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Crops



There is little to do but hope for rain

By Matt Reese

The dry weather and heat are taking a heavy toll on crop conditions around the state.Just last week, things were grim on Chad Kemp’s Preble County farm.

“Our corn is four to five feet tall. The stands look great. The plants are there but they are in the pineapple stage curling up with the heat and no water,” said Chad Kemp, who farms in Preble County. “Soybeans never got a good start this year. They don’t have much height. The roots have gotten down far enough that they are starting to grow a little. Some of the smaller beans are flipping their leaves over and a lot of the stands came up unevenly.”

With just over half an inch of rain in the last month and a half, the roughy 1.5 inches of rain on the farm this weekend made a tremendous difference.

“We’re very concerned. It was getting to be pretty extreme,” Kemp said.… Continue reading

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On Target Application Academy coming to Ohio

As advanced crop protection products and spray technologies come to market — and weed resistance continues to challenge growers across the country — it’s simple to say that today’s weed management environment is becoming more complex.

Developed by Bob Wolf, Ph.D., of Wolf Consulting and Research, TeeJet Technologies and BASF, with insight from a grower roundtable, the On Target Application Academy is a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity to provide growers extensive hands-on training for better awareness of herbicide application best practices.

“State certification courses and exams are important steps in ensuring proper herbicide application,” Wolf said. “The On Target Application Academy supplements these efforts, offering more detail around best management practices and factors that affect proper application.”

The On Target Application Academy educates growers on new application technologies, plant biology and advancements in new product chemistries to help them achieve the most effective and sustainable weed control possible — and to help mitigate off target applications, which is a continuous area of focus for the agricultural industry.… Continue reading

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Acreage and Grain Stocks reports move markets

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Today was a huge report by USDA. Most certainly producers and traders are viewing it with much trepidation. New this month we are seeing trading at the CME in live mode while the USDA reports are released. The first test was earlier this month with the supply and demand report. Many expected trading to be brisk with a huge range within minutes of the 8:30 release. In the past 10 days many have suggested that limit up or limit down for corn was a huge possibility.

The report this morning was an acres report and grain stocks as of June 1. Corn acres were estimated at 96.4 million acres while soybean acres were pegged at 76.1 million acres.

June 1st corn stocks were estimated to be 3.138 billion bushels, soybean stocks were 667 million bushels.

In trading at 8:40 December corn was up 19 cents with November soybeans up 14 cents.… Continue reading

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Adoption of advanced techniques could propel crop improvement

Scientists could take greater strides toward crop improvement if there were wider adoption of advanced techniques used to understand the mechanisms that allow plants to adapt to their environments, current and former Purdue University researchers said.

In a perspective for the journal Science, Brian Dilkes, a Purdue assistant professor of genetics, and Ivan Baxter, a research computational biologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, argue that today’s technology could allow scientists to match physiological and genetic characteristics of plants with the soil characteristics that promote or inhibit their growth. Making those connections could reduce the time necessary to improve plants that are coping with changing environmental and climatic conditions.

“Evolution has solved the problems that we face in terms of adapting plants to grow in a multitude of environments,” Dilkes said. “If we understand these processes, we’ll be able to apply that knowledge to maintaining diversity in natural systems and improving and maintaining crop yield.”

The majority of a plant’s makeup, besides carbon dioxide, comes from elements and minerals absorbed from the soil as the plant grows.… Continue reading

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Drought drying up hopes of high corn yields in 2012

By Matt Reese

The rain had to stop sometime. After a year of record setting rainfall amounts that plagued crop producers trying to get any fieldwork done, the faucet shut off in the early growing season this spring. The welcomed dry conditions allowed for a great start to the season, but have since turned into a source of growing concern.

“The season started out really well. We didn’t start as early as a lot of people in the neighborhood. We got started around April 14 and finished corn by the 24th,” said Chad Kemp, who farms in Preble County. “We started planting soybeans on April 30 and got done on May 15. Everything went in really well and we got a great start with everything. Since the planting season ended on May 15, though, we’ve only gotten about .6-inch of rain. The rains have come .2, .2, .1, and a half a tenth.… Continue reading

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Dry weather driving markets

By Matt Reese

The dry conditions stretching across the Corn Belt have the attention of increasingly nervous markets as corn pollination progresses. Though it seems that the drought is worse in the Eastern Corn Belt, conditions are on the dry side in many areas across the country.

“Out west is not as bad as it is here,” said Matt Roberts, an Ohio State University agricultural economist. “But in Illinois you start to see the really dry conditions showing up. In a year like this we get spot rains, in a normal year we get dry spots.”

In looking at the bigger picture of supply and demand, the increasing possibility of another year of below trend line yields in 2012 is driving the markets.

“Historically, each year there is the same probability of high or low yields,” Roberts said. “We don’t tend to see repeated bad or good years, but this looks like it could be the first time in 30 or 40 years that we’ve seen three years in a row with below trend line national yields.… Continue reading

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Hot, dry weather adding challenges to weed control

While the extended hot, dry weather in Ohio recently might mean that weeds aren’t growing as fast as they would in more moist conditions, the weather can still make weed management more challenging for corn and soybean growers, an Ohio State University Extension weed specialist says.

The abnormally dry conditions affect the germination, growth, hardiness and competitive ability of weeds, but they also complicate weed control efforts, Mark Loux said.

“The biggest thing that happens to weeds when the weather conditions continue to be hot and dry is that the weeds get tougher to control,” he said. “Under good moisture, weeds tend to be more sensitive to herbicides.

“Under extended dry conditions, weeds grow more slowly and also develop thicker cuticles on the leaf surfaces, which has the overall effect of reducing herbicide movement into and throughout the plant.”

While growers often wonder if they should wait for rain to treat weeds with herbicides, Loux said, the most important thing is to make sure they select the right herbicide treatment for the weeds they are trying to control.… Continue reading

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Do not tear up dying crops without taking proper measures

By Matt Reese

There are some pockets of farmland around the state that have gotten very little rain and crops are withering in the heat. With little relief in sight for the situation of rapidly deteriorating crop condition, some farmers are considering tearing their crops out.

“The people tearing up crops are not widespread at this point. It is in isolated situations where it was planted into dry dirt and hasn’t come up,” said Greg Owens, with Williamson Insurance Agency. “There hasn’t been enough precipitation to justifiy tearing up corn and replanting beans. Guys do not want to look at these tough fields of corn for the rest of the summer, but at this point financially it may actually be their option to let the crop grow to maturity. In these isolated instances farmers should turn in a claim and meet with their adjuster to determine their best options in these tougher fields.… Continue reading

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Rainfall amounts are shaping the markets

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

The first two weeks of June were extremely disappointing days of no rain for Ohio producers. Rainfall amounts continued to be drastically varied across the state. While many desired a good soaking rain, it just did not happen. Central Ohio received just a smattering of rain during the second week of June with rainfall just amounting to .1 to .4 inch. Meanwhile, rainfall in the western Midwest and stretching across the northern cornbelt states of South Dakota and Minnesota was a common occurrence more than once a week. Rain totals were often one inch or more. It was extremely frustrating as Ohio producers not only watched their yield potential shrink, but watched in utter shock as grain prices dropped severely for days on end.

The USDA supply and demand report pegged the 2012 U.S. corn yield at 166 bushels per acre. This number was unchanged from the previous report.… Continue reading

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Closer look reveals vulnerability in wheat supplies

On a global scale, world wheat buyers appear to be in a very favorable position to begin the new crop year. In its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates 2012/13 world wheat supply will reach the second highest level on record at 868 million metric tons (MMT). However, a closer look reveals a more fragile wheat market. In fact, there will be less wheat available this year to meet higher global demand.

The difference is China and India. The two largest wheat-consuming countries will account for more than 30% of total world supplies and total wheat consumption in 2012/13. Despite their abundant supplies, the two countries together accounted for less than 1% of world exports on average the past five years.

In order to meet such high domestic demand, supplies inside these countries are effectively unavailable to meet demand in the rest of the world.… Continue reading

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EWG's "Dirty Dozen" packed with misinformation

By the National Corn Growers Association staff

As temperatures rise and an array of fresh, vibrant produce options fills grocery baskets, the Environmental Working Group issued its annual summer scare list with. Deemed the “dirty dozen,” EWG again drags out its pseudoscience in the hopes of terrifying consumers, maligning nutritious foods and filling its coffers with donations from a frightened and misinformed public.

Almost any sound, reputable source stresses the incredibly important role that eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables plays in a healthy diet. Instead of promoting this, the EWG joins the ranks of similar charlatans who base fad diets on trendy tidbits.  Based more in sound bites than sound science, the misinformation found in the list pushes well-intentioned eaters off track.

Farmers value food safety for the same reasons consumers do. The food from their farms feeds their families as well as yours. Regular moms and dads with the same concerns, farm families strive to bring a broad variety of safe, nutritious foods to their tables and yours.… Continue reading

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EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” packed with misinformation

By the National Corn Growers Association staff

As temperatures rise and an array of fresh, vibrant produce options fills grocery baskets, the Environmental Working Group issued its annual summer scare list with. Deemed the “dirty dozen,” EWG again drags out its pseudoscience in the hopes of terrifying consumers, maligning nutritious foods and filling its coffers with donations from a frightened and misinformed public.

Almost any sound, reputable source stresses the incredibly important role that eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables plays in a healthy diet. Instead of promoting this, the EWG joins the ranks of similar charlatans who base fad diets on trendy tidbits.  Based more in sound bites than sound science, the misinformation found in the list pushes well-intentioned eaters off track.

Farmers value food safety for the same reasons consumers do. The food from their farms feeds their families as well as yours. Regular moms and dads with the same concerns, farm families strive to bring a broad variety of safe, nutritious foods to their tables and yours.… Continue reading

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Ohio weekly crop progress report-June 25, 2012

The average temperature for the State was 76.8 degrees, 6.1 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, June 24, 2012.  Precipitation averaged 0.60 inches, 0.27 inches below normal.  There were 168 modified growing degree days, 25 days above normal.

Reporters rated 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, June 22, 2012.  Topsoil moisture was rated 31 percent very short, 44 percent short, 24 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

Although some part of the state experienced a good amount of rain, reporters stated that there are drought conditions in other parts of the state.  The heat and dry weather has been putting significant stress on livestock. The heat and dry weather also hampered growth of corn, soybeans, and hay.  Field activities included harvesting wheat and baling hay.

As of Sunday June 24th, two percent of corn was silked.  The soybean crop was eight percent blooming, compared to two percent for the five-year average. … Continue reading

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Jim Herring-June 25, 2012

“We sure could use some water. We got maybe .8 of an inch of rain for the month of June. We had some moisture through May, but not a lot. And, since then, it has been very dry and the crops are showing a lot of stress. The corn is really curled during the day. As early as it was planted, it should be tasseling by now, but it is not there yet.

“The soybeans are hanging in there. They still have potential and rain could really bring them on, but we sure don’t see anything in the forecast and the 90-degree temperatures do not help.

“We got .7-inch 10 days ago. That lasted for about a day. It perked things up a little and then it was ready for more. There is an area to the north and to the east that got some pretty nice rains this last weekend, but we didn’t get them.… Continue reading

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Mark Dowden-June 25, 2012

“Last Sunday, some of our ground got a little over an inch of rain on it, but at home we got nothing. It was that cut and dry, there wasn’t much in between. Two weeks ago, we got around .4-inch.

“I would assume the crop is starting to get hurt in some areas. The corn is starting to tassel in a few areas. The soybeans look pretty decent, but they are dormant in the dry weather. They aren’t really doing much of anything.

“The wheat was really good. We got it all off and the straw is pretty much baled. We don’t have it all hauled in yet, but it looks like it will average around 90 bushels. We had one field average more than 100 bushels per acre. It was dry and had good test weight and there were good conditions to bale the straw.

“The neighbor bales up the wheat and buys it from us right out of the field.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius-June 25, 2012

“This corn is having a really hard time right now. If we don’t get a rain before it hits 95 again, it will take its toll.

“I got a half-inch of rain two weeks ago. That is all the measurable rain we’ve gotten in a month and a half in some fields. When you get into a dry period like this, it is hard to get a rain. If we don’t get rain soon, I think we’ll see guys shelling corn around here in the second or third week of August. It is that bad.

“On the gravel ground, the corn is turning a gray color and that is serious. If it starts raining now, there is maybe still potential for 150-bushel corn in some fields, but I have some corn that has already started pollinating. And, the leaves are curling up during the day around that tassel to protect them.… Continue reading

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Mark Thomas-June 25, 2012

“It is about 20 degrees cooler today, which is nice, but we could really use some water. We got .8 of an inch of rain a week ago Sunday. We got .4 in the morning and .4 in the afternoon, which was wonderful. Then, on Monday, we were in a small band that got another .8-inch. So, we can’t complain, because if you go five miles north or south of me, they didn’t get any of that second rain.

“The second cutting hay was about three-fourths of what we normally make. The alfalfa was good, but the grass didn’t have much growth to it. We did get that rain after the second cutting, which will help get re-growth going. We’ve got maybe six to eight inches of regrowth already.

“A lot of guys started harvesting wheat and then stopped because it is too wet. The dry spots in the field are 12% and the green spots are at 22% moisture.… Continue reading

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What to expect from foliar fertilizer programs

By Ed Lentz, Ohio State University Extension

Strong commodity prices have encouraged producers to look for ways to increase their yields even if it is only for a few bushels. Retail businesses have of wide array of available foliar fertilizers for producers to try to get those few bushels.  Before using a foliar program one should review university research summaries and ask if the concept is sound.

University research has not shown a consistent response to foliar fertilizers. There have been sites that have seen a yield response and some that have seen a yield loss. For most sites there has been no yield change (Ohio data has not shown a yield gain or loss). When a yield response has been seen, researchers were often unable to explain why it worked at one site and not others. Soybeans have been more responsive than corn. Universities generally do not recommend foliar programs since the research results have been inconsistent, unrepeatable and unpredictable.… Continue reading

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Use caution with plants for biomass

The biofuels industry is hitting its stride, with both small farms and large-scale farms considering the production of renewable crops that can be converted to energy. But scientists with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) caution that many of these crops also are known as invasive weeds in some of the regions where they are planted. Growers must exercise caution in order to protect our natural ecosystems.

“We don’t yet have sufficient research and risk models to predict the environmental impact of these new crops in the field,” said Jacob Barney, assistant professor of Invasive Plant Ecology at Virginia Tech. “In many ways it’s a large-scale experiment, with few regulations or policy guidelines. Voluntary precautions taken by stakeholders are virtually our only line of defense.”

A recent report from the National Wildlife Federation cites several examples of species cultivated for biofuels that have the potential to become harmful invaders. Among them are:

  • Giant reed (Arundo donax) an invasive weed known for crowding out native plants in fragile riparian areas.
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Estimating nutrient removal of wheat straw

By Bruce Clevenger, Ed Lentz, Glen Arnold, Ohio State University Extension

Wheat straw is in high demand across all of Ohio for a variety of reasons, including a steady to growing demand, fewer acres devoted to wheat production, or lack of planting opportunity in the fall of 2011. What is the value of the nutrients being removed when straw is baled? This is an important question to ask when deciding whether to leave the straw in the field or bale it for sale at a later time. 

A good wheat crop will yield between 1 and 1.2 tons of straw per acre on a dry matter basis. Robert Mullen reported in previous CORN newsletters that a ton of wheat straw would provide approximately 11 pounds of N, 3 pounds of P2O5 and 20 pounds of K2O. While a laboratory analysis would be most accurate and can account for weather and other factors that occurred this year, these would be legitimate numbers to use as estimation.… Continue reading

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