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Armyworm issues

By Ron Hammond, Andy Michel

A few weeks ago we mentioned reports of armyworms in forages and the need for growers to check their stands for signs of insect feeding.  Over the past week or so, this concern has grown considerable, and problems are occurring in rangelands, forages, cover crops including rye, and wheat fields. Not only is Ohio experiencing problems, but numerous Midwest states are reporting similar instances of large numbers of armyworms feeding in fields, especially in newer plantings. An excellent article on the problem is available at the Kentucky Pest News site that was written by our colleague, Doug Johnson, that discusses the problem and answers various questions (http://www.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/plantpathology/extension/kpn/current.html). Until we get a few hard freezes, expect much of this feeding to continue. Make special note of whether armyworm feeding is killing off pasture or forages, or any newly sown planting.  Those plants might still be alive and continue to grow.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – October 9th, 2012

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY OCTOBER 7, 2012

Wet field conditions has limited planting, and subsequent emersion of winter wheat. In addition, the progress of the corn and soybean harvests has slowed due to rain.

As of Sunday October 7th, eighty-two percent of corn was mature, which was 47 percent ahead of last year and 11 percent ahead of the five-year average. Twenty-two percent of the corn was harvested for grain, ahead of last year by 18 percent and the five-year average by five percent. Sixty-eight percent of soybeans were mature, 43 percent ahead of last year and identical to the five-year average. Soybeans harvested were rated at 23 percent, compared to two percent last year and 30 percent for the five-year average. Winter wheat planted was rated at 19 percent, compared to four percent last year and 32 percent for the five-year average. Winter wheat emerged was rated at two percent, one percent ahead of last year, but four percent behind the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Closing the books on a tough 2012

By Kevin Cool, CCA, Beck’s Hybrids

We can finally begin to put 2012 to a close and look ahead to 2013. The drought of 2012 has raised several questions about possible management decisions for 2013 so let’s take a closer look at some of those questions.

One hot topic has been fertility for the 2013 crop. With lower than average yields in 2012, many growers have asked if they can cut back their fertilizer program for next year. It is true that with lower yields less fertilizer was removed from the field. For a farmer that applies fertilizer based solely off of crop removal, in theory less P and K could be applied this year and maintain current soil fertility. I recommend this only be done with VRT fertilizer maps utilizing yield data since there is variable nutrient removal and yield throughout the field.

For most, however, I would suggest that they continue with their normal fertilizer program and use this as an opportunity to build soil fertility levels.… Continue reading

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Mark Dowden-October 8th

“In the last two weeks we’ve had quite a bit of rain and we’ve been out of the fields. Just on Friday afternoon we got an inch.

“We’re about halfway through the corn. We’ve had field averages of 75 bushels to 180 bushels and we’ve had a wide spectrum of everything in between. I don’t think the heat hurt us as bad as the lack of water. The final average will probably be in the 115- to 120-bushel range, but we’re getting into our better ground. We’ve run all of our worst stuff so far.

“The corn looked rough and we wanted to get it out before it fell down. We have seen some ear drop. One of the neighbors was talking about problems with ear drop based on a couple of hybrids. You can pick out the refuge corn pretty easily in our fields. There are lower yields and more dropped ears.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius-October 8th

Harvest is progressing quickly despite the rains.

“We’re just trying to get these beans off. We have probably 500 acres of beans left to run and probably 175 acres of corn. Corn yields have stayed right around 100- and 110- bushel range and beans have been right around 50 bushels.

“I am really pleased with my beans, but the beans died off early then started to green back up when it started raining. There are some beans shattering on the hills, but it hasn’t been as bad as I thought. I got a lot of my early beans off. I think the later beans will be right there around 50 bushels for an average too. I have had beans at 60 bushels but I also had some at 40 bushels.

“Some of the later corn is still a little wet, so we are going to finish up the beans and then finish the corn.… Continue reading

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Mark Thomas-October 8th

“Silage is done, fifth cutting hay is done and we got a heck of a frost this morning. We have about half of our wheat planted. We would like to get a bunch more beans off, but we have not had the weather. We’ve had plenty of rain the last couple of weeks that we could have used this summer. There are still green spots out in the bean fields. The beans we have run are wetter than we’d like.

“We have not yet shelled any corn. From everything I’ve heard, corn is 20% to 30% moisture with more guys in the upper 20s than lower 20s. The ears are still hanging on there so we’ll let nature take its course here and dry things down. If I see ears getting loose, we will get started, but it looks OK so far.

“Sand and gravel hillsides are producing beans in the 30-bushel range.… Continue reading

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Jim Herring-October 8th

“There are some surprising yields out there, but inconsistent is the word for the corn. It is all over the board. Even on every round we’re seeing numbers from one end to the other. The averages on corn are certainly down compared to beans. I took my worst field off and it was 100 bushels. Some of the better fields have averaged 180.

“We ran our National Corn Growers Association contest corn and 289.67 bushels and 282.51 are the two numbers I posted. The plots ranged from 240 to 290 dry, they were more than 300 bushels wet. Those were weighed, measured and certified by the NCGA. It was definitely accurate. If someone told me a month ago that we would have 180 bushel corn, I would have believed them — but not 100 bushels more than that.

“In the soybean contest plots, we posted a 77- and a 70-bushel yield and we haven’t run our best beans yet.… Continue reading

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Strong corn crop in China

The U.S. Grains Council 2012 China Corn Harvest Tour projects another good Chinese corn crop, driven both by higher yields and an increase in planted acreage. Persistent reports of weather and pest problems in some areas this summer, plus recent typhoon impacts in northeastern China, had raised concern about potentially significant yield reductions. The Council’s survey, however, suggests that the impact of these events is relatively small. While the final harvest will fall short of best-case expectations, it will be another record year for China corn.

“The U.S. drought and short 2012 crop is pressuring buyers in all sectors,” said USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight. “But corn trades in a global system, and the safety net is the capacity of other producers to step up.

“The United States is by far the world’s largest corn producer and exporter, but in a tough year for U.S. corn, it is a relief that the world’s number two producer is having a good year.… Continue reading

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USDA releases results of the 2011 certified organic production survey

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-certified organic growers in the United States sold more than $3.5 billion organically grown agricultural commodities in 2011, according to the results of the 2011 Certified Organic Production Survey, released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS conducted the survey for USDA’s Risk Management Agency to help refine federal crop insurance products for organic producers.

“This is the first time we have conducted a survey focused solely on the USDA-certified organic producers,” said Hubert Hamer, Chairperson of NASS’s Agricultural Statistics Board. “With this survey’s results, policymakers will be able to better assess the Federal Crop Insurance program and its impact on the organic industry.”

Mirroring its conventional counterpart, corn leads organic field crops in sales and accounted for more than $101.5 million in 2011. The only other field crops to have more than $50 million in sales were alfalfa dry hay and winter wheat, accounting for $69.5 million and $54 million in sales respectively.… Continue reading

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Aquaculture supporting soy demand in Pakistan

An innovative Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)-funded program in Pakistan is not only improving local diets, but is creating jobs, training workers and helping create a thriving aquaculture industry with U.S. soy.

The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program began a three-year program last September called “FEEDing Pakistan.” ASA/WISHH is collaborating with the Pakistan Fisheries Development Board on portions of the program, which aims to enhance the country’s growing aquaculture sector through trial fish feeding using high–protein, floating fish feed produced from U.S. soybean meal. The program also provides valuable training to fish farmers, including those in rural areas.

Mohammed, a 23-year-old from a village in the Punjab province of Pakistan, was hired to serve as a FEEDing Pakistan field research officer for one of the program’s tilapia feeding trials. Mohammed was the only member of his family — and one of the few from his village —  to attend high school and college.… Continue reading

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International grain customers watching short crop closely

Despite an expected lower crop this year, the United States remains open for business to international customers. The U.S. Grains Council understands the challenges faced by international customers due to the short crop and is working aggressively to help customers through a challenging year.

According to Daniel O’Brien, an extension agricultural economist with Kansas State University, “it is likely that grain buyers will weigh the net cost of grain buying plus logistical procurement costs across a full spectrum of grains they could buy to accomplish their goals,” whether that is for feeding livestock, food use or building up grain stocks. As for strategies for buyers to lower costs, the options are relatively few — simply because grain futures and markets have already adjusted to the expected smaller U.S. corn crop.

Darrel Good, an economist at the University of Illinois, said buyers can work to reduce the quantity of grains they may need at this time by purchasing substitutes, operating more efficiently or by scaling back.… Continue reading

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Controlling volunteer corn before wheat

The relatively early beginning to corn harvest provided a good environment for the emergence of volunteer corn, said University of Illinois associate professor of weed science Aaron Hager.

“Emerged volunteer corn at this time of year is normally not a problem because the plants will winterkill,” Hager said. “However, if a killing frost does not occur soon, these volunteer plants could be an impediment to farmers who would like to sow wheat this fall.”

To provide a better environment for small grain establishment, volunteer corn plants should be controlled before sowing. Preplant tillage is effective, but what about using a herbicide to control established plants?

Glyphosate is very effective for controlling existing stands of sensitive corn. There is no waiting interval between application and sowing small grains, but overall control may be improved if at least 24 hours elapse between application and replanting.

Glyphosate will not control glyphosate-resistant volunteer corn. Alternative herbicides such as Gramoxone SL can be used.… Continue reading

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2012 tough on apples (and apple growers)

By Matt Reese

Eating an apple a day can keep the doctor away, but growing apples can be hard on your health, especially in a year like 2012.

It was a stressful year for apple producers in many orchards in the eastern U.S., including Sage’s Apples in Geauga County, just a few miles south of Lake Erie.

“Normally Lake Erie is frozen and that usually holds the warm weather back for us in the spring,” said Bob Sage, who runs the business with his brother, John, and son Ben. “This year the Lake never froze all winter and, because of that, we warmed up when everyone else did. That was about two weeks early.”

The early warm weather pushed the apple blossoms that suffered from spring frosts, leaving apple growers to stress over whether their crop was done before it even got started. Fortunately for Sage’s Apples, things turned out better than initially expected.… Continue reading

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Watch out for shattering soybeans

By Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension soybean specialist

The extreme weather conditions this growing season are affecting soybean harvest. Soybean plants are shorter than normal resulting in pods that are closer to the ground. Additionally, some Ohio growers are also noticing soybean pod shattering during harvest.

Shattering is more likely to occur when pods are formed under drought conditions and re-wet later in the season. Short plants and shattering pods can increase harvest losses.

Four soybean seeds per square foot is approximately one bushel per acre yield loss. We found incidents of approximately 8 to 12 seeds per square foot (a 2 to 3 bushel per acre loss). Little can be done to prevent soybeans from shattering, but Iowa State University Extension offers some advice for harvesting shorter than normal soybeans at: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/CropNews/2012/0808hanna.htm .… Continue reading

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USDA grants support specialty crop producers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $101 million in grants to support America’s specialty crops producers, who provide the fruits, vegetables, nuts and other nutritious foods for millions of healthy American meals each day. Approximately $55 million of the total will be invested in 56 specialty crop block grants to states that fund 748 initiatives across the country to strengthen markets and expand economic opportunities for local and regional producers. An additional $46 million will go to support new and continuing research and extension activities to address challenges and opportunities for growers and businesses that rely on a sustainable, profitable specialty crops industry. Vilsack made the announcement before touring the Catholic Multicultural Center in Madison, Wis., which prepares food, including fresh fruit and vegetables, for delivery to local public schools.

Under Vilsack’s leadership, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has supported efforts to strengthen local and regional food systems for farmers of all types and sizes, helping them take advantage of new opportunities and succeed in today’s marketplace.… Continue reading

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Ear rots a health and harvest concern

By Matt Reese

There have been reports of farmers getting sick from cleaning combines without wearing dust masks. This could be linked to the inhalation of dust from a number of different ear rots that are being discovered in the Ohio corn crop.

Ear rots in fields can present health and safety issues during and following harvest. Corn harvest and grain handling become very important when ear rots are an issue.

AgriGold agronomist John Brien pointed out a number of potential ear rots in Ohio this fall to watch for in fields.

 

Fusarium kernel rot

Fusarium is caused by several different species of Fusarium and is the most common fungal disease on corn ears. The Fusarium pathogen overwinters very well on corn and grass residue and is more often seen in no-till, minimal-till and continuous corn fields. The Fusarium fungus thrives in environments that are hot and dry after pollination.… Continue reading

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Stocks report gives bulls reason to push prices higher

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

This morning was the quarterly grain stocks report issued by USDA. Corn and wheat stocks were lower than traders had expected, while soybean stocks were higher than expected. The report indicated that the Sept. 1 corn stocks were 988 million bushels, soybean stocks were 169 million bushels, and wheat stocks were 2.10 billion bushels.

Ten minutes after the report came out corn was trading up 18 cents, soybeans up 2 cents, and wheat was up 17 cents.  Just before the report came out at 8:30 a.m., corn was down 6 cents, soybeans were down 1 cent, with wheat down 2 cents.

Seeing the corn stocks below one billion bushels will help give the bulls some reason for corn to move higher from these levels. Soybeans have been hit hard the past four weeks as they have dropped over $2.20 from their contract highs on Sept. 4.… Continue reading

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Soybean farmers see work of the checkoff at home and abroad

From the use of biodiesel at a major U.S. airport to the use of soy oil for the baking and frying industry, soybean farmers from around the country witnessed first-hand some of the many ways soybeans are used during the United Soybean Board’s (USB’s) 2012 See for Yourself program.

Sponsored by the national soy checkoff, the fifth-annual program offered 10 farmer-participants from across the country the chance to tour a number of sites related to the checkoff’s objectives to improve the value of U.S. soy meal and oil; ensure the industry and its customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate; and meet the needs of U.S. soy customers.

“Common sense told me that a board made up of volunteer farmers would be frugal with their own checkoff dollars but it was great to learn more about how they invest the funds to maximize the benefit to soybean farmers,” said Jonathan Miller, a soybean farmer from Island, Kentucky.… Continue reading

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New drainage technology could address algae issues

A new field drainage technology could help reduce runoff from farm fields and reduce the risk of harmful algae blooms in Lake Erie and other Ohio lakes.

The system, called an Inline Water Level Control Structure, is designed to keep water and nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphorus, on the land where crops can use them, Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review organizers said.

Working with the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors Association (OLICA), two new water control structures were installed at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center during Farm Science Review. The new installations bring the total number of the systems in use there to eight, said Matt Sullivan, Farm Science Review assistant manager.

He said the Molly Caren site serves as a model for drainage technology. The new control structures are part of the site’s comprehensive water management plan.

“We call them nutrients in the fields, but it’s called pollution when it’s in the stream,” Sullivan said.… Continue reading

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Weed management important before wheat

Proper weed management is important for the success of winter crops after the fall harvest, a Purdue Extension weed specialist said.

While the drought has led to a harvest earlier than normal, that also means farmers can prepare fields for winter crops, such as wheat, earlier this year.

“Farmers looking to plant wheat in the next couple weeks, as long as the crops are off the field, are in good shape. Now’s a good time to control weeds,” Bill Johnson said.

Recent rain has helped weeds thrive, and farmers will need to do additional work to prepare their fields for their winter crops.

“The drought has made weed management very difficult, but as for this fall, we actually have pretty good soil moisture right now, and weeds are growing, so the weeds are fairly sensitive to herbicides,” he said.

Two herbicides safe to use before planting wheat are glyphosate and gramaxone.… Continue reading

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