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Soy Checkoff research yields smartphone app

Ever wonder whether it’s worth it to apply a fungicide? How about the most cost-effective seeding rate? The national soy checkoff has put that information in the palm of your hand.

A new app developed by the United Soybean Board (USB) includes two calculators that help farmers plan for their next crop. One helps users determine whether the yield benefits of various input combinations justify the costs. The other uses the main maturity rates for a farmer’s region, the cost of soybean seed and an estimated price of the soybeans at the time of sale to determine an optimal seeding rate based on a percentage of return.

The app also includes documents and videos that describe the research behind each tool.

“This is a really easy way for farmers to get an idea about seeding rates for soybeans based on both the cost of the seed and the price of the harvested grain,” said Seth Naeve, lead investigator and associate professor of agronomy and plant genetics, University of Minnesota.

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Brazil could top U.S. soybean production

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Brazil may replace the drought-impacted U.S. as the world’s top producer of soybeans for the 2012-2013 harvest season. It’s still just a forecast, but Brazil’s expected 2012-2013 soybean production could top that of the U.S. for the first time ever.

“It appears at this point that Brazil is postured to alone exceed soybean production in the U.S.,” said Gerald Bange, World Ag Outlook Board Chair. “Historically we’ve always had to look at it as Brazil and Argentina.”

USDA’s latest forecast puts Brazil soybean production at 81 million metric tons this harvest year versus 77.8 million tons for the U.S. Bange says the traditional buyers are keeping a close eye on the situation.

“Major importers like China are looking at it and saying that things are looking good down there for the moment,” Bange said. “We’ve always known, given the tight situation of both corn and soybeans in the U.S., that what goes on in the Southern Hemisphere through our winter here is going to be very important.”

Increased Brazilian production gives big buyers more purchasing choice and helps keep a cap on prices.

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Should you reduce fertilizer rates next year?

By Dave Nanda, Director of Genetics and Technology 
Seed Consultants, Inc.

As you know, many farms in Ohio were drastically affected by extreme heat and drought during this year. In many cases the yields were less than half as compared to normal.

You applied fertilizers based on normal expected yields. The USDA October estimates for Indiana and Ohio were 100 and 123 bushels of corn per acre respectively. Most growers applied fertilizers based on 180 to 200 bushels expected yields. A corn crop of 180 bushels would have used about 160 pounds of nitrogen, 75 pounds of potash and 140 pounds of phosphate.

Unless you used a cover crop to capture the remnant N, much of it will be lost by leaching or evaporation during the winter and spring months. However, potash and phosphate are more stable. If you harvested only 50% of your expected yields, half of potash and phosphate should still be there.

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Nov. 9 market update

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Here are numbers from today’s USDA crop report. Corn production was 10.725 billion bushels with a yield of 122.3 bushels per acre. Soybean production was pegged at 2.971 billion bushels and a yield of 39.3 bushels per acre. In early trading following the report release, corn was down 3 cents and soybeans were down 22 cents. Immediately following the report had declined as much as 33 cents.

The big question for the day is this: soybeans broke below their harvest low at $14.84 when they went to $14.63. Will they be able to hold the early day lows of $14.63?

The soybean number was bearish with production 80 million bushels higher than expected. The yield was increased 1.5 bushels per acre from October. Corn production was 78 million bushels higher than expected. The corn yield was increased ever so slightly from last month at .3 bushels per acre.

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Watch out for Sandy’s impact in fields

High winds and heavy rains in some parts of Ohio from the remnants of superstorm
Sandy could cause stalk lodging and ear drop, reducing corn yields and making a
bad year even worse in the wake of record-setting drought, an Ohio State
University Extension agronomist said.

Wet soils are slowing harvest in the parts of the state that got heavy rains,
particularly in areas where as much as 70% of the corn hasn’t yet been
harvested. Strong winds may have caused stalk lodging, or a breaking of corn
plants below the ears.

“With this drought-stressed corn, the high winds could have a larger effect
to result in more corn lodging,” said Peter Thomison. “The rains were a big deal
in many parts of the state, which is slowing harvest because combines can’t get
into the fields.

“The more time you wait to harvest, the more dropped ears and natural lodging
occur.

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How much fertilizer does it take to move soil test levels?

By Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

Phosphorous and potassium exist naturally in the soil as a part of rock, clay and other minerals that make up soils. Levels of phosphorous in the soil can be between 100 to 3,000 pounds of total P per acre. Potassium exists in higher quantities of 10,000 to 50,000 pounds of total K per acre. These levels are substantial but plant available P and K are the important measures in crop production. Due to the buffering of the soil solution quantities of nutrient from these sources along with the associated fixation and release with fertilizer addition or crop removal does not affect soil test level on a 1:1 basis.

The buildup formulas for P and K fertilization found in the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Alfalfa give us some indication of the amount of fertilizer needed to change soil test levels 1 part per million (ppm) for both P and K.

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GM labeling Proposition 37 fails in California

By Matt Reese

After a hyped-up and expensive campaign in California, West Coast voters said “No” to the labeling of genetically modified crops by a surprising vote of 53% to 47% on Proposition 37.

The measure had substantial opposition from the agricultural community and ample initial support from California voters.

“It’s just awful in my opinion,” said Dean Kleckner, Truth About Trade and Technology Chairman Emeritus and former American Farm Bureau president. “It’s as though there’s something wrong with biotech. Seventy percent of the food that we buy in the supermarket in this country has some element of biotechnology in it — could be corn oil, could be soybean oil.”

Campaign spending on the measure totaled $54.5 million with the “No” campaign spending $45.6 million, and advocates spending $8.9 million. Monsanto Company spent the most on Prop. 37, with $8.112 million going to the “No” campaign and DuPont was second, giving the “No” side” $5.4 million.

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Controlled drainage paid off in 2012

By Matt Reese

The 100-bushel soybean yields at Louie Rehm’s Wayne County farm have been getting quite a bit of attention this fall for their performance above the ground, but that is largely due to what was happening below the ground. The big yields were boosted by the installation of a controlled drainage system this spring that provided the moisture the crop needed through the dry conditions this summer.

“The rest of our beans are running in the high 40s or low 50s — nothing like this field,” Rehm said. “This spring we tiled the field and we decided we wanted to install the blocks to hold back the

water. It really helped this year. Even in the drought this summer, the beans never wilted once because of the water they had in the soil where we blocked the tile. It was incredible. They just kept growing and growing.

“They held the water all summer.

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Farmland value and rent outlook

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, OSU Extension, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

Cropland values in Ohio have increased again in 2012. Data from the Oho Ag Statistics Service shows an increase of 13.6% for bare cropland in Ohio for 2012. According to their data, bare cropland averages $5,000 per acre, up from $4,400 per acre the previous year.

An OSU Extension survey conducted in December 2011 estimated that the increase in value of Western Ohio cropland in 2012 would be 7.5% to 9.1% depending on region and land class. The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank and Purdue University both conducted surveys in June 2012 and found that cropland values in Indiana had appreciated 10% to 18.1% from one year ago.

Crop profitability prospects were positive in 2011 as they have been for the most part since 2007. Profit margins in 2012 were highly variable across Ohio due to moderate to severe drought.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – November 5th, 2012

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

WEEK ENDING SUNDAY NOVEMBER 4, 2012

The average temperature for the State was 39.5 degrees, 9.7 degrees below normal for the week ending Sunday, November 4, 2012.  Precipitation averaged 1.87 inches, 1.20 inches above normal.  There were 1 modified growing degree days, 40 days below normal.

Reporters rated 1.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, November 2, 2012.  Topsoil moisture was rated 2 percent very short, 8 percent short, 48 percent adequate, and 42 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS

The remnants of Hurricane Sandy blew through Ohio earlier in the week and produced a significant amount of precipitation.  Producers were able to get in some field work beforehand, including harvest of corn and soybeans, and fall tillage.  Afterwards, fields were too wet for any work to be done.  The rain helped restore topsoil moisture, and may have slightly improved subsoil moisture as well.

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Mark Thomas-November 5

“Things were rolling along nicely until we got rolled over backward by Hurricane Sandy. We got somewhere between seven and eight inches of rain up here.  Some guys got back in the fields on Sunday, but it is moving a little more mud and dirt than I’d like to right now.

“We did not get the snow. We stayed on the warmer side of the hurricane. We had a lot of wind. I was round-baling corn fodder on Thursday and Friday before the Hurricane with the air conditioner on. Then I hooked up the generator knowing we were going to lose power and we never lost it. The wind was relentless but we only had a few tree branches down. I saw some corn on the field edges go down, but nothing like what I thought it could be. I got a few more gray hairs worrying about it.

“We’re done with our first crop beans.

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Mark Dowden-November 5

“We’re getting close. I don’t know if we can finish up this week yet or not. Last week was a bust until Friday. We started Friday evening but it was pretty muddy. We had over two inches of rain and a tremendous amount of snow for the last week of October. It was completely white with snow one morning. Believe it or not, our corn stood right through the wind. Most of our corn that was still out was in rows going north and south and the wind went down the rows instead of crossways. We were sweating it, but the corn seemed to take it.

“We’ve got maybe 200 acres of corn left and about that same acreage on the beans. We’re averaging 58 bushels on the soybeans right now and 120 on the corn for everything we’ve got. Some of the better fields averaged pretty well. We had a 192- and a 187-bushel average.

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Billy Pontius-November 5

“We’re putting tile in right now. We got all of the fertilizer spread and field work is 98% done. We stayed pretty busy when we finished harvest. We kept going working ground and fixing things that we didn’t get a chance to work on last fall.

“It was nice getting done early so we can get all of this other work done before winter. We were out of the fields for five or six days. It is still damp on top, but we’re back at it now. We still have no water running though our tiles whatsoever. It is going to take some serious precipitation this winter to get our water table back up.

Some of the creeks are still pretty dry. When you dig down about six inches it is dry and we’re going to need moisture before next year. It is still really dry underneath.

“We’re waiting for these markets to pick back up so we can haul some grain into town.

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Jim Herring-November 5

“We’re just starting today for the first time in about 10 days. It is still plenty muddy, but with a good week we should be able to finish up with the corn. We got plenty of wind but it didn’t seem to knock the corn down. We got a couple of inches of rain and it really soaked things. We also had about an inch or so of snow that covered the ground and it left things pretty sloppy.

We finished up the beans a couple of weeks ago and we have about 300 acres of corn to go. We should be able to finish this week. Yields for the corn really depend on the soil types. I’m in some hilly ground now where the drought really took its toll. I had a field go 292 bushels wet and 270 something dry in Marion County on some good ground where we had a little more rain.

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Fall populations of soybean aphids non-existent

By Ron Hammond, Andy Michel, Ohio State University entomologists

As anticipated, soybean aphids were at extremely low levels in 2012. Indeed, most growers saw no aphids at all. We have been sampling buckthorn in the fall of 2012 to determine the overwintering levels of the soybean aphid. These observations are to determine if we can make a prediction as to the potential for problems in 2013.

Normally in late summer of a low aphid year we would expect an increase in aphid numbers and a move to buckthorn in the fall. However, we have seen no soybean aphids, either individuals or eggs, on any of the buckthorn that we have sampled throughout the state. The lack of aphids is also the norm across the Midwest. Thus, at this time, we are holding off any predictions for this coming summer although the possibility exists that next year might break the two-year low/high aphid cycle. 

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2012 weed review

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

While crops struggled in the dry weather this year, many weeds did just fine as herbicide efficacy was hit and miss. There were a few specific weed issues during the 2012 growing season.

Volunteer corn

There was quite a bit of volunteer corn in soybean fields this year. Growers seem to have this issue show up in mid to late season because they fail to add a post emergence grass herbicide (Select, Fusion, etc.) to the first post emergence glyphosate application in RR soybeans. The thing to remember here is that the corn is usually there at the time of the first POST, and it is a weed in soybeans, so it should be removed then. It is also necessary to add crop oil concentrate to mixtures of glyphosate with clethodim (Select, Section, etc.) unless using Select Max. This goes against the basic principle of not using crop oil concentrate with glyphosate, but it is important.

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Seed costs on the rise for 2013

Farmers will pay significantly more for the seed they’ll plant in 2013 but make up for it with higher returns on their investment, predicts a Purdue University agricultural economist.

Prices for corn seed are expected to rise 5 to 7%, 7 to 10% for soybean seed and more than 10% for wheat seed, said Alan Miller, a farm business management specialist.

That would mean a bag of corn seed would sell for between just under $200 to more than $300, depending on whether it is a conventional or biotech variety. Soybean seed would go for about $50 a bag, with wheat seed priced in the low $20s per bag.

“Seed supplies could be tight,” Miller said. “This is especially a concern with soybeans, because farmers might surprise the seed industry by deciding to switch to planting more beans next spring.”

He urged farmers to place their orders with seed dealers in the next few weeks.

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Ohio efforts taking “home-grown” energy to new levels

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

We may not be seeing flying cars available to the public this far into the 21st century, as many had hoped, but the way these hum drum cars with four tires are fueled is changing dramatically, and it is thanks in large part to Ohio corn growers.

The creative minds at Battelle, a company that bases its headquarters in Columbus, are working with Ohio farmers to take a new approach to biofuels by gathering corn stover and other byproducts and turning them into fuel.

“We’re taking biomass and thermo chemically treating it and producing a bio-oil and then taking that oil to make gasoline, diesel, kerosene or any type of transportation type fuel,” said Stephanie Flamberg, Battelle’s Technology Leader for Energy Systems and Carbon Management.

One of the few similarities of what Flamberg is taking on in her lab and the process of producing cellulosic ethanol is the feedstock material used.

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Palmer amaranth spreading to the west

Thus far, the much-feared Palmer amaranth has been found only in one field in Ohio and is being closely monitored. Unfortunately, though, the weed has become more prolific for Ohio western neighbor.

Populations of the fast-spreading Palmer amaranth weed have been confirmed in five counties in northwestern Indiana, said Travis Legleiter, a Purdue weed science program specialist Purdue Extension weed specialist. At least 50 corn and soybean fields of Jasper, Newton, Pulaski, LaPorte and Cass counties have verified infestations.

Palmer amaranth is a green, flowering plant that has caused widespread damage in cotton production in southern states. Most populations are glyphosate-resistant, and the weed thrives in summer heat, can grow upwards of two inches per day and reach heights greater than 7 feet.

Legleiter said the rapid growth and general hardiness of the weed makes it a problem in corn and soybean fields.

“Palmer amaranth’s competitiveness is what makes it a concern for us,” he said.

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Tips for fall soil fertility and sampling

By Jeff Rectenwald, Asgrow Dekalb technical agronomist

Soil fertility is one of the foundations for high yield potential and is necessary for maintaining plant health and integrity. Particularly after a challenging year like 2012, post-harvest is a good time for soil testing and fertilizing for the immobile nutrients phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Appropriate pH levels, as well as adequate P and K are keys to help maximize yield potential for 2013 and beyond.

Soil tests

Soil tests are recommended at least every 4 years. If there is concern about fertility, take soil tests to aid with nutrient management decisions. Key items to consider when soil sampling are timing, depth, and tillage systems. To increase consistency, sample fields the same time each year (similar soil environment in terms of moisture content relative to the time of the growing season), ideally after harvest and before the ground freezes. Take soil cores of the top 6 to 7 inches.

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