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New ALMACO plot planter “draws a crowd”

Though it may not cover much ground in comparison to some of the giant commercial planters on farms around Ohio, the new specialized planter used to plant plots for the Ohio Corn Performance Trials and other University research is attracting quite a bit of attention. The impressive, custom-built Allen Machine Co. (ALMACO) planter is specifically designed for its big job on small acreage.

“We planted about 65 acres this year comprising of 9,000 test plots,” said Richard Minyo, who oversees the corn and wheat plots for Ohio State University Extension. “In addition to the performance trials, we support Extension efforts, do some contract work for private companies and maintain graduate student programs.”

The program supports itself financially and, though it took awhile, enough money was saved to update the planting equipment used to plant the plots.

“We have been saving money for a lot of years. Our old planter was home-built in the late 70s early 80s.… Continue reading

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Hay equipment preventative maintenance and safety communication

By early June, it is estimated that 40% to 60% of the first cutting hay crop in Ohio will be harvested. This provides a good time for hay producers to complete some preventative maintenance tasks, and communicate safety considerations with family members and other employees. Younger or less experienced employees may not know how to safely complete tasks that some experienced operators would consider “common sense.”

Hay crops are often grown on ground too rough, steep or unsuitable for row crops. Taking proper measures in these areas is especially significant for safe operation. It is important to take the time to discuss with employees how to accomplish work objectives safely (get it done, but do it safely).

Preventative maintenance options to ensure safe working conditions

Following preventative maintenance suggestions can reduce stress from down time and ensure safe working conditions for employees. Consider these practices when completing maintenance:


  • Replace broken or worn parts to feed material properly into the bale chamber.
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Weed management critical in 2014

When herbicide resistant crop varieties were first released, farmers were told that they could let the weeds grow until corn and soybeans were fairly tall and then spray their weeds and kill them in one pass. Actually, even smaller weeds can hurt yield:

• Research at several universities and our own studies have shown that smaller weeds do reduce the yield potential of crops.

• Infrared light is reflected from chlorophyll of neighboring plants, whether weeds or other crop plants. Each individual plant, because of its micro-environment, “decides” early on how many ears and kernels on each ear or how many beans it will try to produce.

• Depending on the macro-climate of the farm (soil type, organic matter, fertility, rainfall, temperature etc.), the plants “want” to produce the maximum number of kernels or seeds they can. So early weed control creates better environment for the plants to grow in.

• The weeds don’t just rob the crop plants of water and nutrients but also sunlight.… Continue reading

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Update on Ohio’s fertilizer certification law

The much publicized agricultural nutrients bill (SB 150) has now been signed into law by the Governor. You will recall that conversation for at least the past year has been that soon farmers would be required to have a “certification” or license in order to apply fertilizer. That’s basically what passage of this bill has done.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is still in the rule-making process and the earliest that rules could be submitted for final approval is August 22, 2014. In the meantime, the basics of what this bill will require are known and as a result, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Department of Agriculture have come to some mutual understandings on how the certification process will proceed, at least for the next three years.

While some details may change between now and the time the certification process commences this fall, below are what we know or believe to be true at this point..… Continue reading

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BASF to introduce 20 new products over the next two years

Last week, as part of the 2014 Ag Solutions Media Summit, BASF announced new investments and solutions that will help growers and partners in North America drive yields and efficiency. BASF will invest more than $270 million to expand production capacity for key herbicides dicamba and DMTA at the Beaumont, Texas site as well as upgrade production at the Hannibal, Missouri site.

With capacities expected to be on line in 2016/17, the expansions will serve to meet the growing demand for BASF’s diverse herbicide portfolio, which features nine different modes of action and multi-year rotational plans in order to ensure effective, flexible and durable weed control. BASF is evaluating additional investments as part of its plan to spend approximately $2.5 billion between 2014 and 2018 to increase production of its crop protection products worldwide.  

The investments coincide with the planned launch of more than 20 different innovations for the agricultural industry from BASF’s R&D pipeline in North America, highlighted by an advanced dicamba formulation, Engenia herbicide.Continue reading

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Walking fields now can prevent problems later on

Corn and soybean fields are finally up and growing. For some growers, they were able to plant early and the crop started to grow normally. For many other growers, corn and soybean plantings didn’t start until the middle of May and the crop struggled to get out of the ground due to cooler temperatures and water issues. The emerging crop in 2014 had to contend with sidewall compaction, insect feeding, and disease.

What happens in the next 90 days will have a major effect on maximizing yield potential. So much can happen and, with uncertainty of the crop’s success, walking fields and recording crop information is important and beneficial. When walking fields, a good tool to carry is the Corn and Soybean Pocket Field Guide from Purdue or Ohio State University, along with a pen and notepad to identify and record your findings.

In the past, some growers would drive by their fields of corn and soybeans and feel their fields were okay.… Continue reading

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Uneven soybean emergence may not require replanting

Cool, wet, muddy conditions in May and drier soil conditions this month in much of Ohio that contributed to uneven soybean emergence doesn’t necessarily mean that growers need to replant, says a field crops expert with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Unless growers with uneven soybean emergence can determine that their seedlings are dead, they may want to hold off on replanting decisions, said Laura Lindsey, a soybean and small grains specialist with the college’s outreach arm, Ohio State University Extension.

Growers should start evaluating their soybean fields to see where they are at but should understand that there may be some emergence issues, Lindsey said.

“Planting conditions weren’t ideal this year, and some soybean stands may not look good right now,” she said. “But you have to keep in mind that while stands may not look so great right away and emergence is uneven, soybeans will even out in most situations.”

Statewide, for the week ended June 1, soybeans were 66% planted and 31% emerged, according to the June 2 U.S.… Continue reading

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GMO labeling studies

A pair of studies released this spring are shedding more light on the hot-button subject of biotechnology and GMO labeling, and the potential ramifications the subject may have on the consumer marketplace as the debate moves forward.

According to a June study from Cornell University, a mandatory food label on products containing GMO ingredients would add between $500 and $800 to the annual cost of groceries for the average American family. The study went on to show that the poorer and elderly Americans — populations that eat primarily food purchased at grocery stores — will pay disproportionately for GMO labeling as compared to their younger and more affluent counterparts who dine out more frequently.

A second study from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) shows that negative consumer perceptions about biotechnology pale in comparison to their characterization by anti-GMO activists. According to the study, only 1% of respondents indicated that biotechnology was something they want to avoid in food, compared to 30% that wanted to avoid carbohydrates and sugars.… Continue reading

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Mobile-optimized scouting guides available

Corn and soybean growers have a mobile, interactive resource, offered by DuPont Pioneer, to assist crop scouting activities this growing season — now available at pioneer.com.

The mobile-optimized web pages display lists of insects and diseases for corn and soybeans, with the seasonal timing or growth stages of the plants matched to the timing of each potential infestation.

Growers can click on the insect or disease indicated to link to:

  • full-color photos to help with pest identification
  • insect and disease life cycle information
  • environmental conditions favorable to infestation
  • crop damage photos and plant health impact
  • management information for prevention and control

The corn scouting calendar profiles 32 major diseases and insects, from anthracnose stalk rot through western bean cutworm. The soybean scouting calendar profiles beetles, bugs, aphids, molds and rots.

Growers can also learn scouting methods and determine treatment thresholds for major crop insects and diseases.… Continue reading

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The Weekly Corn Belt Update – June 13th, 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

“In the immediate NW Ohio region, crops “simply couldn’t be better! Overall NW OH is off to one of the best starts, and certainly in line for trend line yields.”  These were the comments from last week, and it doesn’t change much for this week!  The weather forecast looks ideal for next week.

  Greenville, OH

Very few wheels have turned for the past week in Darke county. Last night brought another half inch of rain, and next week’s forecast looks wet most of the week.  There is still side-dressing to be done.  Corn crop has improved, but the beans don’t like wet feet, and could use sunshine and drier weather. … Continue reading

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Asiatic garden beetle an issue in NW Ohio

Grubs of the Asiatic garden beetle (Maladera castanea) have been making their presence known in Northwest Ohio corn fields since 2012.  For a long time this grub has been a pest in the lawn and turf industry, but in past few years it has severely damaged corn. This beetle is similar to most in its life cycle having four stages of egg, larva (or grub), pupa and adult.  Currently, the third instar larva are feeding on root systems, specifically the mesocotyl. Damaged fields often have gaps in rows, and affected corn often appears wilted and stressed.

In Ohio, damage appears to be most prevalent in sandier soils, which are concentrated in NW Ohio, but can also be found in isolated areas near sandy river beds. 

This year we have been seeing them since approximately the third week of May, and now is the time to scout for this pest.  Look for corn in sandy soils that appear to have uneven growth stages, are wilting, or with gaps in the row. Continue reading

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Grower inputs are shaping innovations in agriculture

It wasn’t long ago that farmers were doing all that they could to keep up with new technologies that were being thrown their way. Now that producers are well adjusted to the thought of precision agriculture, auto-steering, seed treatments and the like, they are beginning to look at the innovators of agricultural technology and asking, “What’s next?”

BASF is harnessing that curiosity and willingness of the farmer to want to be the most efficient grower possible. That is why the innovations that are in the pipeline for “The Chemical Company” have been part of a process that all began with asking their ag-based clientele what they need, product-wise, to improve from year to year.… Continue reading

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Pesticide application safety

It may sound simple, but wearing a long-sleeved shirt and long pants when using pesticides is just one way farmers can decrease their risk of injury when spraying, a safety coordinator with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences says.

Taking safety precautions when using a pesticide sprayer is key for farmers to reduce the potential for injuries, said Andy Bauer, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural health and safety professional.

With spring planting well underway, this is a time that farmers should take extra precautions to prevent accidental exposure when working with a sprayer. One of the most important things farmers can do when handling pesticides is to carefully read the label, Bauer said.

“The label will tell you everything you need to know about that pesticide, including what you need to take under advisement when using that chemical,” he said. “Some people don’t take the time to remember the safety requirements they were taught because they may feel like, ‘It’s the way granddad did it, dad did it and I will do it this way too.Continue reading

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Feeding Farmers Week #3 – Hintz Farms, Fairfield County

The week three winner of Feeding Farmers in the Field, courtesy of AgriGold, was Hintz Farms of Fairfield County. The family farm, based just southeast of Lancaster, is run by John Hintz and includes production of corn, soybeans, and wheat.

The Ohio Ag Net team and representatives of AgriGold brought lunch for the large crowd of family and friends. Dale Minyo also did his midday broadcast from the farm.

Commenting on the crops year so far, John said the corn had too much water early in the season and it has been holding them back the entire spring. However, he is cautious to complain about the rain too much, saying they’ll need it come August. The operation is almost done with planting and has some ground that was planned to be put to corn, but, because of moisture, they may turn to prevented planting instead.

One of the farm’s highlights is their brand new Kinze Planter, which they just received a couple months ago.… Continue reading

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Grain prices fall with today’s reports

Grain prices were all lower following today’s reports.

The U.S. numbers were neutral with USDA lowering U.S. soybean ending stocks are expected. Corn demand was unchanged. U.S. corn had no changes in the Supply and Demand tables for both 2013 and 2014. Wheat production was very close to trade estimates. World ending stocks for corn, soybeans, and wheat were all higher than expected.

Prior to the report corn was up two cents, soybeans were down 1-3 cents, wheat was up 2 cents. Near 12:30 pm corn was down 3 cents, soybeans were down 5 cents, and wheat was down 8 cents.

Soybean production was unchanged in Brazil at 87.5 million tons with Argentina soybeans also unchanged at 54 million tons. Corn production in Brazil went up one million tons to 76 million tons. This change had been expected by the market.

Many had expected this report to be of little consequence to the market.… Continue reading

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Soybean exports driving profitability

Rising pork production, along with the transportation issues in South America after last year’s harvest, have China stocking up on U.S. soybeans and soybean meal at a record pace, according to a soy checkoff consultant. This has resulted in U.S. soybean stocks reaching their lowest levels in nearly a half-century, but it has also kept the value of soybeans at historic highs.

“We have exported more than six million tons more soybeans to China than we did at this time last year,” said John Baize, who monitors global soybean markets for the checkoff. “China has bought up our soybeans, and we also have demand coming from other markets as well. We have already exported more soybeans in the current marketing year than we’ve exported in any marketing year in history. We still have five months left in the marketing year, too.”

This international demand has dipped into the U.S. soybean supply, giving the U.S.… Continue reading

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Obama signs WRRDA

President Obama signed the long-awaited Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014. This final reauthorization bill, which will improve the reliability and efficiency of the U.S. inland waterways system, was passed by the House on May 20 and the Senate on May 22.

"This legislation provides an important step toward the infrastructure improvements vital to our nation's inland waterway system, and we thank the President for signing this bi-partisan bill into law," said Martin Barbre, National Corn Growers Association president. "Our locks and dams transport our cargoes today, but were built in the 1920s and 1930s to accommodate far smaller loads and far less river traffic. For farmers in particular, this is crucial, as more than 60% of the nation's grain exports are transported by barge. The need is urgent; U.S. farmers and businesses rely upon this transportation channel to create economic opportunities at home and supply markets abroad. Now, it is imperative that we continue our momentum related to waterways improvements by passing the diesel user fee."

WRRDA will bring a greater degree of accountability to the Army Corps of Engineers project delivery system by prioritizing authorized improvements based upon risk of failure and economic return to the nation.Continue reading

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Principles of pokeweed management

Penn State recently completed a two-year study on pokeweed management in corn and soybeans that provides some useful information. Some of the highlights:

• Pokeweed is a perennial that regrows from a large taproot, and individuals may live a year or two, or for several years, depending on their environment. Harsh winters such as the last one can reduce plant survival.

• Seed production and dispersal are essential for pokeweed success. A pokeweed berry contains 9 or 10 seeds. Pokeweed plants that emerged in May or June grew into perennial plants that first season, and produced up to about 2,500 seeds. Preventing berry/seed production is an important management tactic for this weed, much like for annual species.

• Systemic postemergence corn herbicides (glyphosate, 2,4-D, dicamba, Status, Callisto + atrazine, etc) can provide at least 80% control by the end of the season. None of the herbicides provided complete control, indicating the potential for recovery and regrowth the following year, and the need for a multi-year management approach.Continue reading

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May tough on crop prices

May was not kind to grain prices. Wheat declined the most as it fell 94 cents. Continuing large supplies of world wheat as well as lessening tensions in the Ukraine were major factors in the decline. U.S. wheat production has been declining with the drought of earlier this year in hard red wheat country.

Production in both Kansas and Oklahoma has been affected the most. In spite of the tensions and uncertainty in the Ukraine, they have been active sellers. No doubt many had surmised that the Ukraine could have great difficulty in meeting shipping schedules for sales already on the books. It seemed very unlikely that Ukraine would supply wheat to any current U.S. wheat customers, but that did not prove to be reality.

A perfect example is last month when Mexico bought 100,000 tons of wheat from the Ukraine. Normally Mexico would have bought wheat from the U.S. due, in part, to much smaller freight charges originating out of the U.S.Continue reading

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Brad Mattix, Marion Co., June 9

We finished planting on June 1. The rains have been worse. There are still pockets of beans around here that aren’t planted and I know a guy over by Sunbury that is only half done with corn. We had to spot in about 180 acres of beans and about 80 acres of corn.

We are just soggy. On our northern farm, we got 4.4 inches in one rain and we have had seven and a half to eight inches of rain in the Bucyrus area in last couple of weeks. I would have to replant that as well if it would dry out.

The corn crop is below average. It doesn’t look that great because it is waterlogged. It is not real green and it is getting uneven.

All of our ground has too much water on it. There may be a couple hundred acres on our southern farms that aren’t too wet.… Continue reading

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