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Nitrogen loss concerns

With a fresh memory of the drought conditions during last year, recent rains have reduced concerns over water availability for the start of the 2013 growing season, but at the same time, concerns over nitrogen loss have increased. Though nitrogen loss can be difficult to predict due to factors such as time of nitrogen application, type of nitrogen source, soil type and temperature, as well as the amount of precipitation received, Fabian Fernandez, a nutrient management extension specialist in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois, has offered information on nitrogen applications for the growing season.

Fernandez explained that most of the fall-applied nitrogen is either ammonium (NH4+) or a form that transforms rapidly into ammonium. Nitrification, or the conversion of ammonium to nitrate (NO3-), is a bacteria-mediated transformation.

Nitrifying bacteria activity is minimal at temperatures below 50ºF and occurs under aerobic conditions. Thus, the amount of nitrification that occurs in the soil is largely dependent on soil temperature and the time elapsed from application until the soil becomes saturated with water.… Continue reading

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Weather not the only factor encouraging soybean acres

As Mother Nature willingly took her dear old time breaking in to a true warming pattern, farmers unwillingly waited for the right time to start their 2013 planting season. For some, the rainy and chilly start to spring caused the contemplation of changing their planting strategy. That thought process recently might not be all due to the weather, tough, as the futures markets in Chicago have seen a soybean price that may pencil out a bit better than corn.

“Clearly beans have become a lot more attractive,” said Matt Roberts, Ohio State University ag economist. “We’ve continued to see strong demand and continued to see a disappointing ability to get beans out to the marketplace. So, we are seeing good prices that have changed those relative values.”

Soybeans have carried less of a downside risk for some time now due to the global demand being stronger over the past three to four years.… Continue reading

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Markets closely watching planting progress

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

This year’s corn will not need weeks of planting time. Many producers can plant all of their corn in 10 planting days or less.

Cold and wet — it’s been the talk of producers across Ohio and the Midwest since mid-April. Many were hoping to get ample moisture in the ground prior to planting following the drought disaster of 2012. Field conditions in Ohio were quite adequate for planting. However, the continued threat for both cold and wet conditions in April were huge barriers that kept planters in the shed. It was a condition many feared and wanted to stay away from. Corn planting is at its slowest start in nearly 30 years. For late April, the five-year average was 33% while the average from 1986-2012 was 26%. The planting progress report from April 29 had U.S. corn planted at just 5%. It was up just 1% from the previous week.… Continue reading

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Water Resources Development Act being considered by the Senate

U.S. farmers know how to produce a bountiful crop, and the country’s infrastructure can handle moving it relatively quickly — for now.

The system is aging and the rest of the world is gaining ground on the transportation infrastructure of the U.S.  For this reason, passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 (S. 601), is essential to America’s economic growth, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

In a joint letter with 20 other agricultural groups, AFBF told members of the Senate that passage of WRDA would authorize new projects for flood protection, port improvements and upgrades to the nation’s aging locks and dams infrastructure. It would also improve U.S. transportation capacity, relieve growing congestion on U.S. highways and foster a more competitive transportation system. The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in April.

“America’s inland waterways and ports long have provided U.S.… Continue reading

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Beating black cutworm to the punch

Spring has many great things to offer for Midwesterners. Some of the season’s traits are appreciated, like the warmer winds, fresh blooms and the promise of another chance for farmers to do what they love to do for another year. Other gifts aren’t such keepers, like a bit too much moisture and the return of many invasive pests that can take yield potential away from fields as soon as a plant breaks through.

One of those critters is the black cutworm, which is beginning to make its way into Ohio now.

“Black cutworm is considered an invasive species for our part of the country because, as moths, they fly our way from the central part of the U.S. every spring,” said Ron Hammond, Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science entomologist. “When it warms up fronts bring winds from the south and we are starting to see moths in Ohio this month.”

Black cutworms tend to be attracted to various weeds, mostly winter annuals and, to be more specific, chickweed.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – May 6th, 2013

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The weekly crop progress report for Ohio is courtesy of H.G. Violet Equipment.

Corn Planted = 7%

Soybeans Planted = 1%

There were four days suitable for field work in Ohio during the week ending May 5 according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Region. Temperatures were significantly above normal throughout the state, which, along with low precipitation, helped dry fields to the point that many farmers were able to make some progress in planting. Farmers are also spraying and working the ground in preparation for corn and soybean planting, which most farmers have not yet started. Planting of oats is moving quickly, with some farmers reporting 100% of planned acres planted. Due to the high amount of precipitation in previous weeks, winter wheat and pastures are looking healthy, but many reporters note that growth has been slow.

The Full NASS ReportContinue reading

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Plan for the future with planting

By Dave Nanda, Seed Consultants, Inc.

Farming requires a lot of patience as well as good judgment. The winners use good decision-making process in planning, get the seed in the ground when the weather permits and then try to plan for the future after getting the crops planted. After the 2013 crop is planted, it is important to plan for the future. We must learn about the job our planters did and fix any problems before storing them away. Keep the following points in mind:

• Early scouting of plant stands is very important to determine if the population and plant distribution is satisfactory. So head to the fields to assess how well your planter performed.

• Based upon your seeding rate goal and row width, determine what the distance between plants within a row should be. Check the stand in 1/1000th of an acre at several spots in each field.… Continue reading

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Corn planting window still wide open

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Ohio has only 7% of the corn in the ground as of May 5th. That number pales in comparison to this time last year, when well over three-fourths of the crop was planted and corn growers are now more than 30% behind the five-year average.

Just reading that first paragraph will raise anxiety and blood pressure for many Ohio producers, but agronomists are encouraging farmers to take a deep breath and don’t jump the gun when it comes to forcing corn planting issues or switching acres over to soybeans.

“We are getting right in to the optimal time for corn planting as the calendar turns to May,” said Scott Sooy, northern Ohio’s technical sales agronomist with DuPont Crop Protection. “I don’t think farmers have any reason to panic. If they take their time and pick out the dry fields first and do what they’re supposed to do, they will be just fine.”

Studies have shown that for every day past May 20 that corn is planted, a bushel of yield is lost.… Continue reading

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2013 Soybean Yield and Quality Contest

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) is announcing the launch of the state’s fourth Soybean Yield and Quality Contest for the 2013 growing season. Contestants must be current members of OSA and raise at least 10 acres of soybeans in Ohio. Those who are not currently OSA members may join when entering the contest. The entry fee is $100 and entrants may submit multiple entries in the contest.

The following companies will pay the entry fee for contestants that enter their varieties: Asgrow, Beck’s Hybrids, CROPLAN, DKG Seeds, LG Seeds, Powell Seeds, R Farm Seeds, Rupp Seeds, Schlessman Seed Company, Seed Consultants, Stewart Seeds, Stine Seed Company and Wellman Seeds.

Entrants can choose to enter one or more of four categories that include:

  • conventional tillage
  • no-till
  • non-GMO soybeans – conventional tillage
  • non-GMO soybeans – no-till

Developed to promote the importance of oil and protein, the quality contest is optional to enter. However, a farmer must enter the soybean yield contest in order to enter the soybean quality contest.… Continue reading

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Corn silage pricing resource

As the price of corn goes, so goes the price of corn silage. Knowing how the price of the former will affect the price of the latter can translate into extra dollars in the pockets of farmers.

Purdue Extension has a new publication to help dairy producers and corn silage growers determine those prices. Determining a Value for Corn Silage also contains an online Corn Silage Crop Calculator. The publication, AS-611-W, is free and available at https://mdc.itap.purdue.edu/item.asp?item_number=AS-611-W.

“Corn silage prices depend on the price of grain, and there can be a huge variation in prices,” said Tamilee Nennich, a Purdue Extension dairy cattle nutrition specialist and one of the publication’s authors. “There are a wide variety of strategies out there with which we can price corn silage.”

Corn silage, a forage consisting of corn grain and cornstalks harvested when the corn plant is still partially green, makes up about 30% of the dry matter in an average dairy cow’s diet.… Continue reading

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Tough spring for weed control

As rains continue to delay tillage, herbicide application and planting, weeds are becoming more of a concern. In some ways, the warm temperatures and soggy soils this week will only serve to amplify the problem, said Justin Petrosino, an agronomist for Stewart Seeds in Bowling Green.

“Thankfully growers have 2011 to look back on as a reference. Cooler temperatures have luckily left us with marestail that, before this week, hasn’t begun to bolt. With a week in the 70s and 80s this may start to happen,” Petrosino said. “In the fields this past week I’ve seen both common and giant ragweeds beginning to emerge along with lambsquarters. A few winter annuals and weeds like dandelions are getting pretty large and flowering making them tougher to control. Thankfully most of the spring emergers only have a few leaves out so they are still relatively easy to control. It is still early for waterhemp to emerge so fields in west central Ohio will still be able to hold waterhemp back with a residual if it is applied in the next week or two.… Continue reading

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Tips for Sharpen in spring burndown

With the continued wet weather the fields are growing hairier with hard to control weeds.  I have been getting a lot of questions about using Sharpen herbicide for burndown and eliminating 2-4,D because of the planting restriction associated with 2,4-D. Sharpen is a very strong burndown tool and expectations should be for good results if you follow the steps below and adhere to the guidelines.

Keep these points in mind for the optimum effectiveness when using Sharpen or any other Kixor brand (Optill, Optill Pro, Verdict):

1.    Sharpen will burndown small and large seeded broadleaves and give 2-3 weeks residual protection at the 1 fluid ounce per acre rate.

2.    There is no planting restriction for any brand that contains Kixor herbicide technology (i.e. Sharpen) for burndown and residual.  (Spray until crop emergence)

3.    It needs at a minimum of 1 pint of MSO/A to be effective or 1 gallon per 100 gallon of carrier especially on taller broadleaves burndown.… Continue reading

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Use tillage with care in wet spring soils

A Purdue Extension agronomist is urging corn farmers not to let planting anxiety drive them to fall for three common tillage temptations: too early, too wet, and too often.

Heavy rainfall and cool temperatures have delayed planting and tillage operations in Indiana and Ohio.

Farmers often become too eager during weather delays, which can lead to risky or unnecessary field operations, Tony Vyn said.

“A couple of weeks ago, we had a lot of growers out doing tillage well before they intended to plant,” he said. “The only time it’s appropriate to till early is if you plan to plant into a stale seedbed once the weather allows for planting.”

Instead, Vyn said corn growers should plan to postpone spring tillage until that field is within 24 hours of the intended planting time – especially in fine soils where the risk of erosion, gullies and soil crusting is highest.

Reasonably level fields with sandy and loam soils often are the best candidates for planting into a stale seedbed because soil crusting with intense rain is less likely.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – April 29th, 2013

There were two days suitable for field work in Ohio during the week ending April 28 according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Region. Continued rain and below normal temperatures kept field work to a minimum in many areas. For the most part, the April showers have greatly replenished soil moisture, and so far, there have been limited reports of flooding in wheat and hay fields. Many producers have continued planting oats, but are waiting for dry soil and warmer temperatures to begin planting corn. Oats are emerging at a slower rate than usual. Winter wheat looks good, although additional rain could adversely affect growth.

The complete NASS reportContinue reading

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Soggy fields slow planting progress

By Matt Reese

In some parts of the state, there are puddles aplenty in fields and field work of any kind has been mostly absent. Some farmers in parts of northern Ohio with heavy soils and downpours this spring have yet to turn a wheel. Further south, some of the hills and gravel-based soils have been planted for weeks, with crops in some fields starting to emerge. How is planting in your area?



The warmer days ahead will be needed to dry fields and push crops. Dave Nanda, Director of Genetics and Technology 
for Seed Consultants, Inc., noted the tremendous difference between 2012 and 2013.

“What a difference a year makes. By this time last year, many farmers were done with their corn planting. This year, many of us are still waiting to plant the first acre,” Nanda said. “However, it is important to be ready when the time comes.… Continue reading

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Food safety meeting

Produce growers and other interested parties from across Ohio can attend a listening session April 30 about the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed new food safety rules for produce.

“We encourage people to register in advance, but walk-ins are welcome,” said Ashley Kulhanek, an educator with Ohio State University Extension, which is the outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

In addition to growers who might be concerned about how the new rules will affect their farm operations, the session will be of interest to grocery store buyers and other wholesale buyers of fruits and vegetables, and anyone interested in farm practices that can decrease the risk of foodborne illness from fresh produce, she said.

A 2012 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention associated produce with 46 percent of all foodborne illnesses in the U.S. between 1998-2008.

The session will be 1-4 p.m.… Continue reading

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It’s prime time for scouting alfalfa

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Now is the time for growers throughout Ohio to start scouting for alfalfa weevil, according to entomologist Ron Hammond with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The pest, known to cause significant alfalfa damage in both its adult and larvae stages, typically starts showing up in southern Ohio first, slowly progressing its way to northern Ohio fields. This winter’s relatively warmer days have contributed to the pests’ damage potential.

“Now is the time that growers need to pay attention to their fields to ensure that alfalfa weevil isn’t rearing its ugly head,” he said. “This winter hasn’t been exceptionally cold since early December, which contributes to the potential for alfalfa weevil damage.

“We do have some areas that have outbreaks, so growers in southern Ohio should have already started checking their fields this past week, while central and northern Ohio growers should begin scouting now.”

Hammond recommends that growers scout with the bucket sampling method in which a series of 10-stem samples are randomly collected from various locations in a field.… Continue reading

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Has there been N loss in wheat?

By Ed Lentz and Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

Growers are concerned that they may have lost some of their nitrogen from the heavy rains that occurred after wheat topdress. Urea applications would unlikely have losses from these rains since N should be still in the ammonium form and held by the soil. The relatively cool temperatures over the past month would have also limited the conversion of ammonium to nitrate N.

Urea volatilization losses are generally minimal because of cooler temperature and frequency of rain events around topdress time. However, there was a time early in the month that conditions were abnormally hot and may have allowed volatilization losses. The weekend of April 5, conditions were dry in some parts of the state for about five days. If urea had been applied on the first or second day of that period, volatilization losses may have occurred when temperatures reached the upper 70s and low 80s during the latter part of that period before the heavy rains came the next day.… Continue reading

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