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Crops



Mark Thomas, Stark County, April 23

“There are guys that have a lot of planting done, some are done planting. There are some people who have not started yet. Last year we planted corn on June 5 and it still made 198-bushel corn at 18% moisture. So, some guys are being cautious. There are no fields of corn or beans out of the ground yet. A friend of mine planted sweet corn early and it all got frosted off. The earliest corn I saw planted up our way was 10 days ago.

“I have not planted yet. I was hoping to make hay today and tomorrow and then plant, but the hay is really not going anywhere right now in this cold weather. We are ready for more warm weather.

“A guy cut hay last week, but it is just not growing right now. As soon as we know we’re in the clear with snowfall, we’re going to go. 

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Billy Pontius, Fairfield County, April 23

“It is a little colder than I want it, but I have had corn in colder situations and it was alright. The corn I planted on April 5 is up, which is probably 200 acres. This rain couldn’t have come any better because this corn couldn’t have come through the ground because it was so hard. We still are a little drier than I want, but the nice slow rains are much better than the two-inch rains in 10 minutes we got last spring. It is not washing anything out and there is no ponding water.

“We are done planting corn. It all went in beautifully. The ground temperature got up really warm and there was moisture there for the seed to germinate. The cold doesn’t bother me because it is not soaking wet.

“A few years ago we finished on April 22 which was the earliest we have ever planted all the corn and this year we finished on April 20.

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Mark Dowden, Champaign and Logan Counties, April 23

“The first of our corn is just kind of spiking up on around 400 acres. We have our corn all planted. We’re better than half way through our soybeans. We have corn up and we have beans up. We finished planting the corn last Wednesday.  We finished in the afternoon then switched over to planting beans later that evening. We planted all day Friday, then, until it rained us out. We got a half-inch then and we had gotten a half-inch the weekend before. If it had been warm, that moisture would not have lasted us long.

“We’re probably not going to be able to get back to planting because it is so cold, it is not drying things out. The coldest I have seen is 38 degrees this morning at 5:30 a.m. I was going to see if I could spray, but it was already too windy. I just don’t think it will frost.

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Farm groups weigh in as Senate marks up Farm Bill

In a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), a group of eight prominent agricultural associations voiced its support for the Senate’s approach to the 2012 Farm Bill, and raised several issues related to commodity and risk management programs.

Co-signed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Sunflower Association, U.S. Canola Association and USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, the letter commended the committee for adhering to its original proposal of $23 billion in deficit reduction, brought forth to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction last fall. Additionally, the groups applauded the Committee’s decision not to restructure the federal crop insurance program or to reduce its funding for deficit reduction purposes.

“Even with the clear and real need to reduce our federal deficit, it remains in the best interest of our nation to help ensure a basic level of risk management for farmers and our food supply,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.

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Concerns raised with HR 3798

During a briefing hosted by Congressmen Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), congressional staff learned about multiple voluntary, producer-led animal care programs and about the concerns farmers and ranchers have with legislation introduced in the House that would codify an agreement between the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP) to seek federally mandated production practices for the egg industry. 

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander joined Amon Baer, an egg farmer from Minnesota; Betsy Flores, director of regulatory affairs for the National Milk Producers Federation; and Bill Luckey, a hog producer from Nebraska on a panel to explain how they care for their livestock and poultry. Each speaker raised serious concerns that H.R. 3798’s one-size-fits all approach to animal agriculture won’t work.

“No two farms or ranches are the same. What works for my neighbor may not work for me because all farmers and ranchers have to adapt to meet the needs of their animals, to comply with regulations and, ultimately, to satisfy consumer demand,” Alexander said.

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What’s the hurry to plant soybeans?

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

The potential benefit of yield gain, when planting soybeans early, needs to be weighed with the potential risks. That is the advice from Jeff Rectenwald, territory agronomist with DEKALB Asgrow. Although, he says it is a very hard message to get across when an early planting opportunity like what Ohio is seeing this year presents itself.

“The comment I get from most growers is that the ground is fit and the conditions are good,” Rectenwald said. “When growers tell themselves that, they keep going.”

That may not be technical or scientific reasoning, but that is why many Ohio farmers that have finished up planting the 2012 corn crop have moved right along to planting beans.

So what are the risks?

Rectenwald says when planting early, delayed emergence may occur given the cooler soil temperatures. Although the ideal soil temperature for soybean is 77 degrees, soybean can germinate when the soil temperature is about 50 degrees at 2 inches.

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Wheat growth stage and foliar fungicide applications

By Pierce Paul, Jorge David Salgado, Ohio State University Extension

Cool conditions over the last few weeks have slowed the wheat down considerably, however, the development of the crop is still about a week or two ahead of what is considered to be normal in Ohio at this time of year. Current growth stages range from Feekes 6, jointing, to Feekes 8, flag leaf emergence.

However, the different between these growth stages cannot be determined just by looking at the height of the crop from the road, since relatively low temperatures and dry conditions may have prevented some varieties from reaching the height that is expected when the crop is between at Feekes GS 6 and 8.

Remember, short-looking wheat does not mean that the crop is not developing and advancing through the different growth stages. Growers who rely on the height of the crop as an indicator of crop development may miss Feekes GS 6, a critical growth stage for herbicide application, and Feekes 8, a critical stage for managing foliar diseases with fungicides.

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Ohio Crop Progress Report – April 17th

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 48.2 degrees, 0.1 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, April 15, 2012. Precipitation
averaged 0.49 inches, 0.40 inches below normal. There were 41 modified growing degree days, 1 day above normal.

Reporters rated 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, April 13, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 2
percent very short, 17 percent short, 73 percent adequate, and 8 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY APRIL 15th 2012

Temperatures for the State were slightly above normal for the week, with the exception of 2-3 nights below freezing; and precipitation
for the State was below normal. Freezing night temperatures recorded throughout the state may negatively impact this year’s apples, peach, and alfalfa hay crops. Other field activities for the week include field application of fertilizers and manure, tilling ground, planting corn and soybeans, and protecting fruit crops from freezing temperatures.

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White mold resources

A new online resource called WhiteMoldInfo.com is now available for soybean growers seeking timely information and disease prevention strategies to stay one step ahead of white mold this year.

Developed by MANA Crop Protection, growers can utilize this exclusive online resource and enroll for Soybean White Mold Weekly Updates by accessing URL address http://whitemoldinfo.com/, or by simply typing whitemoldinfo.com into their Internet browser.

Dave Feist, Project Development Leader for MANA Crop Protection, said the new online resource was created to deliver highly relevant information to soybean growers seeking disease management insight behind the complexities of white mold.

“Growers who have soybean in high alert areas for white mold are encouraged to utilize the information to gain an understanding of the disease’s profile and proliferation trends, ways to minimize spreading between fields, evaluate its economic impact on yields, and learn preventative approaches to minimize risk,” he said. “Also, growers can opt to receive a weekly email update which will give additional insights during the season, along with regional planting progress and outbreak reports.”

Growers who access the online resource and subscribe to Soybean White Mold Weekly Updates can expect to receive reports beginning in early May and continuing through June.

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Soybean population considerations

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

There are several factors that affect soybean populations. Soybean plants have a great flexibility to adjust to plant populations. Unlike corn plants, soybeans have a tremendous ability to adjust to variations in population density. Soybean plants adjust by producing more branches per plant, and by increasing or decreasing the number of pods on both the main stem and branches.

Depending on the variety, each plant uses about 6 to 10 inches of space in all directions. There is little change in size of the beans and in number of beans per pod. If the population is too thick, plants will grow taller, pods are placed higher and there will be fewer pods on individual plants with fewer branches. Taller varieties will yield less if there are too many plants.

For double cropping, seeding rate should be increased following wheat because establishing stand may be more difficult.

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Corn seeding depth more important in dry conditions

 

Corn seeding depth can play an important role in plant germination and could become even more vital if soils remain dry in the coming weeks, says a Purdue Extension agronomist.

 

Soil moisture levels and uniformity at planting depth can determine how rapidly and uniformly seeds germinate and eventually emerge. Even so, farmers often are content to leave planters set to the same seeding depth as the previous year — something Bob Nielsen said they might want to reconsider.

 

“Many agronomists agree that a seeding depth of 1.5 to 2 inches is a fairly all-purpose range that works well in most situations,” he said. “However, certain conditions merit consideration of changing seeding depth, the most common of which is soil moisture at seed depth.”

 

The recent warm, mostly dry weather have helped farmers to complete tillage and herbicide, nitrogen and fertilizer applications, and have sparked optimism about a rapid planting season.

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Assessing frost injury in corn

By Mike Kavanaugh, AgriGold Agronomy Manager

 

As the first significant cold front of the 2012 growing season passes through, many

questions are arising concerning the fate of planted corn in the case of near or below freezing temperatures. With such a warm, early spring, many acres have been planted throughout the central and southern Corn Belt.

The key through the frost evaluation process is to understand the growth pattern of these small corn plants and give it at least a week for proper evaluation. Obviously, the bigger the corn is, the more susceptible it is to freeze injury. This is true because the depth of the growing point becomes shallower within the soil surface as the plant continues to grow. Keep in mind that the growing point or crown is located at approximately .75-inch below the soil surface, providing that planting depth itself was below 3/4 inch. The growing point does not actually reach the soil surface until the plant reaches the V5-V6 growth stage.

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Tight corn stocks pushing wheat as feed

The 2011/12 marketing year will end May 31, a point at which most analysts expect the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make only minor changes to its year-end supply and demand estimates. USDA did make mostly small changes to wheat production, world trade and beginning stocks estimates in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report released April 10. However, USDA sharply increased projections of wheat used for feed. Generally, a spike in feed use would indicate quality issues, but other market factors are driving the feed wheat use higher than ever this year.

Driving feed wheat demand is the very tight supply of corn. Despite five consecutive years of record corn production, projected 2011/12 world ending stocks are 2% lower than last year and 7% lower than the five-year average. USDA currently projects U.S. ending corn stocks down 29% in 2011/12 to 20.3 million metric tons (MMT), 46% below the five-year average of 37.8 MMT.

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Will there be a soybean aphid problem in 2012?

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, OSU Extension entomologists

We had reported the lack of eggs at most buckthorn sites last fall, but we did find lots of eggs on buckthorn at Mirror Lake on the OSU Campus in Columbus.  We sampled these various sites  over the past few weeks and did not find any aphids following the leafing-out of the buckthorn, including the Mirror Lake buckthorn where masses of eggs were found.

However, in looking at the eggs that were still there, it was observed that the eggs, while still present, were all shriveled. Having talked with people more in the know, these eggs were perhaps not fertilized last fall, maybe from a lack of males.

Based on these observations and past history, we predict that Ohio, and only speaking for Ohio, will experience a “low aphid” year.  We expect aphids to be hard to find through most of the summer, and will only rise in numbers in late summer/early fall prior to migrating to buckthorn. 

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Soybeans now driving market dynamics

A new report on world agricultural supply and demand estimates issued today by the Agriculture Department is setting up what could be an interesting new crop market dynamic, according to economic analysis from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The WASDE report was largely unchanged on the corn and feedgrain side and was generally viewed as neutral, but on the soybean side, supply estimates were reduced and U.S. exports increased to help make up for smaller South American crops, according to AFBF Economist Todd Davis.

“We are looking at a situation where soybeans, rather than corn, could very well become the market leader in the U.S. grain and oilseed complex,” Davis said. “Typically, corn prices usually help drive the market prices for the other grain and oilseed commodities, but given what we now know, soybeans are ready to move to the forefront.”

Davis explained that the report, coupled with prospective planting estimates from late March, indicate the United States is in rebuilding mode in regard to the nation’s corn supply, as U.S.

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OCWGA sets sights on a bright future

A conversation with Tadd Nicholson, the new executive director of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA).

 

A conversation with Tadd Nicholson, executive director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association

OCJ: How do you see OCWGA evolving in the next few years to better serve Ohio’s grain farmers?

Tadd: As the industry organization for corn and wheat farmers, OCWGA is counted on to head off problems and create new opportunities for grain farmers. To accomplish this we will need to become even more proactive and visionary in our work. We will need to become creative in the ways we arm our members with information and tools to better represent themselves and our industry as a whole on very complex issues.

 

OCJ: Ohio’s grain farmers are facing a number of crucial challenges right now, including the battle over ethanol and the RFS. What are the key points corn growers need to remember on this issue and how will OCWGA be involved in this debate moving forward?

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Fear of frost looms large for fruit and veggie growers

Ohio fruit and vegetable crops are at risk for freeze or frost injuries, but according to an Ohio State University horticulture specialist, growers do have some options to protect them.

An extended period of unseasonably warm weather in March led vegetation to reach growth stages more than a month earlier than normal.

From row covers to wind turbines, growers are weighing their options because they still have several weeks to deal with the potential of a frost or freeze event. Fruit crops are in various stages of bloom and freezing temperatures are a concern, said Brad Bergefurd, noting that the temperature at which fruit buds are injured depends primarily on their stage of development.

“One really cold night could do many growers in,” Bergefurd said. “A lot of our fruit growers aren’t sleeping well and are a little edgy until we get through April and through the bloom period.

“Being as far advanced as we are now in the growing stages, the potential for freeze injury exists, which could result in misshapen fruit or low-quality fruit or the total death of the blossom.

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Spring insects of concern

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, OSU Extension entomologists

Black cutworm – We have had heavier weed growth because of earlier warm weather, especially chickweed growth.With this extra growth comes the potential for greater black cutworms problems. Added to this is that adult cutworms are already being collected in the Midwest. When corn gets planted and starts to emerge, cutworms might already be at damaging stages. Thus, there is a greater need to pay extra attention in those fields conducive to cutworms problems, namely no-till and/or weedy fields.

Slugs – Warmer weather and soil temperatures will be causing slugs to hatch earlier and will result in slugs beginning their heavier feeding earlier. If planting times are normal, slugs will be a bigger and larger threat than normal. If planting early, perhaps the slug feeding will be more similar to normal conditions. If planting is late, slugs will be relatively larger and capable of even heavier feeding.

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USDA reports put corn on the defensive

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile 

The monthly supply and demand report on April 10 estimated corn ending stocks at 801 million bushels. That is unchanged from last month. The trade was looking for a drop to 721 million bushels. Soybean ending stocks dropped to 250 million bushels, down from last months 275 million bushels. Both soybean exports and crush were increased with the April report.

The trade is pretty disappointed with the corn numbers. With the lower than expected March 1 stocks that came out on March 30, traders were looking for higher numbers fed to livestock. China is probably getting ready to send their “thank you” note to USDA for not changing the ending stocks number, effectively stalling the corn rally at this time. Some are already suggesting July corn could trade back down to the $6.20 level after reaching $6.59 ¾ following the bullish March 30 stocks report.

Early grain calls following today’s report have corn and wheat 5-7 cents lower, with soybeans 3-5 cents higher.

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