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Brad Mattix

We farm 4,400 acres in a 50-50 corn soybean rotation in Marion and Crawford counties. We also own M&W Farm Supply and put chicken litter on most of the ground. We work with chicken litter from Trillium Farms out of Croton and the Mt. Victory and Marseilles area. We do all of the spreading with that and cover anywhere from 50,000 to 68,000 acres with over 100,000 tons in an 11-county area. We have to spread 31,000 tons this spring. We will have variable rate capabilities for spreading this spring and fall. That keeps us hopping.

We haven’t been able to spread manure since New Year’s Day because we don’t apply on frozen ground. We’ve got to make sure we are following the setbacks and we watch the rules very carefully. If we do something wrong everyone else could pay for it and we refuse for that to happen. We go by the book.… Continue reading

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China looks to boost food security and meet growing demands

The dynamic of trade is changing in China as the country looks toward expanding sources of grain to supply chain, food security and meet a growing demand for high-protein products for its rapidly expanding middle class.

In late February, COFCO Corporation, the largest food company in China, agreed to buy a 51% stake of Nidera BV — a Dutch grain trading company — to expand sourcing of food supplies to China. Now, according to Reuters, state-backed COFCO is reportedly in talks to buy into Noble Group’s agribusiness arm, helping China to develop a powerful agricultural trading house.

Nidera has operating platforms for procuring grain in Brazil, Argentina and central Europe as well as a global trading network, according to a news release from COFCO. In addition to grain, Nidera also trades oilseeds, vegetable oils, meal and bio-energy products.

Diversification is coming from other quarters as well. Last year, Japan’s Marubeni Corporation purchased U.S.… Continue reading

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New farm program analysis causing misconceptions about crop insurance

As farmers begin to delve into the new farm bill, which was signed into law earlier this year, they are finding out about new programs and learning how changes from the old farm bill to the new one may simplify many things for the next five years.

“Farmers aren’t going to have the burdensome regulations of the ACRE program like they had in the 2008 farm bill,” said Anthony Bush, Ohio producer and chairman of the finance committee for the National Corn Growers Association. “The decisions made will now follow the producer that has skin in the game. They won’t have to go to their landlords and try to explain a complicated program to them and there are many other reasons that things have been made simpler.”

The new farm bill’s biggest difference from the previous one is that this one is more risk management oriented, with the deletion of direct payments.… Continue reading

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Agronomic webinars offered by OSU Extension

Growers wanting to learn more about managing herbicides, fungicides and resistance, corn yield optimization, corn seed treatments and high-input soybean production can take advantage of a series of free webinars taught by agronomists from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The webinars offer participants insight into some of the key issues in grain production including updated information on fungicides and resistance as well as how to best control weeds, said Greg LaBarge, an Ohio State University Extension field specialist and one of the leaders of Ohio State’s Agronomic Crops Team.

The team also includes scientists from the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

“These workshops give participants the opportunity to learn the latest agronomic information from the comfort of their home and on their own time,” LaBarge said.

The webinars, which were recorded this winter, feature the following topics:

• Optimizing Corn Yields: Assessing the Contribution of Key Agronomic Management Factors, by Peter Thomison, OSU Extension specialist, corn production, http://go.osu.edu/cswconnect1-14-14.… Continue reading

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Ohio sensitive crop registry: Implications for producers and pesticide applicators

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has announced that pesticide applicators, commercial sensitive crop producers and apiaries may now use the online Ohio Sensitive Crop Registry (OSCR). ODA developed OSCR as a “voluntary informational tool designed to allow stakeholders an effective way to communicate and protect pesticide-sensitive crops and apiaries.” The registry will enable applicators to determine whether there are any sensitive crops in an area before applying pesticides.


How does the registry work?

ODA designed the tool for registered apiaries and “commercial” sensitive crop producers who produce at least one-half acre of a single type of sensitive crop or an apiary. Registration on OSCR is completely voluntary; a sensitive crop producer may create an account on the OSCR website and map the locations of their crops. ODA will then verify the producer’s information before it is available on the registry. Private and commercial pesticide applicators may also voluntarily register on the site.… Continue reading

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Farm bill meeting attracts big crowd in Versailles

More than 450 people packed into Versailles High School to hear from three leading farm bill experts.

Many of the details are yet to be determined as the farm bill implementation process is just getting started. Adam Sharp, from the Ohio Farm Bureau, provided an overview of the 959-page Agricultural Act of 2014.

“It is very low cost if you look at the overall budgets. The whole farm bill is less than 2% of the total budget, and the agricultural titles are just a fraction of that,” Sharp said. “There are 12 titles in the farm bill, but most of the debate is in the Title 1 for commodities and in the nutrition title.”

The new Dairy Producers Margin Protection Program (DPMPP) replaces the MILC and product support programs. The DPMPP is voluntary and based on the margin between the price of milk and feeds costs. The program does not guarantee a profit and there is no supply control provision.… Continue reading

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China keeps U.S. markets guessing

In a strange turn of events, the market finally revealed the soybean buying intentions of China. Since last fall, the market has assumed China had overbought soybeans and would at any minute begin canceling U.S. soybean purchases. Many had assumed that number could reach 1 to 2 million tons of U.S. soybean orders cancelled. But, instead they canceled soybean purchases from Brazil. They attempted to push March and April boats back to May and June boats. Importers recognized and painfully remembered the shipping delays from last spring. The slowed loadings in Brazil that had soybean boats bound for China in some cases took 60 days or longer in delays last year.

No one had any doubts that China bought too many soybeans. Several changes took place in Brazil’s shipping of soybeans this year. First, it appears the grain giants (or ABCD) were very efficient in getting the early boats loaded. A for Archer Daniels Midland, or ADM; B for Bunge, C for Cargill, and D for Dreyfus.… Continue reading

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More efficient plants for biofuels through biotechnology

Genetically modifying a key protein complex in plants could lead to improved crops for the production of cellulosic biofuels, a Purdue University study says.

Clint Chapple, distinguished professor of biochemistry, and fellow researchers generated a mutant Arabidopsis plant whose cell walls can be converted easily into fermentable sugars but does not display the stunted growth patterns of similar mutants. The finding could maintain yield while reducing the need for costly pretreatment processes that make cellulosic biofuels more inefficient to produce than corn ethanol.

“This study opens the door to a whole new set of technologies we never could have imagined,” Chapple said. “This finding is not the silver bullet that will suddenly make the wide-scale production of cellulosic biofuels possible, but it is a very important step forward.”

Cellulosic biofuels are made from the sugars in the cell walls of wood, grasses and the inedible parts of plants. But production of cost-efficient cellulosic biofuels is currently limited by lignin, the compound that gives plants strength and structural integrity.… Continue reading

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Winter difficulties may carry over into spring

As we begin to thaw out from a winter that seemed like it would never end, Ohio’s farmers will need to focus on the challenges of the upcoming growing season. The lingering effects of winter could present farmers with several difficulties this spring.

After lengthy periods of extreme cold, many growers are concerned about winter wheat stands. Winter wheat stands should be evaluated after weather warms up and wheat is completely green after about 2 weeks of growth.

Winter wheat “hardens” in the fall, which allows it to tolerate cold temperatures, but extreme cold can potentially damage plants. In a recent C.O.R.N. Newsletter article, Laura Lindsey, Ed Lentz, and Pierce Paul state that, “After hardening, wheat can tolerate temperatures between 0 and 10°F especially when there is good snow cover. The growing point of wheat is below ground until conditions are warm in the spring, but extremely cold conditions can still cause damage to the plant.… Continue reading

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Immigration reform delays hurting agricultural economy

The Partnership for a New American Economy and the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform today released a new report showing how American families are eating more imported fresh produce today than ever before, in substantial part because U.S. fresh produce growers lack enough labor to expand their production and compete with foreign importers.

“American consumers want fresh U.S grown fruits and vegetables, but our farmers don’t have the labor force available to meet that demand,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy. “This means more produce is imported, and our economy loses millions of dollars and thousands of jobs every year. We need to pass immigration reform now, so our food remains homegrown and our economy strong.”

In recent years, the share of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed by American families that was imported has grown by 79.3%.

“On the issue of farm labor, we have a growing amount of evidence that all points in the same direction: Farmers and consumers both need responsible immigration reform,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman, a cattle and rice farmer from Texas.… Continue reading

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U.S. corn bouncing back in Japan

U.S. corn exports to Japan are enjoying a powerful rebound, projecting a strong return for the remainder of the 2013/2014 marketing year that began Sept. 1. Current USDA reports show outstanding sales and accumulated exports to Japan totaled 8.4 million metric tons (331 million bushels) for this marketing year through March 6.

The U.S. Corn Belt experienced a crippling drought in the 2012/2013 marketing year that drove U.S. corn export prices to uncompetitive levels. While many longtime Japanese buyers continued to express a preference for U.S. sourcing, the cost disadvantage imposed too high a premium, and Japan turned to South American corn. However in 2013, U.S. corn production rose to 355.3 million tons (14.0 billion bushels) which was an all-time high, with an average yield of 160.4 bushels per acre, the second highest recorded. Prices have responded, and Japanese buyers are returning.

Even during the drought, the U.S. Grains Council aggressively defended U.S.… Continue reading

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Smithsonian Institution wants corn ads

The Smithsonian Institution wants to put the Corn Farmers Coalition DC metro campaign ads in a new exhibit.

“Those ads have been very iconic,” said Rick Tolman, National Corn Growers Association CEO. “The Smithsonian Institution is doing a new exhibition called ‘American Enterprise’ and they contacted us and said they really liked them because they’re about education, not about selling.”

The ads have been featured in the Corn Farmers Coalition annual campaign, which takes over every ad space in a single DC metro station for two weeks, a campaign that has been running for five years now. The campaign includes the Harbage family from Clark County, who were featured in the summer of 2011.

The Smithsonian will include the ads in a new permanent exhibit scheduled to open next year in the Museum of American History. “It will last for 20 years and we anticipate about 90 million people seeing it,” Tolman said.… Continue reading

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4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program launched

More than 250 agricultural retailers and stakeholders from the Ohio, Indiana and Michigan agriculture communities attended the launch of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification program Tuesday in Perrysburg. The voluntary program is geared toward the long-term improvement of Lake Erie’s water quality by applying the 4R principles.

The 4R approach — using the right nutrient source at the right rate and right time in the right place — serves as the guideline for the new certification program, which will be administered in the tri-state area by the Ohio AgriBusiness Association on behalf of the Nutrient Stewardship Council.

“The program has several features that will make it very effective in reducing the problems with algae blooms in Lake Erie,” said Bill Stanley, assistant director of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio and a member of the Nutrient Stewardship Advisory Committee.  “Most important are a set of scientifically rigorous standards developed with industry and academic involvement, as well as independent, third-party audits to ensure that those standards are followed.”

Nearly 200 agricultural retailers, service providers and other certified professionals attended the morning session featuring a panel of pilot project participants discussing the various reasons why a voluntary program is important.… Continue reading

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What’s the right seeding rate for soybeans?

I am in Ukraine on a training mission to assist growers here in growing better corn and soybeans. One question that keeps coming up is, “What is the right seeding rate for soybeans?” Some of them have told me that it’s 1 million seeds per hectare. I think in terms of 1 million for wheat, but a hectare is 2.47 acres, so 1 million is 405,000 seeds per acre — still too high. Take into account that they use brown bag seed, so add maybe 20% due to reduced quality seed — still too high. And oh, by the way, this brown bag seed seems to tolerate very high levels of “gleefosat” herbicide applied over the top.

I give them the same answer I do when the question comes up in Ohio — we need about 100,000 plants per acre at harvest to achieve full yield. You just calculate backwards to determine your losses to germination percent, emergence, disease, insects, crusting, excessive moisture, etc.… Continue reading

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Understanding of trait approval important before planting corn

The National Corn Growers Association recently released a revised version of its “Know before you grow” website to offer growers updated information to help inform planting decisions in light of the release of new seed varieties currently unapproved in some export markets. The information provided allows growers to make informed decisions on potential marketing restrictions well before harvest.

“In a globalized agricultural economy, it is important that farmers understand the delicate balance that must be struck in trying to ensure access to the technologies necessary to combat production challenges while also ensuring export markets remain open to U.S. corn,” said Jim Zimmerman, NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair. “In the case of China, the balance can prove challenging given that country’s asynchronous approval system for biotech traits, and its current trend toward falling behind even the normal asynchronous approval timelines. While we must make robust efforts to maintain market access, be it through controlled limited release of new products or even delayed release, farmers should remain aware of the importance of these products to their operations as they face difficulties caused by biological stressors.… Continue reading

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2014 an important year to “Know before you grow”

The politics of international trade can be tricky business. Just one news headline, one bad shipment or one failed delivery can have a devastating ripple effect for domestic agriculture — particularly when dealing with some of the more demanding, and often fickle, importers of U.S. agricultural products.

With this in mind, and the fact that there are multiple corn traits in production for 2014 that are not approved in all markets around the world, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the U.S. Grains Council are emphasizing the importance of farmers knowing what they are planting through the “Know before you grow” program.

“’Know before you grow’ is an important page on NCGA’s website. There has been a lot of discussion with the trade and current events of importers of our corn and the restrictions they are placing on our ability to have new traits. ‘Know before you grow’ is the place for NCGA members to learn what is out there that is available and any of the restrictions that go along with the new products,” said John Linder, with the Ohio Corn Marketing Program, who serves on the NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team.… Continue reading

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Wheat stand assessment may have to wait

The harsh winter temperatures and lingering cold conditions have many wheat growers concerned about the crop coming into the spring.

“My first concern is how this wheat is going to come out of winter,” said John Hoffman, from Pickaway County. “With the cold weather and lack of snow during some of the coldest weather, I am more concerned about the wheat than I normally am. We would ideally get a shot of nitrogen on in the middle of March and start our anhydrous application on around the 25th of March, should Mother Nature cooperate. I think everything is out the window right now.”

Though wheat can tolerate cold weather, the temperatures falling below -20 in some cases with minimal snow cover and standing water from melting snow are legitimate concerns.

“Wheat ‘hardens’ in the fall to acclimate to cold conditions. Cold acclimation is variety-dependent and requires a period of growth when temperatures are between 30 degrees and 60 degrees F followed by slowly declining soil temperatures. … Continue reading

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Flea beetle update for 2014

Being early March, it is time to put out the annual corn flea beetle and Stewart’s leaf blight prediction based on the average temperatures the past three months (Dec, Jan, and Feb.).  Stewart’s bacterial disease is dependent on the level of bacteria-carrying flea beetle survival over the winter.  Because higher populations of the flea beetle survive during mild winters  than during cold winters, winter temperatures have been used to predict the risk of Stewart’s disease.  Compared to recent years, and even the past few decades, the past three months have definitely been on the cold side.

The ‘flea beetle index’ is calculated as the sum of the average temperatures of December, January and February.  This winter we find that all areas of the state have indexes less than 90 suggesting that the risk for the insect and the disease is negligible.   Only the two most southern locations (Piketon and Jackson) even reach an index over 80, coming in at 84.8 and 88.7, respectively.   … Continue reading

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Looking for answers to complex on-farm data questions

There have been many concerns brought to attention lately about on-farm data, where that data is being stored and how that data is being used.

Before those concerns can be properly addressed, some terminologies and their exact definitions need to be sought out and set as industry standards.

AgGateway is a non-profit consortium of businesses serving the agriculture industry, with the mission to promote, enable and expand eBusiness in agriculture. They are looking to connect farmers with answers to some very complex questions pertaining to data.

“We need to start the conversation by finding out what data ownership, data control, data security and data privacy actually is,” said Dennis Daggett, chairman of the AgGateway Precision Ag Council.… Continue reading

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Videos highlight importance of soybean rust research

Growers will find key information to keep in mind about the ongoing threat of soybean rust and actions they can take to minimize potential losses from this disease in two videos now available online.

The videos include highlights from numerous research and Extension projects carried out by land-grant university researchers from around the country involved in soybean rust research and monitoring efforts.

They were produced with support from the American Public Land Grant Universities Association, Cooperative Extension, the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP), the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the United Soybean Board.

The first video (http://youtu.be/m07iu6HaQpc) provides an overview of soybean rust, its impacts, its spread in the U.S., and how responding to this disease has changed the way researchers, Extension educators and farmers now approach soybean diseases in general.

The second video (http://youtu.be/8NQW7YAmEBE) deals with efforts undertaken across the country to model, predict and forecast soybean rust through the use of “sentinel plots.”

“Soybean rust is a significant invasive species that has and continues to pose a distinct threat to the U.S.… Continue reading

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