestions for fall treatments have not really changed much.

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Ohio wraps up a banner year for corn

By Matt Reese

For those who really like to watch corn grow, 2018 was a great year.

Ohio’s 2018 corn is by far the best-ever crop statewide and is also the highest average yield for many individual farms. In November, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service bumped Ohio’s corn yield up 16 bushels from last year’s report to an average yield of 193 bushels per acre, which would be the highest on record if realized. Total production is expected to be 629 million bushels, up 14% from 2017.

The record crop got its start last May. April was just an extension of a very long, cold winter, but Ohio’s summer temperatures arrived right around May 1. What followed was an astonishing accumulation of heat units for the vast majority of the state. By Oct. 14 almost all Ohio locations being monitored were well above average on heat unit accumulation, according to NASS.

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2019 Ag Outlook Meeting

Sutton Bank is hosting a 2019 Ag Outlook Meeting on Mon. Dec. 17, 2018.

The event will be packed with short sessions from experts with information that will help manage the risk and financial success of farms.

The program includes attorneys Robert E. Moore and Ryan Conklin of Wright & Moore Law Co. on the topic of Agricultural Law – What You Should Know Before Signing Leases; Denny Camp and Mike Moore of Payne Nickles & Co on the topic of Understanding New Tax Laws; Brenda Blair, Seneca County CED with Updates on FSA Farm Programs; Jim Byrne, Byrne Agricultural Marketing discussing Grain Marketing Strategies; Randy Barclay, Marketing Supervisor, Rain and Hail, Central Division – Crop on Insurance Key Updates; and Matt Roberts with the Economic Ag Outlook for 2019.

The event will be held at the Attica Fairgrounds Social Hall at 15131 E. Township Road 12 Attica, Ohio 44807.

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