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The Weekly Corn Belt Update {September 16th, 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 crops in the NW region of Ohio can be drawn into two areas in regards to moisture:  Draw a line from Lansing, MI down to Toledo and go west and the crops simply do not look as good. Go east of that line and the crops are better.  The better yields for beans will be early, and for corn the better yields will likely be the later corn.Continue reading

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Cover cropping can optimize organic production

Farmers can fine-tune their use of cover crops to help manage costs and maximize benefits in commercial organic production systems, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

Production expenses for high-value organic crops like lettuce and broccoli can exceed $7,000 per acre, so producers often try to streamline costs with an annual two- to three-crop rotation. ARS horticulturalist Eric Brennan designed a long-term investigation that examined several different cover cropping strategies for an annual organic lettuce-broccoli production system. This work supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

The researcher selected three winter cover crops often grown in the Salinas, Calif., area — rye, mustard, and a legume-rye mix — and planted each cover crop using either a typical seeding rate or a seeding rate that was three times higher. Seeding rates can influence a cover crop’s ability to smother weeds.

During lettuce and broccoli production, Brennan ensured all systems received the same fertilizer and irrigation inputs and pest management.… Continue reading

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Uh-oh: Road closed for Farm Science Review

I was quite distraught last week when I noticed that State Route 29 was closed at I-70. This is my favorite “sneaky back way” to dodge some of the heavy traffic when getting to and from the Farm Science Review. The bigger problem is that this way is not really all that sneaky and many other people use it as well. Not this year folks.

The resulting problem is the decrease of three primary exits from I-70 down to two. There will probably be increased bottlenecking of traffic on 42.

Here is the official report on the exit closure from http://www.pavingtheway.org/i-70/.

Beginning Sept. 9, SR 29 will close at I-70 for 30 days to allow crews to complete work on the new roundabout at the west interchange. Two ramps will also close: I-70 west to SR 29 and SR 29 to I-70 west. Detours will be posted.

SR 29 west detour: US 40 west to US 42 north to SR 29.
… Continue reading

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Plenty to see at Farm Science Review

By the show’s very nature, visitors can always expect to see the most up-to-date research, equipment and technology at the Farm Science Review.

As always, there will be a number of other interesting and fairly new features to check out at this year’s Farm Science Review.

Water quality research

Recent heavy rains in the Midwest stress the need for proper water management plans like that of the Farm Science Review’s year-round effort to improve the water quality at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, which will be emphasized with the continuing installation of drainage lines and structures during the 2013 Review by the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors Association (OLICA).

“We have actually already started testing the water that is coming out of our drainage lines,” Sullivan said. “We’re testing Deer Creek before any water goes in from our tile and we then test the water after it leaves our farm. The objective is to find out where a raindrop goes when it hits our farm, what happens to it and are we losing nutrients.”

This systems approach to evaluating water allows research at FSR to begin at the application of nutrients to growing and harvesting the crop and then seeing what the water quality is at the end of a season.… Continue reading

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Dry weather took icing off corn yields

Much of the state’s once thriving corn crop took a late-season yield hit as hot, dry conditions developed in late summer.

The combination of dryness and extreme heat during corn kernel weight development is further cutting into yield potential. Purdue University corn specialist Bob Nielsen said that these conditions took the “frosting off the cake” in many fields that were making a final push to fulfill their full yield potential as the hot and dry conditions developed.

“In fact, for some fields, the ‘cake’ is disappearing, too,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Drought Monitor update of Sept. 5 showed that a small area in western Ohio was abnormally dry — the lowest level of dryness. While most of the state was not in any level of drought after the soggy conditions for much of the growing season, there were many other areas that were getting fairly dry. Some areas in northwestern, central and southern Ohio went for two or three weeks with very little rainfall in August and early September.… Continue reading

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FSR by the numbers


  1. Number of acres farmed – 2100 acres in the facility *
  2. Number of tractors used at show – 73 **
  3. Number of workers during the show  – 275 ***
  4. Number of exhibitors at the 2013 show – 602
  5. Number of acres of exhibits – 80 acres
  6. Dates corn was planted this year – May 3 – 9
  7. Dates soybeans were planted this year – May 3 – 15
  8. Five year average yield for corn – 172 bu/acre
  9. Five year average yield for soybeans – 51 bu/acre
  10. Wheat yields this year – estimated 98 bu/acre


*No. 1 includes 1416 acres tillable, 127 acres CREP, and lots of mowing – 250 acres

**No. 2 includes 5 used on the farm, 48 in field demos, 16 for shuttle buses and 4 tile plows

**No. 3  includes full-time staff, student staff, temporary staff, and volunteers

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Drying and storing wet, immature grain

When corn reaches maturity late in the season, field drydown is slower due to cooler air temperatures. DuPont Pioneer agronomists provided several tips for drying and storage of the wet, immature grain this season.

Properly drying this year’s very wet, lower quality corn will be essential to avoid further quality reductions. Screen lower quality grain prior to drying, using a rotary screen, gravity screen or perforated auger housing section.

This will prevent foreign material and broken kernel fragments (or “fines”) from blocking air flow essential to uniform grain drying and storage. Next, plan to dry lower quality grain one or two points lower than the normal 14% to 15% often recommended for long-term storage. This is because of greater variations of moisture content within the grain mass and increased physical kernel damage and broken cobs, which could magnify mold problems.

High temperature drying causes stress cracks in the kernel, which allows more breakage during handling and storage.… Continue reading

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Taiwan commits to purchase $4 billion in U.S. farm products

The Taiwan Feed Industry Association on behalf of the Taiwanese Agricultural Goodwill Mission signed a letter of intent with the U.S. Grains Council on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, committing to purchase 5 million metric tons (197 million bushels) of U.S. corn in 2014 and 2015. In addition, 0.5 million tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) will be included in the memorandum.

“Over the last 40 years, Taiwan has been one of the most import export markets for U.S. coarse grains and products,” said Julius Schaaf, USGC chairman. “With Taiwan producing less than 1% of its needed grains, the United States is able to be a major supplier to the nation. In 2011-2012, Taiwan was the sixth-largest U.S. corn market, the third-largest U.S. barley market and the seventh-largest U.S. sorghum market. The Council is proud of the partnership we have had with Taiwan for many years and are excited for the possibilities that continue to grow from this partnership.”

The Council has played an integral role in building and sustaining close ties between the United States and Taiwan.… Continue reading

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Report numbers mixed, corn bearish, soybeans bullish

The corn numbers are bearish as the production and yield was increased from last month. Soybeans are bullish due to a smaller than expected ending stocks at 150 million bushels. Traders were surprised with the higher, not lower corn yield. Today’s numbers could well point to a retest of December corn contract lows of $4.45 ¾.

Just before the report release, December corn was $4.67, down  5 ½ cents, while November soybeans were 13.49 ½, down 8 ¾ cents. Shortly after the report was released, December corn was $4.59, down 13 1.2 cents. November soybeans were $13.62, up 3 ¾ cents.

The ending stocks for soybeans looks to be the more watched number and not the actual soybean production number. Soybean ending stocks were estimated by USDA at 150 million bushels, down from last month’s 220. Just two months ago, the July report had ending stocks at 295 million bushels. At that time weather was not an issue with yield prospects increasing.… Continue reading

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Palmer amaranth gaining ground in Ohio

The Farm Science Review could be a great place to find out more about the Palmer amaranth that has been making plenty of ag headlines lately. This nightmare of an herbicide resistant weed threatens to change weed management as most farmers know it. They could be trading in their big sprayers for a hand hoeing crew.

Ohio State University Extension weed control specialist Mark Loux is increasingly concerned about this monster weed in Ohio.

“There appears to be somewhat of an epicenter of new Palmer amaranth infestations in an area southwest of Columbus, bordered roughly by Midway on the north and Washington Courthouse on the south. There is a dairy in the area that has been using cottonseed products for feed and a local grower has been transporting these products to the dairy from somewhere in the south,” Loux said in a recent CORN Newsletter. “There are Palmer amaranth plants in a number of fields in the area and also on the grounds of the dairy. … Continue reading

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Cleared for takeoff at the Farm Science Review

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…what is it?

There is good possibility that, if it is buzzing around over an agricultural field at the Farm Science Review, it is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). These devices clearly appeal to the fancy gadget fascination so prevalent in agriculture but can also serve a number of important and cost-saving purposes in a wide array of agricultural operations.

One of the advantages of the Farm Science Review being a part of an Extension land grant university is the ability to cross reference one portion of campus with another. UAVs (or drones) are one example of an exciting collaboration will be seen buzzing overhead at this year’s event.

“The aeronautical personnel in the engineering department said they needed a nice, wide open space to fly new drones,” said Matt Sullivan, Assistant Manager of the Farm Science Review. “We couldn’t think of a better place than the 1,200 acres at The Molly Caren Ag Center.”

After going through the process of getting clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the aeronautical folks at OSU plan to fly these unmanned vehicles for display during Farm Science Review.… Continue reading

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Corn pre-harvest considerations

Across Ohio, the corn crop in general is set up for high yields based largely on ample amounts of precipitation and moderate temperatures during most of the 2013 growing season. Lately, rainfall has been at a premium with some areas receiving adequate moisture and others needing a good shower to finish the crop. The questions that remain are, will my corn crop mature and what should I be looking for prior to harvest? This update attempts to address both of those questions.

Overall GDU (heat) accumulation during 2013 is currently below normal across most of Ohio. As a result, corn grain fill, drydown and harvest maturity are delayed. Prevailing weather conditions between now and harvest will dictate how fast field drying will occur versus harvesting at higher moisture and using artificial drying methods for the corn crop. The rule of thumb, based on research conducted at Ohio State University, is that field drying rates of standing corn range from half to three-quarters of a point of moisture per day up until mid-October, and decline to a quarter to half a point until early November.… Continue reading

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Harvest has started in western Ohio

The Ohio 2013 harvest season is here with reports of combines running in various parts of western and southern Ohio.  There are always interesting local happenings at this exciting time of year for agriculture. Here is a report of what is happening in western Ohio from Risë Labig, OCJ marketing specialist.

Yes…the Anderson’s Greenville plant is taking high moisture corn, with the drying deal a “shrink only.” However, it is not “posted” on their website but those wanting more details would need to call one of their grain buyers. From history, this deal will be very short-lived. The dryers just can’t keep up. Greenville has a dryer and Cardinal does not…yet.

Corn bids are already getting interesting and competitive between the two local ethanol plants, Greenville and Cardinal at Union City. As always, I know these bids can change by the hour during fall.

The 100 acres of corn that was planted down the road went 130 was planted the third week of April. … Continue reading

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Potential profitability of strip intercropping with corn and soybeans

Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

Agronomic trials suggest that planting narrow strips of corn and soybeans side by side in the same field can generate greater total revenue than planting the equivalent number of acres in large, monoculture fields (Lesoing and Francis 1991, West and Griffith 1992). This approach, which is referred to as strip intercropping, may improve the efficiency of light reception for the taller crop (corn), though at the expense of shading the shorter soybean crop. Strip intercropping is viewed as an opportunity to increase total crop production primarily because of greater efficiency of sunlight capture. Recently, trials reporting the effects of strip intercropping on corn yields in industry publications (Winsor 2011) have sparked the imagination of many farmers and affiliated professionals in the North American field crop sector, leading to increased interest in the potential profitability of such a change in cultivation practices. However, these trials have not considered the full cost-side ramifications of altered cropping systems for modern, large-scale corn and soybean production systems nor have these studies explored sensitivity of results to crop prices.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – September 9th, 2013

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There were seven days suitable for fieldwork in Ohio during the week ending September 8, according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Region. Temperatures were much cooler this week throughout the entire State, but very little rain was received. With the continued dry weather, some corn is rapidly drying down, although moisture across fields remains variable. Early maturing soybeans are beginning to drop leaves and some will be ready for harvest in the next couple of weeks. Overall, the crops remain in good condition and producers seem happy despite some weather concerns. Hay cutting is proceeding slowly as the lack of rain has slowed stubble re-growth. Corn silage harvest continues. Other activities included harvesting processing tomatoes, sweet corn, cabbage, and some apples.

The complete reportContinue reading

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The Weekly Corn Belt Update {September 9th, 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 and SE Michigan parts of the eastern corn belt have continued to receive the perfect weather this season.  As this report goes to press, both the Toledo area and SE-SC Michigan are getting a beautiful rain.  Didn’t I start last week’s report off the same way?  #Envious again this week.  Likely some of the best yields will be reported  in NW Ohio.Continue reading

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Modified relay intercropping of soybeans offers potential for additional profit

Planting soybeans into standing wheat can not only result in higher soybean yields but can offer a significant financial boost to growers compared to planting a traditional double crop of soybeans, according to research from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The technique, called modified relay intercropping of soybeans, allows growers to capture 66% of the traditional Ohio growing season to produce a second crop through the inter-planting of soybeans into wheat in late May or early June, said Steve Prochaska, an Ohio State University Extension field specialist and member of the university’s Agronomic Crops Team.

Based on extensive research at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), modified relay intercropped wheat can yield at least 90% of conventional wheat, Prochaska said.

“In 14 years of research trials in north central Ohio on the modified relay intercropping system, yields have averaged 76 bushels per acre for wheat and 28 bushels per acre for soybeans,” he said.… Continue reading

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Conditions right for downy mildew and other soybean diseases

Excessive rain during flowering and right after planting, coupled with cool nights, have caused an increase in some late season soybean diseases in many Ohio fields, according to a soybean expert from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The inclement weather during these two key time periods in soybeans have made the plants really vulnerable to disease this year, said Anne Dorrance, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist who has led soybean disease research and outreach efforts in Ohio.

Dorrance, who also has an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, said now is the time growers should be scouting their fields to know what diseases may be impacting their soybean plants in order to know how to manage the fields to prevent similar occurrences next season.

“We’re seeing a lot of late season disease symptoms across the state,” Dorrance said. “While many of these diseases will spread, they are manageable.… Continue reading

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Hay growers had the quantity, but quality may be hard to come by

Most of Ohio had ample rain, at least for the first part of the growing season. But despite the abundant rainfall this summer, the supplies of high quality hay appear to be on the short side. There was plenty of hay out there due to the moisture, but getting it dried into a high quality end product proved challenging for many hay growers.

“This year there has been a lot of quantity but there is not the quality. I don’t know that I have ever had the quantity that I have had this year,” said Louie Rehm, who makes hay on his Wayne County farm. “Every cutting this year was good in terms of quantity. There is a lot of hay but there is not the quality out there.”

The rain, combined with several long stretches of cool, cloudy weather, and the humidity this summer made it very difficult for Rehm to get the hay dried properly on his northeast Ohio farm.… Continue reading

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