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USGC follows up on new FTAs

An elite U.S. Grains Council delegation met with key officials in Panama and Colombia since U.S. passage of the Colombia and Panama free trade agreements (FTA).

USGC Chairman Wendell Shauman, National Corn Growers Association Chairman Bart Schott, were accompanied by Council staff, Floyd Gaibler, director of trade policy, Chris Corry, director of international operations, and Kirk Schultz, regional director in Latin America. The team explored the outlook for FTA implementation with government officials in both countries, with private sector grain customers, and with U.S. ambassadors and USDA staff.

“The Council has been committed to regaining unfettered access to markets in both Panama and Colombia,” Shauman said. “The FTA will go far toward reversing trade flow of South American corn and soybeans moving into the Caribbean Basin.”

The group’s purpose was to see how far Panama and Columbia have gone on implementing the FTAs.

“In Colombia, we met with a couple of big conglomerates, and they are very excited about the new FTA.

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Ohio's Crop Progress Report – December 19th

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

WEEK ENDING SUNDAY DECEMBER 18th 2011

The average temperature for the State was 38.9 degrees, 6.6 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, December 18, 2011. There were 8 modified growing degree days, 5 days above normal. Reporters rated 2.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, December 16, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 17 percent adequate, and 83 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS

It was cold enough in the northern part of the state for the ground to freeze and for farmers to finish harvesting. However, it was still too wet in most parts of the state, and ten percent still remained unharvested. Pasture and winter wheat conditions continue to deteriorate due to the cool, wet conditions. As of Sunday December 18th, corn harvested for grain was 90 percent complete, compared to 100 percent last year and the five-year average.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – December 19th

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

WEEK ENDING SUNDAY DECEMBER 18th 2011

The average temperature for the State was 38.9 degrees, 6.6 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, December 18, 2011. There were 8 modified growing degree days, 5 days above normal. Reporters rated 2.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, December 16, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 17 percent adequate, and 83 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS

It was cold enough in the northern part of the state for the ground to freeze and for farmers to finish harvesting. However, it was still too wet in most parts of the state, and ten percent still remained unharvested. Pasture and winter wheat conditions continue to deteriorate due to the cool, wet conditions. As of Sunday December 18th, corn harvested for grain was 90 percent complete, compared to 100 percent last year and the five-year average.

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Low linolenic beans testing too high

By Matt Reese

Dean von Stein, from Hancock County, got an unpleasant surprise this fall when he hauled in some of his low linolenic soybeans to the elevator and they didn’t pass. Von Stein had taken every precaution and necessary step to properly produce and segregate the soybeans and could not figure out why they did not have a linolenic level less than 3% to meet the requirements for the premium.

“My other varieties passed, but then I took a load in that didn’t pass. Then another didn’t pass and I heard about others that didn’t pass in the area,” he said. “And, so far, I am not getting the 55-cent premium because the linolenic level was too high. We did everything in our power we could do and it ended up that about 5 or 6 of our semi loads didn’t pass.”

The only variety von Stein had problems with was a late season soybean that accounted for the majority of his low-lin production this past season.

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Research looks into medicinal compounds in plants

Scientists at Purdue University and eight other institutions have developed new resources poised to unlock another door in the hidden garden of medicinally important compounds found in plants.

The resources were developed by the Medicinal Plant Consortium, led by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. They grew out of a $6 million initiative from the National Institutes of Health to study how the genes of plants contribute to production of various chemical compounds, some of which are medicinally important.

Purdue professor of horticulture and landscape architecture Natalia Dudareva was part of the research team. Dudareva’s work included research on rosemary, a fragrant shrub often used in perfumes and cooking that produces a variety of pharmacologically active compounds.

“This grant allowed for the work of scientists from a number of different universities, with many different areas of expertise,” Dudareva said. “We hope the discovery of plant genes leads to new and more effective drugs.”

The project includes participants from Purdue, Michigan State University, Iowa State University, the University of Mississippi, Texas A&M University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Kentucky and the John Innes Institute in Norwich, England.

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Prices have downside potential

By Matt Reese

Prices have been strong but there is a lot of downside potential, according to Matt Roberts, Ohio State University agricultural economist.

“We have a supply driven market, not demand driven,” Roberts told attendees at the 2011 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium. “Crop carries are small, and we are not going to see the scramble for bushels next summer. I would be moving my old crop when opportunities arise. If you see $6.30 or $6.40 May Corn futures, take it.”

Ethanol use, feed use and exports have all declined in response to higher prices and global supplies. The lesson, especially for corn, is to take marketing opportunities when they present themselves, Roberts said.

“Next year if we have trend line yields of 161.3 bushels on the 94 million acres that a lot of people are talking about, we’ll get 13.9 billion bushels, which is a lot of corn,” he said.

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Research on rates of seed treatment

By Anne Dorrance and Clifton Martin, Ohio State University Extension

We evaluated the rate and efficacy of numerous seed treatments this past year. For the vast majority of these trials, there was no significant difference in 2011.

When we could get into the fields, conditions were typically very good with warm, dry soils. Our irrigated field study, at Northwest branch, showed resistance levels to P. sojae in the variety was the most important factor this year.   

We evaluated the 0.16, 0.32, and 0.64 fluid ounces per hundredweight of Apron XL on Sloan (moderate partial resistance), Conrad (high partial resistance) and Kottman (Rps1k, Rps3a plus high partial resistance).  Fungicides had no effect this year on early stand or yield at two locations (P>0.3). However, variety was highly significant (P<0.0001) for final yields. Yields of Kottman were greater than Conrad, which was greater than Sloan. Resistance to P. sojae provided from 30% to 65% more yield in the resistant varieties compared to the susceptible variety at these two locations in 2011. 

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Preparing for a tight spot

The Waldo Firefighters Association hosted a training program for its volunteer firefighters on a new Grain Rescue System. The system was purchased with help from a $2,500 donation through Monsanto Fund’s America’s Farmers Grow Communities, which gives farmers the opportunity to win $2,500 for their favorite local nonprofit organizations. This system uses four interlocking panels lowered in the grain surrounding an entrapment victim to help remove the grain, which releases the pressure being applied to the victim and creates a more secure area around the victim for the rescuers to work.

The donations are available through the Monsanto Fund. Susan Schweinfurth was the winning farmer for Marion County and chose to direct the $2,500 donation to The Waldo Firefighters Association.

 

 

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – December 12th

 

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

WEEK ENDING SUNDAY DECEMBER 11th 2011

The average temperature for the State was 33.9 degrees, 0.2 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, December 11, 2011. Precipitation averaged 1.64 inches, 0.94 inches above normal. There were 0 modified growing degree days, unchanged from normal.

 

Reporters rated 1.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, December 9, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 14 percent adequate, and 86 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS

Very few acres of corn were harvested due to excessive wet weather. Most farmers are now waiting for the ground to freeze in order to harvest the rest of the crop. As of Sunday December 11th, corn harvested for grain was 82 percent complete, compared to 100 percent last year and 99 percent for the five-year average.

CROP AND LIVESTOCK CONDITION

Livestock were 86 percent in fair-to-good condition, down two percent from last week.

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Ohio's Crop Progress Report – December 12th

 

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

WEEK ENDING SUNDAY DECEMBER 11th 2011

The average temperature for the State was 33.9 degrees, 0.2 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, December 11, 2011. Precipitation averaged 1.64 inches, 0.94 inches above normal. There were 0 modified growing degree days, unchanged from normal.

 

Reporters rated 1.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, December 9, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 14 percent adequate, and 86 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS

Very few acres of corn were harvested due to excessive wet weather. Most farmers are now waiting for the ground to freeze in order to harvest the rest of the crop. As of Sunday December 11th, corn harvested for grain was 82 percent complete, compared to 100 percent last year and 99 percent for the five-year average.

CROP AND LIVESTOCK CONDITION

Livestock were 86 percent in fair-to-good condition, down two percent from last week.

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SDS research

By Anne Dorrance and Clifton Martin, Ohio State University Extension

The Ohio State University Soybean pathology lab evaluated a number of different components of soybean production this past summer for Ohio producers. Among the research efforts was some work with sudden death syndrome (SDS).

This fungal pathogen infects roots early in the growing season during wet conditions. However, symptom development does not typically occur until the plant reaches the end of its reproductive phase, unless inoculum levels are high, and weather is especially favorable. 

This past season we planted a set of lines that were identified in Illinois as susceptible, moderately susceptible, resistant and highly resistant to this fungus. The location used also has soybean cyst nematode, which is another key pathogen that when SCN and the SDS fungus are both present, symptoms of SDS become well developed. Symptoms of SDS developed prior to flowering this year in the field. This was due to the continued heavy rains shortly after planting. 

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Strip-till improves nutrient uptake and yield

The practice of deep banding fertilizer is growing in popularity as more growers consider strip-till. However, this method may be costing growers more than it is worth.

A new University of Illinois study revealed that strip-till was superior to no-till and increased yield in soybeans. However, the results showed no difference in yield between fertilizer application methods.

“Strip-till is usually talked about in corn, not soybeans,” said Fabian Fernandez, U of I assistant professor of crop sciences. “But the results argue strip-till for soybeans would be a benefit, but placement of fertilizer offers no difference for yield.”

Researchers compared different combinations of phosphorus and potassium rates applied in no-till by either broadcasting or deep-banding six inches below the surface, and in strip-till by deep banding six inches below the surface.

“Strip-till allows growers to apply fertilizer in a band in the subsurface  — it has almost become the norm these days,” Fernandez said.

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MF Global leaves ag in limbo

By Matt Reese

Many farmers and agribusinesses that traded on the futures market with MF Global have been left in limbo since the recent bankruptcy of the firm was announced.

“MF Global is a futures commission merchant, they executed trades and helped client accounts and client funds for trades on the futures markets,” said Matt Roberts, an agriculture economist at Ohio State University. “A couple months ago, it became known to the market that MF Global had taken a large position, about $6 billion, on European sovereign debt in some of the relatively risky countries. When the market found out about this, some people became very concerned about MF Global being able to survive potentially large losses there. That caused some people to start withdrawing money and that caused a reduction in their credit rating, which caused others to withdraw their money. MF Global had to put up more collateral on their trades and it very quickly turned into a death spiral for MF Global, causing it to declare bankruptcy roughly a week after this became known.”

As much as $1.2 billion in MF Global customer funds have gone missing since the bankruptcy, which has shaken the trust that agriculture place in futures trading. 

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USB elects new leaders

The national soybean checkoff just wrapped up its first 20 years, but the work doesn’t end there. As the United Soybean Board (USB) launches into the next 20 years, new U.S. soybean farmer-leaders take the reins and plan to continue the focus on creating profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers.

USB farmer-directors elected Vanessa Kummer (Koo-mer) as chairperson on Dec. 6, during the checkoff’s annual meeting. The Colfax, N.D., soybean farmer will have a busy agenda leading the soybean checkoff’s implementation of a new strategic plan. Kummer looks at addressing recommendations from a farmer-driven assessment of USB and help lead the U.S. soybean industry. She will continue to shepherd the checkoff as it looks to increase soybean farmers’ profitability in an ever-evolving industry.

“It is our vision to make U.S. soybeans the leader in the global oilseed industry,” Kummer said. “We plan to create and maintain partnerships to keep U.S.

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POET producing corn oil for biodiesel

With its patent-pending technology expanding to a total of 6 plants, POET will produce corn oil as feedstock for 12 million gallons of biodiesel per year by the end of 2011.

Under the name, Voilà, POET has been selling corn oil separated from DDGs into biodiesel and feed markets since January, and new capacity is now coming online as the company continues to roll out the technology to more plants.

A South Dakota POET plant was the first to produce Voilà. Since then, the technology has been installed in five more POET plants, with more on the way in 2012. There are plants producing corn oil today in Iowa and a plant in Missouri is just starting. There are plans to bring the technology to Ohio in the future. The oil is separated from around 40% of the nation’s DDGs currently and will be closer to 60% by 2013.

“Voilà has been a very strong part of POET’s business this year, and I’m excited to see more plants getting this technology,” said Jeff BroinPOET founder and CEO Jeff Broin said.

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Does all the rain have you in a rut?

By Randall Reeder, Ohio State University Extension

            “I’m in the combine cab, driving through water to get the corn picked,” said the voice on the other end of a cell phone call today (Dec. 2). Then the long-time no-tiller from Hardin County added, “I’ve got some ruts, but nothing like the neighbors who tilled last fall. What a mess.”

            Yes, even fields that are never tilled likely had some rutting and compaction damage in 2011. But nothing like fields that were plowed a year or two ago.

            Remember last fall? In 2010 corn and soybean harvest was finished about a month early. Too many Ohio farmers “took advantage” of a warm, dry fall to get out an old chisel plow or perhaps buy a new combination tillage tool to work up their corn AND soybeans fields. Research (and recent history) have shown that soybean yields after corn are equal or better with no-till than  with tillage.

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Genuity VT Double PRO receives approval

By Andy Michel and Ron Hammond, Ohio State University Extension entomologists

 

The EPA has just received approval for their Genuity VT Double PRO product to be planted with a refuge in the bag (RIB) strategy.  With the RIB, refuge plants are blended with the transgenic plants such that there is no need to plant a separate refuge; in this case the refuge is set at 5%.  This product contains the genes Cry1A.205 and Cry2Ab2, which offers control for European corn borer, corn earworm and fall armyworm.  Note that this product does not control western bean cutworm, nor does not offer any control against western corn rootworm.  Nonetheless, this product could be useful in certain areas of Ohio where these pests are less of a concern and where planting a separate refuge might be difficult.


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RMA streamlines Ohio acreage reporting dates

As announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) have established 15 common Acreage Reporting Dates for producers participating in RMA and FSA programs.  Brian D. Frieden, Director of the Springfield Regional Office, Risk Management Agency, states “For Ohio producers, this means the number of Acreage Reporting Dates will decrease from five to four.”

Spring and summer planted crops will be the first to be impacted by this change beginning with the 2012 crop year.  July 15 will be the Acreage Reporting Date for the following Ohio crops: burley tobacco, spring cabbage (planted 3/15-5/31), corn, grain sorghum, hybrid corn seed, spring oats, popcorn, potatoes, soybeans, tomatoes, and any other crops not listed elsewhere.  The Acreage reporting date for summer cabbage (planted 6/01-7/20) will be August 15.

Perennial and fall-planted crops in Ohio will see Acreage Reporting Date changes beginning with the 2013 crop year. 

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ECO Farming a topic at No-Till Conference

By Matt Reese

Wind and rain do not cause soil erosion. Bad soil management does.

No-till is the answer to many of the problems behind (and resulting from) erosion at work in fields today, according to the line up of expert speakers at the Ohio No-Till Conference held in Plain City.

“When you engage steel with soil, bad things happen,” said Barry Fisher, the Indiana USDA NRCS State Agronomist. “Can we achieve 300 bushel corn and 100 bushel soybeans by 2030? If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we will get what we got. The yield trend line puts us at 193-bushel corn per acre by 2030. Technology has kept us in the game so far, but we need to match that with great soil health. Master the details by using the time that you are not in the tractor seat doing tillage.”

Ohio State University Extension researcher Jim Hoorman suggests that farmers move toward ECO Farming that seeks to mimic nature in a row crop production through the elimination of tillage, cover crops and other practices.

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Anticipating 2012 prices

Crop prices during 2011 were influenced by a wide range of factors that resulted in extremely large trading ranges, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“The price patterns, however, were very different for corn, soybeans, and wheat. As the year ends, thoughts turn to likely price levels in 2012,” he said.

December 2011 corn futures started the year near $5.50, with the higher trend that began near $4.00 in July 2010 still in place. The trend continued, although erratically, reaching a peak near $7.80 in late August. Prices have declined sharply since then, with the December 2011 contract currently only about 30 cents higher than at the start of the year, he said.

January 2012 soybean futures started the year just below $13.00, with the higher trend that began near $9.50 in July 2010 still in place. The price of that contract traded between $12.50 and $14.00 through mid-August, peaked at $14.74 in late August, and then plummeted to $11.00 in late November.

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