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Fighting winter annuals

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold regional agronomist

 

The Eastern Corn Belt is experiencing one of the warmest winters on record. Temperatures have consistently been 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for most of the winter months, with some locations recording 60+ degree temperatures in the month of February. The warm weather throughout the winter could lead to a lot of unwanted situations in 2012. One of the unintended situations caused by warmer than normal temperatures is the potential for high infestations of winter annuals.

Winter annuals are unique in that they grow during the cool times of the year when other annual weeds become dormant. The life cycle of winter annuals begin anytime between late summer and early spring. The newly sprouted weeds overwinter as small seedlings and then when the weather begins to warm in the spring they continue to grow, flower, put on seeds and then die. Winter annuals typically grow close to the ground for protection against cold winter days.

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What’s new from crop and chemical companies?

By Matt Reese

If, going into the late winter meeting season, farmers in Ohio were not aware of the problems associated with resistant weeds they probably are now. Resistant weeds were the clear theme and the dominant topic of discussion in the numerous meetings and the

Commodity Classic trade show in Tennessee last month.

Driving much of the discussion was an unlikely pairing of former chemical giant rivals Monsanto and BASF that have teamed up on this daunting problem. BASF’s innovation in development, Engenia herbicide, is an advanced dicamba formulation with low-volatility characteristics for improved on-target application. Engenia will help control more than 100 of the annual broadleaf weeds that farmers are battling in their crops, including glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, waterhemp and marestail.

“BASF is dedicated to providing solutions, technical support and educational tools to help growers implement a weed management program based on herbicide best practices,” said Paul Rea, with U.S.

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Corn yield prospects for 2012

With 2011-12 marketing year-ending stocks of U.S. corn expected to be near pipeline levels, the size of the 2012 crop has substantial price implications, according to University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good. Acreage intentions will be revealed in the USDA’s March 30 Prospective Plantings report, but much of the current discussion centers on prospects for the U.S. average corn yield.

Widely differing views of yield prospects for 2012 have emerged. A number of factors may contribute to the diverse views, but four have received a lot of attention. These include (1) the timing of planting, (2) the magnitude and potential change in the trend yield, (3) the expected summer weather conditions, and (4) the location and magnitude of acreage changes.

“The mild winter weather and early spring fieldwork suggests that the 2012 crop will be planted in a very timely fashion,” Good said. “There is a general perception that early planting results in a higher U.S.

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How early is too early to plant?

By Heather Hetterick, Ohio Ag Net

The unseasonably warm weather may have you contemplating a jump-start on spring planting. As of March 14, there was talk of farmers already planting in areas of Illinois and Indiana.

But, how early is too early? What could be the consequences of jumping the gun?

There are the obvious things to consider like soil moisture, soil temperature and equipment calibration. But, here are five things that farmers might not have thought of that need to be considered before dropping the planter in the ground early.

1. Crop Insurance

Jason Williamson at Williamson Insurance has received many calls over the past week from farmers asking how early they can plant.

“For most of Ohio, the early plant date is 60 days prior to the final plant date. This year that date is April 6 for corn and April 21 for beans,” Williamson said. “If you plant either crop before that date your crop insurance stands, but you have no replant coverage.”

Early plant dates very across the Corn Belt and a crop insurance agent should be consulted to confirm the early plant date in the area.

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Handle treated seeds with care

By Sharon Covert, International Marketing Committee Chair for the United Soybean Board and soy checkoff.

Each day keeps getting a little bit longer and warmer, which means it will soon be that time of year again—planting season. Farmers will soon be back in the field sowing this year’s soybean crop.

Many farmers have complex management decisions to make each spring, but deciding which soybean variety to plant has become an increasingly difficult one. In the past few years, soybean seed treated with crop protection products have become very popular.

These brightly colored seeds can help protect seedlings from pests and diseases, but farmers need to remember the importance of keeping treated seed and harvested oilseeds or grain separate. Soy customers beyond the elevator have become increasingly sensitive to this issue, and negligence can threaten our relationship and income.

For example, if a treated seed shows up in a shipment of soybeans in China, customers there will reject the entire load.
 


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Nematode presence low in Ohio Corn Performance Trials

Amid growing questions of nematodes’ effect on corn yields in Ohio, a recent sampling in the 2011 Ohio Corn Performance Test locations found no visible evidence of nematode injury, an Ohio State University Extension specialist says.

Several seed companies submitted hybrid entries in the performance test that included nematicide seed treatments, said Peter Thomison, an OSU Extension agronomist. Soil samples were collected to assess whether nematodes may be present at test sites. Two bulk samples of 20 cores each were taken from each test site, all of which have a history of some form of conservation tillage, he said.

“Nine of the sites followed soybeans, one followed corn,” Thomison said. “There was no visible evidence of nematode injury, such as uneven growth or stunted plants, in sampled plots.”

The purpose of the test is to evaluate corn hybrids for grain yield and other important agronomic characteristics. Results of the test can assist farmers in selecting hybrids best suited to their farming operations and production environments.

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Bluegrass Farms poised for the future of ag exports

By Matt Reese

Bluegrass Farms of Ohio, Inc. is opening up Ohio agricultural production to a world of opportunity with its Central Ohio Logistics Center in Fayette County. Bluegrass Farms has specialized in the shipping of identity preserved, non-GMO soybeans from its Jeffersonville facility to discerning Asian customers for years. The recent addition of the five miles of railroad and a container loading facility that comprise the Central Ohio Logistics Center have opened up some new and exciting possibilities.

“We need to minimize the amount of truck traffic we use because it is the most expensive and inefficient. The faster we can get our commodities on the rail the better off we are,” said Dave Martin, president of Bluegrass Farms. “We spent the last couple of years constructing this rail facility adjacent to Bluegrass Farms. This allows us to ship heavy-weight containers without hitting the road and ultimately lowering the cost and increasing efficiency to increase the value to the farmers in Ohio that we serve.”

With the new facility, Bluegrass Farms has the capability to process, prepare, containerize and load soybeans directly onto the rail that connects them to the deep water ports in the East and the rest of the world from there.

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Ohio agencies announce water quality measures

The Directors’ Agricultural Nutrients and Water Quality Working Group spent months compiling their extensive findings on how agriculture is contributing to water quality problems and how this can be controlled. The group was assembled to aggregate all of the available information on the problem, organize it and present it to the directors of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency, who will then make recommendations to the governor.

The three Departments today announced their recommendations for reducing excess agricultural nutrients from affecting or entering the western basin of Lake Erie.

“Our agencies worked with Ohio’s agricultural community to identify the best ways to decrease this nutrient loading into Ohio’s water bodies,” said David Daniels, director of the ODA. “The farmers, private companies, agricultural organizations, agri-businesses, environmental organizations and academic institutions were all asked to provide their best input, ideas, advice and guidance.

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Optimum AcreMax XTreme receives registration

DuPont announced that it has received registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Optimum AcreMax XTreme insect protection for corn. Optimum AcreMax XTreme adds to DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred’s lineup of single-bag solutions to deliver insect control and simplified refuge management for growers. “Optimum AcreMaxXTreme is the right product for growers who need enhanced above- and below-ground insect control and simplified refuge management on their acres,” said Paul E. Schickler, Pioneer president. “Growers need proven technology to defend their crop against insect damage, while receiving overall agronomic performance. OptimumAcreMax XTreme joins a very successful lineup of other simplified refuge Pioneer brand products.”

Optimum AcreMax XTreme products integrate 95% of a trusted, high-yielding Pioneer brand corn hybrid containing Herculex XTRA insect protection. This is combined with YieldGard Corn Borer insect protection and the Agrisure RW trait and 5% of a similar non-Bt hybrid with herbicide tolerance to serve as the integrated refuge.

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Do bumper bugs foreshadow crop pest problems?

By Matt Reese

Is spring here? Based on the vast number of bugs on this just cleaned bumper after a 15-

minute Central Ohio drive, the insect population seems to think so. The sunny skies are warming soils fast, though more rain in the forecast could slow the warming trend.

In general, Ohio can expect more of the same in the coming weeks, according to Jim Noel with the National Weather Service who contributes to the Ohio State University Extension CORN Newsletter.

“Nothing has changed since our last update,” Noel said. “The outlook for the rest of March is for an active pattern with above normal temperatures, above normal rainfall and some risk of severe weather. What will be quite different in 2012 versus 2011 is that the spring will not be as cool. It also will be wet, but not as wet as 2011 and the wetness will likely end earlier than 2011.

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Can corn keep up?

Key shifts in U.S. corn production are decelerating yield growth, according to a new report released today by researchers at the Rabobank International Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) group. The report, titled “Can Corn Keep Up?” finds that yields are likely to grow at a much slower rate than historical and trendline analysis would suggest and anticipate 2012 growth will be below current USDA estimates.

The Rabobank International Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) group’s “Can Corn Keep Up?” report notes that increased corn acres on less productive land, and reduced crop rotation make it unlikely that U.S. corn yield will increase significantly enough to move world grain stocks out of historically low levels. The report also notes only a 50% probability that U.S. corn production will keep up with worldwide demand.

“We’ve known for some time that corn yield increases will not be able to keep up with the surging global consumption,” said Sterling Liddell, Global Strategist with the Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory team.

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Warm winter makes insect scouting more important

While the near-record warm winter will cause some insects to appear earlier than normal, whether the bugs negatively impact field crops will depend on spring weather, insect variety and planting dates, says an Ohio State University Extension entomologist.

Insects such as the bean leaf beetle, corn flea beetle and alfalfa weevil will likely be seen earlier than normal this year, said Ron Hammond, who also has an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

This winter is the warmest winter experienced nationwide since 2000 and the fourth-warmest winter on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This was caused when the jet stream, which divides the cold air to the north from the warm air to the south, settled at a much higher latitude this year, the federal agency said.

The warmer weather will cause insects to come out earlier to feed and become more active in the months before spring, Hammond said.

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Atrazine not likely to exceed drinking water standard in agricultural groundwater

A new model predicts that atrazine, plus its breakdown product deethylatrazine, has less than a 10% chance of exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for public drinking-water supplies in shallow groundwater in about 95% of the nation’s agricultural areas. Atrazine is a commonly used herbicide for weed control in corn and sorghum production.

“With the intensive, widespread use of the herbicide atrazine in agricultural production, some communities will need to carefully monitor the risk to groundwater and human health from this contaminant and its residues,” said Marcia McNutt, U.S. Geological Survey director. “The advantage of this new research is that it reveals the spatial variability of risk for atrazine contamination in groundwater across the United States, allowing communities to make wise decisions on allocating scarce financial resources for water-quality testing.”

These findings are based on new statistical models developed from almost 20 years of nation-wide water-quality monitoring data collected by the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA).

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A last look at 2011 Ohio corn yields

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold regional agronomist

Corn yields are the holy grail of corn production, high yields are worthy of bragging rights at the coffee shop and low yields are all the more reason not to leave the shop during the winter. All growers strive for the highest yields possible, but after anytime of farming a grower quickly realizes that we are not in total control of the entire yield equation.

2011 corn production proved to be quite an adventure no matter where you lived. The weather was challenging early to almost the entire state and caused major delays and challenges to planting. To some growers the weather continued to be challenging all year long, while to other growers the weather later in the growing season was extremely rewarding. The old adage of “rain makes grain” held true again in 2011. As the spring of 2012 quickly approaches, a final look at how the 2011 corn crop makes a nice bookend to a year no one will forget.

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Wilmington College partners with CIFT & Sensus in producing natural food coloring

By Randy Sarvis, Wilmington College

Wilmington College’s Dr. Monte Anderson and two students hauled 200 pounds of unshelled Bloody Butcher corn to a Cincinnati area ingredient research and development company several weeks ago.

Bloody Butcher is a deep purple-hued corn that Sensus Corp. of Hamilton is using to conduct research on extracting color for use in foods.

Many consumers are demanding that food contain naturally derived products for color, taste and scent. More and more, they are seeking out natural replacements for artificially produced food enhancements.

Indeed, they want the purple color in their energy drink to come from agriculture rather than a concoction produced in a chemistry lab.

Sensus produces essences from natural, agriculture based products with a keen interest in using those produced locally in southwest Ohio. That’s where Wilmington College comes in.

WC and Sensus are member organizations of CIFT, the Center for Innovative Food Technology, which has a regional office at the College headed by Rob Jaehnig, agribusiness development specialist.

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Wilmington College partners with CIFT & Sensus in producing natural food coloring

By Randy Sarvis, Wilmington College

Wilmington College’s Dr. Monte Anderson and two students hauled 200 pounds of unshelled Bloody Butcher corn to a Cincinnati area ingredient research and development company several weeks ago.

Bloody Butcher is a deep purple-hued corn that Sensus Corp. of Hamilton is using to conduct research on extracting color for use in foods.

Many consumers are demanding that food contain naturally derived products for color, taste and scent. More and more, they are seeking out natural replacements for artificially produced food enhancements.

Indeed, they want the purple color in their energy drink to come from agriculture rather than a concoction produced in a chemistry lab.

Sensus produces essences from natural, agriculture based products with a keen interest in using those produced locally in southwest Ohio. That’s where Wilmington College comes in.

WC and Sensus are member organizations of CIFT, the Center for Innovative Food Technology, which has a regional office at the College headed by Rob Jaehnig, agribusiness development specialist.

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AgReliant Genetics receives USDA accreditation

AgReliant Genetics recently received the “USA Accredited Seed Conditioning Program – Process Verified” certification at its production facilities. This certification from the USDA recognizes the company’s Quality Management System (QMS) for the conditioning and blending of Refuge in the Bag (RIB) seed products as well as the company’s ability to meet the stringent standards necessary to receive this prestigious certification.

“The seed business continues to increase in complexity,” said Craig Anderson, AgReliant Genetics’ Vice President of Operations. “We see the USDA Process Verified Program as one more way we can ensure that the products being delivered to the customer are of the highest quality and uniformity.”

The AgReliant Genetics QMS process was implemented as a tool to assist the company in maintaining its commitment of continual product improvement to its customers.

“The single-bag refuge solution is a very efficient way for farmers to meet the refuge requirements,” said Jim Shearl, Director of Quality Assurance at AgReliant Genetics.

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Dailey recognized as 2012 Ohio CCA of the year

The Ohio CCA Board is proud to announce the winner of the 2012 Certified Crop Adviser of the Year Award is Mike Dailey, independent consultant from Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Dailey was named the winner

on March 6 at the Conservation Tillage Conference in Ada.

The CCA of the Year Award is a state award designed to recognize an individual who is highly motivated, delivers exceptional customer service for farmer clients in nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop production, and has contributed substantially to the exchange of ideas and the transfer of agronomic knowledge within the agricultural industry in Ohio.

Dailey has contributed to the growth and development of countless CCA’s over the years, as well as helping his farmer clients to thrive and prosper with their businesses by making his recommendations based on science and fact. Dailey has taught Sunday School, volunteered as agricultural educator at Kenyon College Environmental Center, and served as former chairman of the CCA board.

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Report reveals sound U.S. corn quality from 2011

U.S. corn farmers harvested a high-quality crop in 2011, according to a report released by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). With good test weights, low damage and relatively high protein concentrations, the crop will require little drying and store well. The first report of this kind issued by the Council, this initial edition sets a baseline for subsequent annual updates while establishing credible criteria and processes through which to assess the crop.

“The global corn market is increasingly competitive, and the Council believes that the availability of accurate, consistent, and comparable information is in the long-term interests of all concerned,” said Wendell Shauman, USGC Chairman. “Improved information will facilitate increased trade – and when trade works, the world wins.”

This report, created to answer buyers’ questions about the quality of the current U.S. crop and assist in making well-informed decisions.

“We are extremely pleased not only by the positive analysis of the crop, but also by the launch of the publication itself,” said Garry Niemeyer, NCGA president.

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Pioneer announces plans for new Ohio corn research unit

By Matt Reese

At the temporary Pioneer research center in Plain City, Randy Minton, Pioneer Business Director for the Northeast Business Unit, announced the plans for a new permanent Pioneer corn research facility in Ohio.

“We just got approval to build a permanent site in Urbana,” Minton said.  “We will be breaking

ground this summer. A lot of our other research is focused on the western Corn Belt, but this will be here to serve customers in Ohio and our Northeast Business Unit.”

Plans for the 20,000-square-foot facility have recently been finalized. The Ohio facility will play an important research role in the development of products crafted for the Eastern Corn Belt.

“We want to be the world’s most innovative plant genetics business. A significant part of our effort is reliably supplying seed for increased production. We have a worldwide year round production system. There is a lot of work that goes into this,” Minton said.

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