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USDA report meets corn expectations, offers surprises

USDA released its latest Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports Monday morning.

USDA trimmed its estimate of national average corn yield to 148.1 bushels per acre from the August estimate of 153 bushels per acre. That’s a slightly greater cut than the average trade estimate, at 148.8. The corn crop was pegged at 12.5 billion bushels from 84.4 million acres harvested while demand dropped off.

“The reduction is not a surprise but the severity of how quickly they are posting poor yields is. The September report indicated the U.S. corn crop would have an average yield of 148.1 bushels per acre. Just two months ago with the July report USDA had pegged the corn yield at 158.7 bushels per acre,” said Doug Tenney, with Leist Mercantile in Circleville. “Corn demand continues to be reduced as the yields have come down the past two months. With the September report, USDA reduced corn demand by 400 million bushels.

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Harvest provides opportunities for weed evaluation

Take advantage of the elevated view from the combine cab to survey and assess the effectiveness of your weed management program this fall.

“A field free of weeds during harvest is very desirable and represents an outcome that will require increased management as weeds continue to adapt to modern crop production practices,” said Aaron Hager, University of Illinois Extension weed specialist.

Many observations have been made recently that waterhemp and horseweed are frequently appearing in corn and soybean fields across Illinois. Hager’s recent field visits have indicated that seed production on these mature plants has been successful, suggesting a preharvest herbicide application may do little to reduce the viability of these mature seeds.

“There are many reasons that these two particular weed species have successfully completed their life cycle in corn and soybean fields,” he said. “One reason is the occurrence of herbicide resistance. Glyphosate resistance in Illinois waterhemp and horseweed populations is known to occur, and we suspect this will become increasingly common in future growing seasons.

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Are wheat acres getting harder to justify?

By Matt Reese

Wheat had another tough year in 2011, which leaves many farmers again wondering if the crop is worth keeping in the crop rotation. Corn and soybean prices remain strong, head scab and quality issues are a significant concern and yields have been lackluster — all factors stacking the cards against planting wheat again this fall.

Dan Wagner farms in Hardin and Hancock Counties and has long been a believer in the importance of including wheat in his crop rotation, but another disappointing year has him re-examining the benefits of wheat.

“The wheat was off last year and this year the disease levels seem to be better, but the yields are worse,” Wagner said. “Wheat looked great coming into May, but then we started seeing the tile lines and I knew it was too wet. The water killed it in the low areas and in other places there was a head, but there was nothing in it.

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Grain value chain collaboration

The National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association brought together key industry stakeholders to start a discussion about how to best begin construction of a framework for addressing biotech events and impacts on end use markets. Acknowledging that all parts of the value chain share a common goal of an uninterrupted flow of corn, soybeans and technology, attendees shared ideas and insights on finding a solution to disruptions that could potentially impact growers.

NCGA CEO Rick Tolman said NCGA and ASA chose to host this meeting to provide the entire industry with an open space in which to find ways to improve communication. Following Tolman’s remarks, NCGA President Bart Schott addressed the conference on the organizations’ goals for the dialogue. In doing so, he noted that each party plays a role in on-farm profitability and, as such, a valuable one for growers across the country. He stressed the importance of recognizing one another’s strengths and working collaboratively to build a bright future.

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Coverage of Warner Seeds Field Day

On Wednesday, The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins made his way to Bradford, Ohio in Miami County for the Warner Seeds Field Day.

Seed Consultants Director of Agronomic Services Bill Mullen says this week’s rain is good and bad, depending on the crop.

Bill Mullen

Warner Seeds Co-Owner Dan Warner discusses the process of processing seed corn.

Dan Warner

Seed Consultants Operations Manager Daniel Call talks about next year’s availability.

Daniel Call

Matt Hutchenson is a Research Assistant for Seed Consultants and he shares what he is seeing in this year’s plots.

Matt Hutchenson

 Seed Consutants Founder Chris Jeffries notes why his company is set apart from the competition.

Chris Jeffries

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Ohio Crop Progress Report – September 6, 2011

As of Sunday September 4th, corn in dough was 85 percent, which was 14 percent behind 2010 and 7 percent behind the five-year average. Corn dented was 37 percent, compared to 79 percent last year and 64 percent for the five-year average. Corn mature was 3 percent, which was 19 percent behind last year and 6 percent behind the five-year average. Corn for silage was 12 percent harvested, which was 37 percent behind last year and 17 percent behind the five-year average. Ninety-seven percent of soybeans were setting pods, compared to 100 percent for both last year and the five-year average. Soybeans dropping leaves were 3 percent, which was 23 percent behind last year and 12 percent behind the five-year average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 89 percent complete, compared to 94 percent last year and 90 percent for the five-year average. Twenty-five percent of the fourth cutting of alfalfa hay was complete, 11 percent behind last year, and 1 percent behind the five-year average.

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Research boosting productivity of cellulosic ethanol

Adding a pretreatment step would allow producers to get more ethanol from switchgrass harvested in the fall, according to a Purdue University study.

Michael Ladisch, a distinguished professor of agricultural and biological engineering, and Youngmi Kim, a research scientist, compared switchgrass based on growing location, harvest time and whether it was given a pretreatment step. They found that location wasn’t important, but the other two factors could significantly increase the amount of ethanol obtained from the feedstock.

“Switchgrass harvested in the spring had more cellulose, but also more lignin,” said Kim, whose findings were published in the early online version of the journal Bioresource Technology. “You do not get the advantage of the increased cellulose content because it’s more difficult to extract those sugars because of the lignin.”

Lignin, a rigid substance found in plant cell walls, is one of the most significant problems with cellulosic ethanol production. Besides the harvest time, a pretreatment step – cooking switchgrass in hot water under pressure for about 10 minutes – would also help work around lignin.

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FSA informs producers of SURE eligibility on 2011 and 2012 Crops

Steven Maurer, State Executive Director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), would like to inform eligible producers which may and may not suffer loss because of disaster events occurring on or before September 30, 2011, about how the 2008 Farm Bill provisions that authorized SURE will be administered for 2011 and 2012 crops.

The SURE Program was authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) to provide assistance to producers suffering crop losses because of disasters on or before September 30, 2011.  To receive SURE payments; an eligible producer on a SURE farm must have a qualifying loss.  A qualifying loss is defined as a loss of 10 percent or more on at least 1 crop of economic significance because of disaster on a farm that is either:
·         located in a disaster county; or
·         if not located in any disaster county or county contiguous to such a county, but has an overall loss greater than or equal to 50 percent of normal production on the farm (expected revenue for all crops on the farm) because of disaster.

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September is Whole Grains Month

Ohioans are reminded of the positive influence of the state’s grain industry in September as the month is designated as “Whole Grains Month.”

The economical impact of grains production, particularly wheat production, in Ohio is significant — $253 million is generated from this sector each year.

“Everyone is familiar with the nutritional advantages of whole grains, but no one stops to think about the businesses responsible for producing the staple grains that end up in our food,” said Doug Goyings , Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program Chairman.

Here are some Ohio Grains Production Facts to ponder:

  • No. 1 producer of Soft Red Winter Wheat in the U.S.
  • Produced more than 46 million bushels in 2010
  • Home to 12 flour mills
  • Home to 358 grain elevators
  • Wheat yields average 61 bushels per acre.

Though much of the Midwest has experienced extreme weather conditions to threaten the viability of its grains production, Ohio is fortunate.

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Ohio No-Till Field Day Talks Cover Crop Application

The Ohio No-Till Field Day was full of talk on cover crops. David Eby of Agri Flite (above) explained aerial application of cover crops to the group. He says using an airplane is the quickest and easiest way to get the seed on the ground, but timing is the key to making it successful. Some of the advantages include: no compaction or wheel tracks, accurate application, uniform coverage, no manpower and your able to apply over corn. He is partnering with cooperatives in Western Ohio who have begun to use this method.

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Pioneer offers resources to help growers improve profitability

Customers of Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, will now have access to more local agronomic research information through a new program focused on evaluating innovative production practices on a local basis. A national network of agronomy trial managers (ATMs) currently is being added to the existing Pioneer agronomic team to help growers identify improved crop production practices, using Pioneer brand products that could enhance growers’ profitability. 

A number of ATMs are already working on agronomic testing programs today. The goal of the ATM program, a complement to the Pioneer “Right Product, Right Acre” strategy, is to have ATMs in all regions of the U.S. within three years, evaluating the best practices to help growers get the greatest value from each acre. There are currently 20 ATMs nationwide, but Pioneer is looking to more than double that number. 

“Offering growers localized agronomic information – through Pioneer’s extensive national network of agronomists – has long been part of what the company provides customers with each bag of seed,” says Curt Clausen, Pioneer agronomy sciences director.

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Will prices peak early for corn and soybeans?

The 2011-12 corn and soybean marketing years will be characterized by the need to reduce consumption of both crops, but the magnitude of those needed reductions are not yet known and the prices needed to make those cuts will depend on the strength of underlying demand, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“Based on the most recent USDA projections and the assumption that year-ending stocks need to be maintained at or above 5% of consumption, corn use would need to be reduced by only about 30 million bushels, or 0.2%, during the year ahead. Soybean consumption would need to be reduced by 122 million bushels, or 3.7%,” Good said.

The actual reductions needed will depend on the final consumption estimates for the 2010-11 marketing year, the magnitude of old crop inventories on Sept. 1, and the size of the 2011 harvest, he said.

“Unfolding evidence suggests that the 2011 U.S.

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Northern Ohio Wheat Day

Farmers, seed dealers, fertilizer and chemical dealers, and members of the milling industry are invited to the Northern Ohio Wheat Day on Sept. 7.

The free event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at St. Wendalin Parish Hall, 323 N. Wood Street, Fostoria. It’s cohosted by the Mennel Milling Company and will include updates on university research and cultural issues impacting wheat production in the region.

To get an accurate lunch count, attendees are asked to RSVP to 419-562-8731 or lewis.780@osu.edu by Sept. 5.

“Very high corn and soybean futures market prices, coupled with strong seasonal basis bids, have led to a decline in the farm crops mix that included wheat,” said Steve Prochaska, an Ohio State University Extension educator and member of the university’s Agronomic Crops Team. “Additionally, there has been grower frustration with significant levels of Fusarium head scab disease that in some years has resulted in certain grain delivered to elevators being discounted.

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The August 29th Ohio Crop Progress Report


The average temperature for the State was 70.0 degrees, 1.0 degrees below normal for the week ending Sunday, August 28, 2011. Precipitation averaged 1.40 inches, 0.55 inches above normal. There were 141 modified growing degree days, 4 days below normal.

Reporters rated 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, August 26, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 6 percent very short, 13 percent short, 75 percent adequate, and 6 percent surplus.


Recent rains have been welcome, but the crops are still behind. Spider mites and aphids have been reported in soybean fields. Soybeans fields have been sprayed for aphids.

As of Sunday August 28th, corn in dough was 71 percent, which was 24 percent behind 2010 and 15 percent behind the five-year average. Corn dented was 21 percent, compared to 70 percent last year and 47 percent for the five-year average.

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Short husks could create quality concerns

A period of extremely dry weather followed by later-season rain has left some corn with husks shorter than their ears, exposing kernels and portending reduced grain quality at harvest.

The phenomenon, often described as “ears outgrowing their husks,” is the result of stunted husk leaf development combined with fairly normal ear or cob elongation, said Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension agronomist.

“Periods of severe stress can do all sorts of strange things to crops,” he said.

In the case of short husks and exposed ears, husk leaves are about two-thirds the length of the ears themselves and about half the size of husks on normal ears. Ear lengths of normal and stressed plants usually are similar, but kernel number and size tend to be smaller on stressed ears.

The main symptom farmers see is the ears elongated beyond the end of the husk leaves, which leaves kernels exposed to insects, birds and weathering.

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Yield monitor calibration tips

By John Barker, Ohio State University Extension

GPS-based yield data has proven to be an extremely valuable management tool on many Ohio farms. However, improperly calibrated yield monitors can essentially generate difficult to interpret or useless data … Garbage In = Garbage Out.

Economic risk in agriculture has increased dramatically. Considering the amount of economic risk involved in each decision, taking the time and patience to properly calibrate a yield monitor is essential if the yield data will be used to make future agronomic decisions for your farming operation.

Most yield monitors operate on the same basic principles. Yield monitor manufacturers strive to build accuracy into their units; however, each machine has its sources of errors. Proper calibration requires harvesting 3 to 5 separate calibration loads. Each load should represent different flow rates. This can be easily accomplished by harvesting at different speeds (i.e. 3 mph, 3.5 mph, 4 mph, 4.5 mph, 5 mph, etc.) The different flow rates represent different yield levels to the yield monitor.

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Seed Consultants holds field day

Friday, the folks at Seed Consultants held their annual field day to say thank you to their loyal clientel and to let them know about the exciting new products they have to offer for 2012. The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins was there to cover the event.

Chris Jefferies is one of the co-founders of Seed Consultants and he tells Ty that he has been pleasantly surprise with the outcome of the 2011 corn crop in his area.

SCI Chris Jefferies

SCI Co-Founder Dan Fox tells Ty that he is excited about the growth of the company.

SCI Dan Fox

Bill Mullen is the Director of Agronomic Services and he says this year’s corn crop is not out of the woods quite yet.

SCI Bill Mullen

Director of Replecated Research Mike Earley gives the details on some of the disease pressures in some of the plots.

SCI Mike Earley

Area Seedsman James Jacobs descibes this growing season as difficult.

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Day 4 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour

On the fourth and final day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, the western and eastern legs of the Tour converged in Austin, Minnesota to compile the results. The touring agronomists found an average corn yield of 175.93 bushels per acre for Minnesota and 164.62 bushels per acre for Iowa. Pod counts in a 3’x3’ square totaled 1,124.20 pods in Minnesota and 1,221.94 pods in Iowa.

Jerome Lansing, Pioneer agronomist, found a dichotomy of a year in Mower County Minnesota.

“Growing conditions started out relatively wet during planting. Planting was drawn out-ranging from two weeks to six weeks in length. May held colder temperatures and July brought hot temperatures,” he reported. “Reduced solar radiation coupled with lack of rainfall with 5-6 weeks is why we speculate seeing some kernel abortion in corn. Right now crops are at a standstill with moisture, and we’re seeing shallower kernel depth due to lack of moisture.

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Lunchtime at Becknology Days

Becknology Days is one of largest and most attended field days in the Midwest. Customers come to see the latest technology from Becks, place orders for next year and catch up with old friends.



After placing an order with Becks you get the benefit of great yields next season but here at Becknology days you get to take a trip through the prize tent and take your prize home. Becknology days runs through Saturday the 27th.


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