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“Ultra-early” corn performance

Rich Minyo, Allen Geyer, Peter ThomisonBy Rich Minyo, Allen Geyer, Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Confronted with June planting dates, some Ohio corn growers planted hybrids with relative maturity ratings earlier (less than 102 days) than those of our commonly grown maturities. At the Hoytville OCPT test site, we evaluated 27 ultra-early hybrids with maturities ranging from 93 to 101 days. Yields averaged 190 bushels per acre and ranged from 163 to 219 bushels per acre; harvest grain moisture averaged 19.3 and ranged from 18.3% to 20.3%; and test weight averaged 56.6 and ranged from 53.3 to 58.5. In contrast, a 107-day commonly grown maturity hybrid included as a check yielded 220 bushels per acre with a 22.9% harvest moisture and test weight of 51. The Hoytville test site planted June 12 and harvested Nov. 18, benefited from favorable growing conditions with timely rains. Pest injury was negligible. Several hybrids were subject to severe animal damage and not considered in this performance overview.… Continue reading

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Warden recognized for work as a CCA

In a presentation at the Annual Indiana CCA Conference on Wednesday afternoon, Randall Warden, CEO and agronomy lead at A&L Great Lakes, was named the Indiana Certified Crop Adviser of the Year. The Indiana Certified Crop Advisers CCA of the Year award recognizes someone who has gone above and beyond in their career to help farmers and others in the industry improve their techniques in crop production.

Randall has been with A&L Great Lakes for 25 years, and during his tenure, total lab sample volume has increased 5-fold. He has accomplished this by focusing on sound agronomy, customer service, and quality analytics. While Randall is well known to many Indiana CCAs, he is often in the background of many programs and projects that other CCA’s are using daily. His ability to discern a clear agronomic message that moves the agronomy industry forward from a collection of often overlooked data is truly remarkable.… Continue reading

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Cover crop herbicide carryover

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers who want to plant cover crops after corn and soybeans also want to control resistant weeds like marestail, waterhemp, and giant ragweed. Often the residual soil herbicides remain active and have a long residual or half-life that could hurt cover crop establishment. Herbicide half-life is how long it takes for half the herbicide to break down. Good stands of radish and cereal rye also suppress these tough weeds. Since many factors vary from field to field and even certain areas of the field, residual herbicide activity at cover crop establishment is difficult to predict.

Herbicides remain biologically active based on soil temperature, rainfall, time of application, organic matter, soil type, and soil pH. Generally, the warmer the soil at planting time, the higher the microbial activity and the faster the herbicide breaks down. Moisture is critical, so dry summers means less or slower breakdown than when moisture is not limiting.… Continue reading

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Choosing varieties and hybrids for 2020 — Check disease resistance ratings

By Anne Dorrance and Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

The seed suppliers want your early orders and the catalogues are all spread out on the tables. Now to begin the process of choosing the best variety or hybrid for your fields that can hold up to the all of the challenges facing soybeans and corn in Ohio. Our recommendation is to first focus on the disease and insect scores. Every company uses a different scale based on 1 to 10 – but for some companies 1 is best and for others, 10 best – so first read the fine print. In addition, some companies use a distributive disease rating scale, using words like “excellent disease package,” “good disease package,” or “poor.” While this scale is unclear as to which specific disease the hybrid is most resistant to, it can still be used as a guide for hybrid/variety selection. For instance, a hybrid listed as having an “excellent disease package” should be less susceptible to the primary diseases than one listed as having a “good disease package.” Next step – what key diseases and insect pests do we need to focus on.… Continue reading

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Biodiesel tax credit

Last week, Congressional negotiators reached agreement with the White House on a package of tax policies, including a multi-year extension of the biodiesel tax incentive.

The tax package extends the $1-per-gallon tax credit for biodiesel and renewable diesel and the 10-cent per gallon small agri-biodiesel producer credit retroactively for 2018 and 2019 and prospectively for 2020, 2021 and 2022. The last time the credit was in place at the start of the year was 2016.

The House of Representatives added the tax package to omnibus appropriations measure and passed it the afternoon of Dec. 17. The Senate is expected to clear the measure and send it to President Trump for signature before Friday, Dec. 20.… Continue reading

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Sustainable and safe greenhouse crop production

By Mary Wicks and Peter Ling

Ohio’s production of crops grown under controlled environments (CE), i.e. greenhouses and plant factories, is growing. From 2012 to 2017, floriculture and bedding crop production increased by 12%, based on square footage. During the same period, the area allocated for greenhouse production of vegetables, herbs and tomatoes increased about 4-fold, with total sales of about $75 million in 2017.

Like any other crop, those grown in CE require careful management to maintain plant health and maximize yields. Unlike field crops, CE production allows for control of growing conditions. Understanding how to manipulate climatic factors, such as temperature, humidity and lighting, as well methods to manage pests, can optimize plant growth while minimizing negative environmental impacts.

For CE production of vegetable crops, eliminating the risk of foodborne pathogens is also critical. The National Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Program provides training and resources to educate growers about methods of growing, storing and transporting food crops that protect consumers.… Continue reading

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EPA releases 2020 RFS numbers, leaves biofuel proponents underwhelmed

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020 on Dec. 19.

“Through President Trump’s leadership, this Administration continues to promote domestic ethanol and biodiesel production, supporting our Nation’s farmers and providing greater energy security,” said  Andrew Wheeler, EPA Administrator. “President Trump committed to our nation’s farmers that biofuel requirements would be expanded in 2020. At the EPA we are delivering on that promise and ensuring a net of 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel are blended into the nation’s fuel supply.”

Under the Trump Administration, EPA has increased the renewable volume obligations and continued to expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector. Through this rule, EPA has modified the RFS program by projecting small refinery relief to ensure that these final volumes are met, while adjudicating small refinery relief when appropriate. As proposed, the EPA finalized a projection methodology based on the 2016-2018 annual average of exempted volumes had EPA strictly followed the Department of Energy (DOE) recommendations of 770 million Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) in those years, including granting 50% relief where DOE recommended 50% relief.… Continue reading

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Attendees to go from bines to steins at Ohio Hop Conference

Attendees will go from bines to steins at the 2020 Ohio Hop Conference, hosted by the Ohio Hop Growers Guild, with numerous sessions focused on producing high-quality crops and meeting demand for the growing industry.

The seventh annual conference is set for Feb. 21 and 22, 2020 at the Courtyard by Marriott Springfield Downtown. The Ohio Hop Conference unites producers, brewers and beer enthusiasts with industry leaders and university experts to explore innovations in hop growing techniques and current areas of research.

“The Ohio hop industry is growing and improving every year. As producers, we must do the same,” said Jandi Adams, chairwoman of the Ohio Hop Growers Guild. “The conference is a fantastic opportunity for growers to make business connections and set standards that ensure hops produced in Ohio are the safest, most sustainable and highest-quality on the market.”

In addition to networking opportunities and access to the industry trade show, attendees of the 2020 conference will hear from expert speakers and engage in hands-on learning sessions.… Continue reading

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Tillage for the control of weeds, insects and disease

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Ask most farmers why they perform tillage, and the first few responses will most likely be: to eliminate compaction issues, manage crop residue, or level the soil and prepare a seed bed for next year. After that there is a second tier of answers that usually follows. Weed control, as well as managing insects and disease issues are often secondary reasons given for tillage.

Prior to the advent of modern herbicides, and the no-till revolution, tillage was the primary form of weed control for centuries. As both chemical herbicide technology and equipment have evolved, the need for tillage has also changed.

While tillage is an effective method for controlling some species of weeds, there are now chemical options that are equally effective.

“We now have good enough chemistries that we do not typically need to perform tillage to control weeds,” said Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension Weed Specialists.

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Survey finds majority of Ohio voters want President Trump to do more to support farmers, Renewable Fuel Standards

A recent poll found a sizable majority of Ohio voters believe President Trump should do more to support farmers with overall survey responses underscoring Ohio voters’ strong support for the Renewable Fuels Standard and the use of renewable fuels.

Sixty-six percent of Ohio voters reported a favorable opinion of biofuels, such as ethanol produced from corn. After learning about the Trump Administration record on small refiner exemptions, 53% of voters somewhat or strongly opposed the actions on the RFS. Only 29% of voters somewhat or strongly supported the Administration’s recent actions on the RFS.

In less than three years, the Trump Administration has given out 85 waivers to small refineries — a stark contrast from the total of 10 waivers granted over the course of the eight years prior. These 85 exemptions totaled 4 billion gallons of biofuels not blended in petroleum, which has significantly hurt Ohio farmers.

Forty-nine percent of voters think President Trump is not doing enough to support farmers.… Continue reading

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Gene editing: It’s an evolution, not a revolution

By Charlie Arnot, CEO of The Center for Food Integrity

How can you talk to consumers about gene editing when most have little understanding of how plants are bred?

The Coalition for Responsible Gene Editing in Agriculture, formed by the Center for Food Integrity in 2016 as a partnership of stakeholders who share a vision of global acceptance for the responsible use of gene editing in agriculture and food, understands that building trust in gene editing is essential so that the food system has the social license to use the technology in a responsible matter.

The Coalition analyzed consumer research about communicating about biotechnology and they discovered that some methods of communicating are more effective than others. One discovery was that talking about the evolution of gene editing technology — instead of describing it as a revolution — helped people to understand it better.

Scientists have every right to be proud of advancements.… Continue reading

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Symposium offers updates on the farm economy, weather and water quality

By Matt Reese and Dusty Sonnenberg

Ohio’s corn, soybean and wheat producers gathered in Columbus this week for the 2019 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium. Guests heard from Director Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Cathann Kress, Dean of the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

In addition Ben Brown, OSU Farm Management Program Manager, covered a wide array of topics about the current farm economy and the outlook moving forward. One important part of that conversation was the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments.

“We can attribute a lot of the factors behind the Ohio farm economy and decisions around grain marketing and planting to the MFP,” Brown said. “It is helping farm income and providing cash. Instead of having to manage grain in a bin, we have these payments. This is creating some liquidity at the farm level that is propping up balance sheets.… Continue reading

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2019 National Corn Yield Contest hits new yield record

This year, corn growers hit new highs in the National Corn Growers Association 2019 National Corn Yield Contest with David Hula of Charles City, Va. setting the highest yield on record at 616.1953 bushels per acre. Despite adverse growing conditions that impacted most farmers, improved seed varieties, advanced production techniques, and innovative growing practices allowed corn growers to achieve many impressive yields across all categories again this year.

The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 55th year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members.

“Yield contest participants create and share information that shapes the future of the industry while participating in friendly competition,” said Roger Zylstra, chair of NCGA’s Stewardship Action Team. “At both the state and national levels, contest winners find new ways to excel in a variety of situations. In turn, these innovations can help their fellow farmers face challenges as well. Our contest emphasizes invention and improvement, both from growers and technology providers, that enables U.S.… Continue reading

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Phase-one deal is on the table; what now, Brazil?

The preliminary agreement announced last week by the United States and China was the most important step towards softening tensions between the world’s two largest economies since the beginning of the trade war in 2018. But it is still surrounded by uncertainty. For the agricultural sector, the main question is how much soybeans, meat, wheat, corn, cotton, etc. is China going to purchase from the United States in 2020. For Brazil, that is a key question, since its agricultural exports have been immensely benefited by the trade war.

In 2018, Brazil exported 83.3 million metric tons of soybeans, 22 percent up from the previous year and a massive fresh-new record. China was the destination of 68.2 million metric tons, compared to 53.8 million in 2017 (28 percent up). Since Chinese importers made all efforts to buy as much as possible from Brazil (to make things worse for China, Argentina had had a crop failure that year), they inflated Brazilian export premiums.

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Piney Paradise: A family activity

By Matt Reese

The holiday season means many different things to many different people — faith, family, tradition, gatherings, and decorations. For the Bauer family in Huron County, these important holiday staples remain a focus all year on their Piney Paradise Christmas Tree Farm as they prepare for the holiday sales season.

In the early 1970s Gary Bauer served as an FFA advisor at Big Walnut in central Ohio. During that time he became familiar with Wade and Gatton Nurseries. He also worked with the FFA selling Christmas trees as a fundraiser. This led to an initial effort to plant Christmas trees on a few acres in the Sunbury area. In the late 70s, though, career changes took the Bauer family to where Gary grew up in Huron County. He took a different job teaching ag, and later moved into an Extension role as an ag educator in the diverse, horticulture-heavy Erie County.… Continue reading

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Precision University – combating soil compaction

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

There is no shortage of examples of soil compaction across Ohio’s farm fields looking back at the last two years. The fall of 2018 and spring of 2019 created some less than ideal conditions for field work leaving many farmers concerned with field compaction. This concern is justified as compaction can significantly reduce yields. Compaction has been a concern for many years as equipment size grows, increasing axle weight.

Researchers have been conducting on-farm trials comparing farming practices to uncover ways farmers can reduce compaction. Comparisons include tires and tracks, equipment size and tillage practices.

At the 2020 Precision University, OSU Extension has invited in some of the leading experts from across North America on compaction research and management.

Featured Speakers include:
Dr. Scott Shearer -The Ohio State University

Dr. Ian McDonald -Ontario Ministry of Agriculture

Dr. Mark Hanna -Iowa State University

Dr. Jason Warren -Oklahoma State University

The 2020 Precision University will be held January 8 from 8:00 am – 3:30 pm. 

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OCWGA members pushing for USMCA and ethanol

Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association members participated in a recent press conference earlier in St. Louis to urge the Trump Administration and members of Congress to finish the job on trade and ethanol issues important to corn farmers.

Patty Mann (Jackson Center), John Linder (Edison), Kelly Harsh (Delaware), Gail Lierer (Okeana), and Josh Yoder (Plain City) were on hand to let the Administration and Congress know that immediate action is needed.

The past year has presented a perfect storm of challenges for America’s corn farmers in Ohio and across the nation. While there have been positive developments, such as the trade agreement with Japan and the long-awaited approval of year-round E15, there are still outstanding issues that, if adequately addressed, would provide some much-needed certainty to corn farmers.

The Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association joined with other state leaders and NCGA leadership and called on the President to follow through on his commitment to farmers and the RFS, conclude China trade negotiations with a positive outcome for agriculture, and for Congressional leaders to reach an agreement with the Administration and pass USMCA.… Continue reading

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2019 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

The 2019 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Those in attendance will be welcomed and addressed by Director Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Dr. Cathann Kress, Dean of the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Ben Brown, OSU Farm Management Program Manager will have three different sessions dealing with the farm economy. Aaron Wilson, OSU Atmospheric Scientist will lead a breakout session about climate change, and Dr. Scott Shearer, Chair of the Department of Food Agricultural and Biological Engineering, will lead a breakout session about technology. Additional breakout sessions will be conducted throughout the day focusing on: trade, water quality, farm finance, small refinery waivers, H2Ohio, and grain supply/carryover.

In addition to the educational session, the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association and the Ohio Soybean Association will hold their annual meetings during the symposium.

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Why do we still see so much tillage across Ohio?

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Pick-up any farm publication and chances are you will find an article about the use of cover crops or no-till farming. Drive across any rural county in Ohio and chances are you will find a field that has recently been tilled. With all the current research evaluating best management practices utilizing no-till and cover crops, why do we still see so much tillage across the state?

Just ask a group of farmers gathered at the local elevator or coffee shop what their top reasons for tillage are, and more than likely there will be a rather consistent list. Those reasons often cited include: breaking-up soil compaction, managing crop residue, controlling weeds and diseases, and improving yields. Most will admit that they have tried and like the concept of no-till farming, especially from the standpoint of making fewer trips across the field. In the same conversation however, they will often talk about the challenges they face on heavier soils with compaction issues and managing crop residue.

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Lackluster December report from USDA

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

No changes in U.S. corn exports or U.S. ending stocks for corn, soybeans, and wheat. Can you say, “boring”? Following the report corn was unchanged, soybeans up 1 cent, and wheat up 1 cent. Before the report corn was unchanged, soybeans up 3 cents, and wheat unchanged.

This report had zero changes in U.S. 2019 corn and soybean production, yields, and harvested acres. This follows the pattern seen in past December WASDE reports.

Continuing to be dominant in the grains news cycle are the U.S./China trade talks along with ongoing weather in South America. Today their weather is a non-issue.

The major numbers traders will be watching today included U.S. corn exports and production estimates from South America. Today USDA estimated U.S. corn exports at 1.850 billion bushels. Last month they were 1.850 billion bushels. USDA pegged Brazil’s soybean production at 123 million tons and corn production at 101 million tons.… Continue reading

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