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Monsanto agrees to buy The Climate Corporation

Monsanto Company announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire The Climate Corporation for a cash purchase price of approximately $930 million. The acquisition will combine The Climate Corporation’s expertise in agriculture analytics and risk-management with Monsanto’s R&D capabilities, and will provide farmers access to more information about the many factors that affect the success of their crops. The companies’ combined capabilities will support greater productivity while utilizing the planet’s finite resources more precisely.

The acquisition is expected to expand on The Climate Corporation’s leadership in the area of data science, which represents the agriculture sector’s next major breakthrough, and will immediately expand both the near- and long-term growth opportunities for Monsanto’s business and Integrated Farming Systems platform.

“The Climate Corporation is focused on unlocking new value for the farm through data science,” said Hugh Grant, chairman and chief executive officer for Monsanto. “Everyone benefits when farmers are able to produce more with fewer resources.… Continue reading

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Preplan for better soil test results

Soil testing is a very profitable practice to manage fertility input cost and promote environmental stewardship. The primary goal is to measure the soil’s ability to provide the soluble nutrient needed for crop production for two of our three macro nutrients (phosphorus and potassium) plus measure soil acidity which governs availability of micro nutrients and other soil functions. A secondary goal is to compare soil test results over time with crop response and fertilizer additions to identify trends in the fertility program as it is executed or what is becoming known as “adaptive management”. The key to accomplishing both these goals is to take a quality soil sample that represents the field area being sampled.

A soil sample sent in for analysis is around one pound. A 6.7 inch slice of soil with a surface area of one acre is approximately 2 million pounds known as an “acre furrow slice”.  As we include more acres in the sample you can see how small a volume is collected compared to the volume we want to represent.… Continue reading

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Be on the lookout for unexpected lodging during harvest

For the past few years, we have been warning about the presence of Bt-resistant western corn rootworms.  The western corn belt has been experiencing greater than expected damage on Bt-corn expressing the single trait Cry3Bb1.

Most often these observations are found in continuous corn, although a report a couple of weeks ago in the Bulletin (from the University of Illinois) reported damage in first-year corn (see http://bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu/?p=1629).  We have not yet detected the presence of resistant rootworms in Ohio, but detecting damage is often difficult.

As corn producers begin their harvest, keep a sharp eye out for any areas of significant lodging that may be indicative of western corn rootworm damage in corn expressing Bt, specifically Cry3Bb1 and in continuous corn.  Keep in mind that many factors can cause lodging including wind damage and poor root growth, so a careful examination of the roots is necessary.  If you suspect damage, please contact entomology state specialists (michel.70@osu.edu;hammond.5@osu.edu) or your local OSU extension educator.… Continue reading

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China agrees to $2.8 billion in U.S. soy purchases

As China’s appetite for soy products continues to grow, it’s leaning on U.S. soybean farmers to help meet demand — in one recent case, to the tune of $2.8 billion.

During the recent U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange, Chinese agricultural leaders signed agreements to buy approximately $2.8 billion worth of U.S. soy. The delegation signed 13 contracts with U.S. exporters.

“These contracts speak to U.S. soybean farmers’ work to produce high-quality soybeans,” said Jim Stillman, chairman of the United Soybean Board (USB), which co-sponsored the Exchange with the American Soybean Association (ASA). “The U.S. soy industry is committed to meeting the demands of our customers, and we are doing that by growing the best crops we can.”

More than 200 foreign trade delegates attended the Exchange in the Quad Cities Sept. 16-18. Farmer-leaders from across the soy family networked with international customers and solidified purchase agreements.

“This is the first year we’ve held the U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – September 30th, 2013

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There were six days suitable for fieldwork in Ohio during the week ending September 29, according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Region. With precipitation this week largely limited to mist and light rains, conditions around the state were conducive to fieldwork. Producers harvested early planted and early maturing corn for grain and soybeans, and most growers are preparing for major harvesting to begin soon.

See what the moisture content has been thus far and the latest crop conditions in the full reportContinue reading

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The Weekly Corn Belt Update {September 30th, 2013}


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 live daily by visiting  www.colgancommodities.com and clicking on the audio tab.

Maumee, Ohio

Harvest was halted over the weekend due to timely rains .  The .2-4” rains plumped up the beans.  Corn moisture is running in the low 20’s right now, and this should be a big week for bean harvest when it resumes tomorrow.  Wheat planting is off to a very good start.

Henderson, KY

The Henderson KY area received around .8” of rain early Sunday.Continue reading

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Monday’s stocks report likely forgotten soon

Today USDA released their estimates of Sept. 1 corn, soybeans and wheat stocks.

Corn stocks were estimated at 824 million bushels, soybean stocks at 141 million bushels, and wheat stocks at 1.85 billion bushels. Headed into the report, traders were looking for corn stocks to be 688 million bushels, soybean stocks at 124 million bushels, and wheat stocks at 1.913 billion bushels.

Just before the report release time of noon, December CME corn was $4.53, down 1 cent. November CME soybeans were $13.06, down 14 cents. December CME wheat was $6.86, up 3 cents. In the minutes following the report, corn was down 5 cents, soybeans down 25 cents, wheat up 5 cents.

Some would add that with corn and soybeans trading before the report higher than following the report, month end liquidation could be a factor in early trading.  

Just a reminder that in the past, quarterly corn stocks reports have tended to be very volatile with huge price changes.Continue reading

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Turning corn trash into treasure

As harvest continues around Ohio is it no secret that many growers are seeing strong numbers on the yield monitors, with many of the readings pushing the 200-bushel mark.

That is, of course, great news for farmers around the state, but it does bring some things to think about for Bill Mullen, Director of Agronomic Services for Seed Consultants.

“One of my big concerns with these big yields is the trash that will be left on the field,” Mullen said. “This leaves a very good supply of nutrients, but we’ve got to break it down from the stalks.”

As many visitors noticed at Farm Science Review, there is new technology out there that may help with this issue and many options to choose from, including some non-conventional .… Continue reading

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NCGA Yield Contest entries up

The National Corn Growers Association’s National Corn Yield Contest set a new entry record in 2013 with 8,827. This surpasses the previous record of 8,431 entries, set in 2011, and far outstrips the 8,263 entries received in 2012.


“The contest continues to grow in popularity undeterred by challenging planting weather like that which many saw this year,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “By nature, farmers are optimists who act humbly while taking great personal pride in their work. NCGA is proud to offer the contest to our members and, in doing so, recognize the excellence that abounds in American agriculture today.”


News of the record shortly follows NCGA’s achievement of a major milestone, growing rolls beyond 40,000 members for the first time in July. Now in its 49th year, the program remains one of NCGA’s most popular. Notably, NCYC rules require entrants be current members of the association.


Winners will receive national recognition in publications such as the NCYC Corn Yield Guide, and potentially receive trips or other awards from participating sponsoring seed and crop protection companies.… Continue reading

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The importance of sampling soil for SCN

Is there suspected iron deficiency chlorosis, herbicide injury or drought stress in a soybean field? If a field is experiencing symptoms such as stunting, discoloration or yield loss, there’s a chance soybean cyst nematode (SCN) might be the culprit.

According to Ohio State University, SCN can be misdiagnosed as a number of diseases or stresses. Soil sampling fields is crucial to properly diagnosing and treating SCN.

“One of the determinants of yield loss is the number of nematodes that are present,” said Terry Niblack, OSU Professor and Chair of the Plant Pathology Department. “The only way that a farmer can determine whether the practices that he or she is using to reduce soybean cyst nematode are working is by sampling the soil periodically.”

Niblack doesn’t recommend a lot of sampling, she just recommends that people know what is happening to the populations that are present.Continue reading

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Tax on P could solve water quality issues

When talking about how we regulate phosphorus, I hear the same refrains over and over again.

The first one goes something like this: We have solved the attached P problem, now we just have to find the right tools to solve the soluble P problem. These tools invariably include things like reducing winter manure applications, the 4 Rs, cover crops, trapping nutrients in-stream with two-stage ditches, etc.

The second one is: Phosphorus inputs have been declining since the 1970s. Isn’t this evidence that farmers are doing their share to reduce the pollution problem?

Absolutely, there is truth to each of these, but my take on the policy lessons and the implications for what we should do next are completely different than most others (go figure).

Let’s look more closely at the attached P problem we have “solved.” One of the vexing problems with phosphorus in watersheds is that it is so persistent.… Continue reading

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New process for estimating soybean yields

Soybean producers can easily get an idea of the yield potential of their crops with a Purdue Extension soybean specialist’s calculation method.

Soybean yield potential is built on many factors, including the genetics selected, management decisions during the season and the weather. Yield components of soybeans are pods, seed size and number of seeds per pod.

“Individual plant production varies, and every field will vary based on pests, soils, fertility and other factors,” said Shaun Casteel. “But I’ve simplified the process of estimating soybean yields so that producers can scout multiple areas quickly while maintaining representative estimates.”

Casteel’s system is based on estimated yield in one ten-thousandth of an acre. The basic formula involves multiplying the number of pods by the number of seeds per pod, then dividing that result by the seed size factor. That calculation will show the estimated bushels per acre.

To calculate, producers first need to count the number of pods in one ten-thousandth of an acre, an area determined by a 21-inch length of a row of plants and how far apart the rows were planted.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – September 23rd, 2013

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There were five days suitable for fieldwork in Ohio during the week ending September 22, according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Region. There was over an inch of rain in all regions of the State this week, providing moisture to some drier areas. The moisture content of harvested corn averaged 24 percent. Farmers are beginning to harvest corn for grain in lighter soils. Harvest for silage is nearly complete. The moisture content of harvested soybeans averaged 24 percent, and some producers have begun harvesting. Most farmers, however, will wait another week or two before beginning major harvest of corn and soybeans. Winter wheat planting is just beginning, and will continue as the weather allows. Producers continue to harvest their third and fourth cutting of hay, although producers on their third cutting may not be able to harvest a fourth cutting.

See how much of the harvest is completeContinue reading

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The Weekly Corn Belt Update {September 23rd, 2013}


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

The NW Ohio region will see harvest go “wide open” this week, with the emphasis likely on beans.  They did not receive as much as areas to the south.  Stay tuned for yield reports.  Some of the better crops in Ohio may well come from this part of Ohio.

Henderson, KY

Corn and bean harvest are underway.  Virtually all of the yields with corn have been ranging in the 200+ bushel area.Continue reading

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Use care around bins and flowing grain this harvest season

Harvest is the culmination of a year’s worth of worth and months of planning, planting and care. It can also be a dangerous time while working in and around bins and flowing grain.

The National Corn Growers Association wanted to emphasize the importance of proper grain bin safety procedures this harvest. With farmers across the country in the fields in their combines, NCGA is again promoting a video highlighting the importance of proper safety procedures and reviewing helpful guidelines.

First released in 2011, this video remains relevant and illustrates the significant threat bin entrapment can pose.

“In 2010 we saw a record number of farmers becoming engulfed in grain bins and we decided it was time to have a proactive role in creating awareness about the serious nature of this issue,” said Bart Schott, who served as NCGA President at that time. “We hope that this video makes farmers stop and think twice before the next time they put themselves in danger.”

The video, shot on location in several states, provides a wide range of information from prevention tips and background data on grain bin accidents. … Continue reading

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Leeds Farm providing connections to agriculture

As summer fades into fall, farmers across Ohio begin making preparations for the busy season that lies ahead. Their efforts may include maintenance work on tractors, checking over the combine and closely monitoring crop progress. If there’s extra time the barn might get cleaned out and the livestock pens fixed up.

At Leeds Farm in Ostrander they work on pedal carts instead of tractors, the combine’s grain hopper has a hole big enough for people to slide through and the crops that really matter are the pumpkins and gourds. Their list also includes a few extra items such as building straw forts with slides, checking on the animatronics animals and performing safety inspections on the zip lines.

Rob and Christy Leeds do things a little differently on their Delaware County farm, but that is why they are a favorite destination for local families and visitors from around the world.

“We got started with pumpkins in the front yard,” Rob said.… Continue reading

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Wheat seeding rates important to consider

Optimum wheat seeding rates are between 1.2 and 1.6 million seeds per acre. For drills with 7.5-inch row spacing, this is about 18 to 24 seeds per foot of row with normal sized seed. When wheat is planted on time, actual seeding rate has little effect on yield, but high seeding rates (above 30 seeds per foot of row) increase lodging. There is no evidence that more seed is better, it only costs more money. However, as mentioned above, seeding rate should be increased if the crop is planted well after the fly-safe date. Seed size (the number of seeds per pound) and germination rates are critical for determining the proper seeding rate and drill calibrated. That information should be listed on the bag of seed. The table below shows the pounds of seed needed per acre to accomplish various seeding rates using different sizes of seed.

Planting depth is critical for tiller development and winter survival.… Continue reading

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Fungicides and honey bees examined

Honey bees that consume pollen that contains amounts of commonly used fungicides at levels too low to cause the bee’s death still may leave them more susceptible to infection by a gut parasite, according to USDA and University of Maryland research.

This research complements other recent USDA research into bees, including a comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health that found multiple factors play a role in honey bee colony declines, including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure. The report specifically highlighted the need for additional research to determine risks presented by pesticides, along with the need for improved collaboration and information sharing.

Researchers from the university and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) collected pollen samples from honey bees pollinating apples, watermelons, pumpkins, cucumbers, blueberries or cranberries. The scientists then analyzed the pollen to determine how much fungicide, insecticide, miticide and/or herbicide the bees were exposed to while pollinating each of the six crops.… Continue reading

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