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Production down in 2011 Crop Production Summary

By Matt Reese

The weather was frightful around the country last year and it shows in the Crop Production 2011 Summary released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). From drought to flooding and everything in between, the nation’s farmers had their hands full in 2011, which was the first year since 2002 that there was a year-to-year decrease in the production of corn, wheat, soybeans, and cotton. The lower production from last year, though, was not enough to boost prices according to Global Commodity Analytics’ Mike Zuzolo.

Corn for grain production is estimated at 12.4 billion bushels, up slightly from the November 1 forecast but 1% below 2010. The average yield in the United States for 2011 is estimated at 147.2 bushels per acre. This is up 0.5 bushel from the November forecast but 5.6 bushels below the 2010 average yield of 152.8 bushels.… Continue reading

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Best to enact new farm bill this year

Farmers are better off if members of Congress can agree on a new farm bill this year, according to American Farm Bureau Federation farm policy specialist Mary Kay Thatcher, who spoke at the 2012 Farm Bill issue conference at AFBF’s 93rd Annual Meeting.

With Congress unable to agree on much these days and with a shrinking budget to work with, passing a new farm bill could be an uphill climb and get pushed to next year.

“There is no upside to that,” Thatcher said. “There will be even more budget cuts if that happens. There’s every reason to push it through this year if we can.”

Thatcher outlined the political situation surrounding the farm bill, including growing support in Congress for limiting eligibility by capping farmers’ income and increasing use of food stamps and other nutrition programs as the U.S. economy remains sluggish.

“The economy will be a tremendous issue going forward,” said Thatcher, “and one of the reasons it will be difficult to finish a farm bill in 2012.”

Nutrition programs already account for about $700 billion — 76% — of the farm bill’s total $911 billion in spending over 10 years.… Continue reading

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Risk management important in 2012 crop production

Solid risk management “has never been more important” for producers of the nation’s major commodities, given a range of volatility factors, North Carolina State University Extension specialist Nicholas Piggott told producers at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting.

During AFBF’s session on the outlook for corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton, the Australian-born ag economist said that he anticipates “another fierce acreage-bidding war” this season. “This is fantastic for you farmers out there,” Piggott argued, citing producer reaction to strong market signals.

However, “acreage is not limited,” and tight corn stocks and continued high prices should translate to a significant boost in nationwide corn acreage, likely at the expense of cotton, and possibly soybean, production. Piggott noted 2011 was a “great year” for corn, cotton, and wheat but only a “moderate year” for soybeans, and this season’s U.S. bean market outcome may depend largely on South American weather and its impact on foreign supply.… Continue reading

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Markets watching South America and waiting for Crop Report

Corn and soybean prices declined sharply in mid-November and remained at the lower level through mid-December. From mid-December through early January, the cash price of corn in central Illinois increased by 78 cents while the cash price of soybeans increased by $1.21 per bushel, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“One factor that has contributed to higher prices is adverse weather in parts of Argentina and southern Brazil during a critical phase of crop development. Periods of extremely high temperatures and well below average levels of precipitation in December have threatened both the corn and soybean crops in those areas,” Good said.

The adverse weather followed very favorable weather conditions in November. The weather pattern in those areas has been similar to that of 2008-09 when corn and soybean production was substantially reduced in Argentina, he said.

“Some beneficial rainfall in the dry areas is expected this week, but the forecast calls for a return of hot, dry weather next week.… Continue reading

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Does water quality affect pesticide performance

Dr. Fred Whitford with Purdue University Pesticide Program says he believes water quality plays a role in pesticide performance. He spoke with Heather Hetterick just before he presented at West Ohio Agronomy Day.

Impace of Water on Pesticide Performance

For more information you can view the complete publication, The impact of water quality on pesticide performance for free via the Pesticide Programs site.Continue reading

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Five yield points for corn plants

Yields were strong for many farmers in 2011. What specific conditions favored those yields? What factors went into the robust yields of 2011? Here are some insights from Dave Nanda, the Director of Genetics and Technology for 
Seed Consultants, Inc.

Here are Nanda’s five yield points for corn plants in a growing season.

1. Number of Ears per plant – How much competition is there around each plant at seedling stage? If there’s competition, it likely goes for producing only one ear one ear at this stage. So early weeds can hurt!

2. Row Numbers – At waist high stage, corn is ready to determine how many rows of kernels per ear it can produce. It’s related to genetics, but it’s also influenced by the environment.

3. Kernels per row – Individual plants can increase the number of kernels at the ear tip at pollination if all signals are go. More often than not, all signals a weren’t go in 2011 and the plants decided to abort some of the tip kernels.… Continue reading

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ARS seeking to benefit Ohio wheat growers through research

If USDA’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) wheat quality researchers have their way, more recipes for crackers, cookies, and other baked goodies will call for a greater proportion of flour made from whole-grain wheat, in relation to the amount of familiar, highly refined white flour that is currently being used.

The research is based at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and it is being conducted with the hopes of using more Ohio wheat and increasing whole grain consumption.

“Americans don’t eat enough whole grains and don’t get enough dietary fiber,” said wheat expert Edward J. Souza.

From Souza’s perspective, putting more whole-grain wheat flour into foods that people will buy and enjoy may be one way to help us get the whole grains and fiber we need.

Consumption of whole grains has, in some studies, been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, the number-one killer of Americans. A former research leader and plant geneticist with ARS’s Soft Wheat Quality Laboratory in Wooster, Souza now directs wheat breeding for an international plant science company.… Continue reading

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Central Ohio Agronomy Day

The “The Nuts and Bolts About Corn & Soybean Production” is the theme for the 2012 Central Ohio Agronomy School is scheduled to begin on Monday evening Jan. 16 from 6:30 –9:00 p.m. This six-week program will provide the attendees with the most comprehensive, up-to-date crop production and agricultural technology information available. Here is the schedule:

Jan. 16 – Cover Crops – Jim Hoorman, OSU Extension

Jan. 23 – Weed Control – Mark Loux, OSU Extension

Jan. 30 – Precision Agriculture with Scott Shearer, The Ohio State University and Tim Norris, CEO AgInfoTech

Feb. 6 – Soil Fertility with Robert Mullen from the Potash Corp

Feb. 13 – Marketing & Outlook with Matt Roberts, The Ohio State University

Feb. 20 – Field Drainage with Larry Brown and Rob Clendening, Knox SWCD

This school provides 15 hours of continuing education credits (CEU’s) for Certified Crop Advisors and 2.5 hours of Commercial and 5 hours of Private pesticide recertification credits. … Continue reading

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Ohio family shines in NCGA yield contest

By Matt Reese

In 1952, Dave Herring from Wyandot County won a yield contest with his 127-bushel corn grown as an FFA project. He was excited about his success, but he didn’t know at the time he was starting a family tradition of yield contest success on the farm’s rich soils.

Now Dave’s sons, Jim and Phil, have taken over the rolling farm on the banks of the Sandusky River just south of Upper Sandusky and, after nearly 60 years, picked back up on the family tradition started by their father. In the first year they’ve entered the contest, Jim and Phil were first and second in Ohio, respectively, and second and third in the nation in the “AA Non-Irrigated Class” of the National Corn Growers 2011 Corn Yield Contest. Jim’s contest entry with DEKALB 113-day DKC63-84 finished at 305.7750 bushels and Phil’s 110-day Shur Grow SG-720 produced 291.7814 bushels.… Continue reading

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ASA looks back on successful 2011

American Soybean Association (ASA) farmer-leaders recently reviewed some of the key accomplishments from a year that saw ASA serve soybean farmers by protecting and increasing the market value and opportunities for U.S. soybeans.

“ASA members play an effective role in domestic and international policy development,” said ASA President Steve Wellman, a soybean producer from Syracuse, Neb. “Working with our state affiliates and industry partners, ASA advanced soybean farmer interests in numerous areas in 2011.”

The essential elements of ASA’s 2012 Farm Bill proposal that would help farmers manage risk were included in the Farm Bill developed by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees in 2011.

“Even though the Super Committee process failed, ASA’s collaborative work with Ag Committee leadership and the progress made on a revenue program that complements crop insurance will be key to maintaining our forward momentum toward a Farm Bill next year,” said ASA Chairman Alan Kemper, a soybean producer from Lafayette, Ind.… Continue reading

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Trade potential in Vietnam

As the entrepreneurial spirit in Vietnam continues its rapid growth, U.S. farmers see increasing potential in this rapidly growing market. During a recent mission to the country, organized by the U.S. Grains Council, participants saw first-hand the opportunities in this market while also learning the importance of a carefully nuanced approach to the expansion of U.S. agricultural exports in this region.

The nine team members, all of which represent state corn marketing groups, met with international customers and key foreign government officials with whom they shared insight into the U.S. corn supply and quality in 2011. Vietnam, which has the fastest growing corn market in Asia, currently fills its corn needs with domestically grown crop and imports from nearby countries, but the group left meetings encouraged that this market has the potential to import U.S. corn.

“The dramatically changing consumer habits will increase grain demand in Vietnam. We need to continue to educate Vietnamese buyers and farmers on benefits of buying from the United States,” said Corn Marketing Program of Michigan President Pat Feldpausch, who participated in the mission.… Continue reading

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STAARS seeks to add reality to energy and resource debates

By Matt Reese

With complex issues such as indirect land use change, increasing regulatory efforts in watersheds and the ongoing debate about energy and biofuels, it often seems there is little factual information to help make sound policy decisions. The numbers being used to make important decisions on U.S. farms are too often averages of statistical guesses of a simulated reality of what is actually happening in farm fields. And all too often, the result is ineffective (and potentially harmful) public policy based on a statistical best guess.

The challenge, of course, is the lack of real time, relevant data.

The United Soybean Board, in cooperation with six state soybean organizations, including the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC), decided to do something to address the lack of reality in these numbers. With the hope of maintaining freedom to operate in an environment of limited government regulations, the Iowa Soybean Association spearheaded the Strategies Targeting American Agricultural Resources and Sustainability (STAARS) initiative.… Continue reading

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EPA finalizes RFS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the 2012 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2). EPA continues to support greater use of renewable fuels within the transportation sector every year through the RFS2   program, which encourages innovation, strengthens American energy security, and decreases greenhouse gas pollution.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.

The final 2012 overall volumes and standards are:

Biomass-based diesel (1.0 billion gallons; 0.91%)

Advanced biofuels (2.0 billion gallons; 1.21%)

Cellulosic biofuels (8.65 million gallons; 0.006%)

Total renewable fuels (15.2 billion gallons; 9.23%)

Last spring EPA had proposed a volume requirement of 1.28 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel for 2013.… Continue reading

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Environmental lawsuits could make a difference in 2012

The National Corn Growers Association is currently involved in two major pieces of environmental litigation that will likely be decided in federal court in 2012. This could have major implications for future environmental regulations.

Earlier this year, NCGA joined with the American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural organizations to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s Total Maximum Daily Load for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay. The farm groups stated the Chesapeake Bay TMDL goes beyond the scope of Clean Water Act authority, that the science used by the Agency is flawed and that the regulatory process lacked transparency. The case has been filed in a federal court in Pennsylvania.

The outcome of this lawsuit could establish significant precedent for future water quality regulations throughout the country. Many corn growers are concerned that the Chesapeake Bay TMDL could be used as a blueprint for addressing nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment runoff in the Mississippi River Basin and other watersheds.… Continue reading

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Little earthworms offer big benefits for soils

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

Why are earthworms important to our soils and crops? Read below:

1. There are more than 3,000 species of earthworms. They are Nature’s recyclers.

2. Earthworms breakdown organic matter like dead plants and decaying animals and create valuable nutrients necessary for rich and fertile soils.

3. There are three types of worms: surface worms that feed on dead tissue, sub-surface types which feed below the top layers of soil and make horizontal tunnels and night crawlers that work deeper in vertical tunnels.

4. Earthworms have five hearts & may be an inch to more than 20 feet long. Good soils may have more than a million worms per acre.

5. They have both male and female organs but they copulate in pairs and hatch cocoons that are smaller than a grain of rice.

6. They don’t have any teeth but grind the organic matter with soil particles they swallow.… Continue reading

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OCMP officers announced

The Ohio Corn Marketing Program (OCMP) has announced new officers for 2012 who will collectively represent and promote the industry success of Buckeye State corn and work on behalf of the state’s corn growers.

2012 OCMP Officers:

•    Chairman Paul Herringshaw — Bowling Green
•    Vice Chairman Mark Schwiebert — Hamler
•    Secretary Brian Harbage — South Charleston
•    Treasurer Les Imboden — Ashville

“I’m confident that our new officers will help develop and expand markets for corn to financially safeguard Ohio’s corn producers,” said OCMP Interim Executive Director Tadd Nicholson.

The new officers are responsible for monitoring and taking action regarding issues about the education, transportation, risk-management and industrial demand of the sector.… Continue reading

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ASA pushes for biodisel tax credit extension

As the end of the year approaches and acrimony among Congress increases, it is unlikely that Congress will address a tax extenders package or the biodiesel tax credit before both expire on December 31. Congress appears to be at an impasse over legislation to extend the payroll tax break, and no action is likely on extensions of other tax incentives.

There is still the possibility that Congress, as it has done in the past, could enact a retroactive tax extenders package next year. The biodiesel tax credit lapsed in 2010, resulting in a significant drop in production, job losses and some plant closings. Eventually, it was extended retroactively for 2010 and through 2011.

Leaders in both parties have indicated a desire to consider a tax extenders package early in 2012. Another positive sign is that a draft package of tax extenders, recently circulated by Senate leaders, includes the biodiesel incentive.  For this reason, the American Soybean Association (ASA) will continue to urge Congress to come together on a bi-partisan basis to extend the biodiesel tax credit early next year.… Continue reading

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2011 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest winners

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) is proud to announce the winners of the 2011 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest. This is the second year for the statewide contest with a total of 128 applicants.

There were six different yield categories available and the quality portion of the contest was based on highest percentages of oil and protein.

“The 2011 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest was a great success this year,” said Bret Davis, OSA president from Delaware County. “We had a good number of applicants and some really impressive yields. OSA congratulates the winners and looks forward to the 2012 contest.”

This year’s Overall State Yield Champion was Jack Groselle from Hiram, Ohio. Groselle recorded a yield of 85.773 bushels per acre with the Pioneer 93Y13 variety.

The complete list of yield and quality winners is listed below:


Yield Results


Conventional Tillage                                                Yield (bu./acre)            Variety                       

  1. Douglas Spoerl (Westow)                                        79.38            Asgrow 3130
  2. Bill Foster (Rising Sun)                                            77.34            Asgrow 3631
  3. Carl Walton (Upper Sandusky)                              73.22            Croplan 3330


No-till                                                            Yield  (bu./acre)            Variety                       

  1. Jack Groselle (Hiram)                              85.773            Pioneer 93Y13
  2. Tom Prince (Sidney)                                 76.6            Asgrow 3601
  3. Roger Dobbins (Cedarville)                     72.34            Croplan 3120


Low-linolenic – No-till                                    Yield (bu./acre)            Variety                       

  1. Dave Lotz (Kenton)                                    71.48            Croplan 3059V
  2. Jerry Murphy (Upper Sandusky)            71.412            Croplan R2C3460V
  3. Dave Lotz (Kenton)                                    68.69            Croplan 2740V

Low-linolenic – Conventional tillage                        Yield (bu./acre)            Variety                       

  1. Mark Dowden (West Liberty)                                  68.65            Asgrow 3641V
  2. Richard Snyder (De Ha)                                           66.89            Pioneer 93Y03
  3. Wesley Crabil (West Liberty)                                   63.64            Asgrow 3240V


Non-GMO – No-till                                                Yield (bu./acre)            Variety                       

  1. David Black (Orient)                                            59.319            HAPI-O GL 3510
  2. David Black (Orient)                                            55.28            Seed Consultants 354


Non-GMO – Conventional tillage                                                                       

*No entries for this category


Quality Results


Highest Percentage Protein Content                        Percentage            Variety                       

  1. David Black (Orient)                                             38.3%            HAPI-O 3510
  2. Andrew Baltes (North Jackson)                         37.8%            Asgrow 3130RR2Y


Highest Percentage Oil Content                        Percentage            Variety                       

  1. Bob Crowder (North Lewisburg)              19.3%            Pioneer 93491
  2. Tom Lee (Vanlue)                                       18.8%            Croplan 2030

OSA would like to thank the following sponsors for supporting the 2011 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest: Asgrow, Monsanto, Ohio AgNet, Ohio’s Country Journal, Seed Consultants and Shur Grow.… Continue reading

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Ohio farmers place in National Corn Growers yield contest

Advanced production techniques, informed growing practices and improved seed varieties helped corn growers achieve high yields in the National Corn Growers Association 2011 National Corn Yield Contest. Despite the challenging weather conditions that plagued the Corn Belt throughout the year, entrants continued to far surpass the national average corn yield, even doubling it in some circumstances.

The National Corn Yield Contest is in its 47th year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members. With 8,425 entries, the 2011 NCGA National Corn Yield Contest set a new participation record again this year. This is a 18 percent increase over 2010 (7,125) and an incredible 70 percent increase over 2007 (4,932).

“While this contest provides individual growers a chance for good-natured competition with their peers, it also advances farming as a whole,” said Dean Taylor, chairman of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team. “The techniques and practices contest winners develop provide the basis for widely used advances that benefit the industry.… Continue reading

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Ohio's Herringshaw back from trip to key Eastern markets

For the January issue of Ohio’s Country Journal, we did an interview with Paul Herringshaw, a farmer from Bowling Green who represented the Ohio Corn Marketing Program on a recent trip to meet with foreign leaders and farmers in Japan, China, and Vietnam.  Here is an excerpt from the interview.

OCJ: What was the most interesting thing you learned on this trip?

Paul: The business culture in Japan values face-to-face meetings with their business partners and they have a sense of social responsibility. We visited a feed mill in Japan that is very modern that combined two older plants into one. That facility only need a little over 20 employees but had over 30 on its payroll in order to provide jobs to as many people as possible that were on its original payroll.

OCJ: What do the end-users in these countries think about U.S. crops?

Paul: They appreciate our transparency and our availability.… Continue reading

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