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Value-added food uses gain Japanese attention

The U.S. Grains Council’s ongoing efforts to promote value-added food applications in Japan gained significant Japanese media attention in July when a Japanese cable TV station featured a downtown Tokyo noodle shop that uses 10 percent corn flour in its soba noodles.

The ten-minute program showcasing the cold tomato-flavored noodle menu aired on four consecutive weekends, reaching approximately 180,000 Tokyo households.
The corn noodle menu was developed in collaboration with the Council and Japanese corn millers. It builds on the Council’s May taste tests that rolled out the corn noodle and follow-up efforts to distribute the noodle formula and recipes to 270 ramen shops in Tokyo.

Japanese manufacturers turn out 600,000 metric tons of noodles annually.

The Council’s Japan office also saw progress in sorghum promotion, as sorghum cookies with almond chips and maple syrup hit the shelves of an organic vegetable market in Tokyo’s fashionable Omotesando shopping district.

The shop’s customers are primarily health- and diet-conscious young women, according to the shop manager, who said the delicate cookies go out of stock very quickly. 


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Zipper ears in corn may be more prevalent this year

By Brian Essinger, Monsanto Territory Manager, N. Ohio

Here is a phenomenon, zipper ears, that we are going to see more often this year.  It is caused by a variety of reasons, all environmental stresses during pollination, and not hybrid/germplasm related.

Most is caused by high heat or lack of moisture during pollination.  But delayed pollination, nitrogen deficiency, and defoliation after pollination (hail) can cause it as well.  Remember the bottom side of the ear is last to pollinate so that is why you find it there.

Here is a related article from Bob Nielsen, with Purdue University Extension.

The process of estimating yield potential in corn fields prior to grain harvest includes an assessment of the success of “kernel set” on the ears. Poor tip fill on ears, resulting from a combination of pollination failure and kernel abortion, is not uncommon in fields where severe crop stress has occurred during pollination or in the early weeks following pollination.

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History of corn featured at Farm Science Review

The history of corn, from ancient grasses to modern marvel, will be on display at Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review, Sept. 20-22 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center outside London.

Farmers across the Corn Belt produce millions of bushels of the crop from which the region derives its name, thanks in no small part to centuries of evolution in plant breeding, farming practices, and biotechnology. It’s that evolution that event organizers want to highlight.

“We’re trying to tell the story of technology in corn,” said Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension educator and coordinator of Extension’s Agronomic Crops Team. “From teosinte on through to the most modern quad stack, we’ll talk about plant breeding and technology development. “Corn is a wonderful example of a modern plant that we’ve developed from a simple grass into a major crop.”

The “antique corn display,” as Watters called it, is a key feature of the Agronomic Crops Team’s demonstration plots, located near the main entrance on the east end of the Review’s exhibit area.

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Be on the lookout for soybean aphids

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

We received our first reports of soybean aphids being treated in northwest Ohio, with levels in most fields, while not being at threshold, are noticeable and rising.  Growers throughout the state, especially in the north, should consider scouting their fields for the remainder of the summer.   We suggest scouting throughout the state because in 2009, the last year that we had aphids, we saw large populations in southern Ohio.  While we cannot predict whether any area or field will have populations reaching threshold, the possibility exists.

Remember that the threshold for spraying is an average of 250 aphids per plant with a rising population (http://ohioline.osu.edu/ent-fact/pdf/0037.pdf ).  This is the threshold for taking action, not the economic injury levels which is in the vicinity of 700-900 aphids per plant.  So there is no need to spray prior to an average of 250 aphids per plant. 

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Rootworms show resistance to Bt corn in Midwestern fields

Isolated findings of resistant rootworms in Iowa emphasize that planting a refuge is more critical than ever for maintaining the durability of Bt corn, a Purdue Extension entomologist says.

Bt corn does not kill all larva that feed upon it, and very slight feeding damage from corn rootworm is typical, said Christian Krupke. But after researchers at Iowa State University were alerted to high levels of feeding damage in some fields, they began to test Bt corn hybrids that expressed the Cry3B1 toxin. They found that rootworms from those fields were able to survive exposure in the lab.

“This is not a cause for alarm for Indiana producers, and it was something that we suspected would occur eventually,” Krupke said. “Producers should keep doing what they are doing for now as the vast majority of Bt continues to perform well for producers. This is more of a warning to be vigilant”

Currently, other Bt toxins appear to be effective against the pest.

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Nighttime in a cornfield

By John Brien, AgriGold Agronomist, CCA
While sleeping comfortably in our beds being cooled by a fan or air conditioning, we forget about our cornfields and what is happening while we sleep. The human body requires rest in order to survive, but a corn plant does not. While we sleep, corn plants continue growing and repairing themselves throughout the night. Corn growers see and witness the happenings of the corn plant during the daylight, but the cover of darkness leaves a couple questions that need answered.
To begin uncovering the dark secrets of a corn plant, understanding what happens during the daylight will help understand what occurs in the darkness. The main theme of daylight activity is photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the complex processes where the corn plant takes carbon dioxide, water and energy from the sun and makes carbohydrates (sugars and starches). The carbohydrates will then be used to grow the leaves, roots, stalks, tassels, ears, grain, etc.

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Better weather keeps hopes alive for a good crop in 2011

Late planting conditions coupled with high heat and below-average rainfall throughout June and early July could have spelled disaster for Ohio’s corn crop this year. A reversal of meteorological fortunes during critical phases of the growing season, however, means a near-trendline yield is still possible, according to Ohio State University experts.

“Over the past three weeks I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how good the corn looks,” said Peter Thomison, Extension corn specialist and professor of horticulture and crop science. “We’ve managed to get some timely rains, and by and large we’ve been pretty lucky.”

While acknowledging that pockets of the state have missed key rainfalls and may be more of a “mixed bag,” Thomison said his overall impression of the crop has improved in recent days with improvements in weather conditions.

He said that the lack of moisture during the first six weeks of the already-late growing season, plus periods with sustained 90-degree temperatures, was particularly concerning.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – August 15th, 2011

As of Sunday August 14th, 95 percent of corn was silked (tasseled), compared to 100 percent last year and 99 percent for the five-year average. Corn in dough was 31 percent, which was 49 percent behind 2010 and 29 percent behind the five-year average. Corn dented was 3 percent, compared to 31 percent last year and 13 percent for five-year average. Corn for silage was 1 percent harvested, equal to the five-year average. Ninety-three percent of Soybeans were blooming, compared to 99 percent last year and 99 percent for the five-year average. Forty-six percent of soybeans were setting pods, compared to 81 percent last year and 84 percent for the five-year average.

The Complete Ohio Crop Progress Report for August 15th, 2011

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Ohio's Crop Progress Report – August 15th, 2011

As of Sunday August 14th, 95 percent of corn was silked (tasseled), compared to 100 percent last year and 99 percent for the five-year average. Corn in dough was 31 percent, which was 49 percent behind 2010 and 29 percent behind the five-year average. Corn dented was 3 percent, compared to 31 percent last year and 13 percent for five-year average. Corn for silage was 1 percent harvested, equal to the five-year average. Ninety-three percent of Soybeans were blooming, compared to 99 percent last year and 99 percent for the five-year average. Forty-six percent of soybeans were setting pods, compared to 81 percent last year and 84 percent for the five-year average.

The Complete Ohio Crop Progress Report for August 15th, 2011

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Pricing standing corn for silage harvest in 2011

By Dianne Shoemaker, Bill Weiss and Normand St-Peirre, Ohio State University Extension

 

How to price corn for silage as a crop standing in the field is a perennially challenging question. The optimal answer will vary depending on your point of view. Are you buying or are you selling?

This corn silage pricing discussion is based on a corn crop standing in the field. The owner’s goal is to recover the cost of producing and harvesting the crop plus a profit margin. Their base price would be the price they could receive for the crop from the grain market less harvesting/drying/storage costs. Hopefully, this would meet their goal of covering production costs and generating a profit. During price negotiations, it should also be recognized that harvest risk is also being shifted from the grower to the buyer.

To the grain farmer, the corn crop may have some value beyond the income from the sale of grain.

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Taste terrific tomatoes at NightCrawler Gardens

By Matt Reese

Fresh lettuce is fine, sweet peas are great, and hot peppers can add flair to summer fare, but many gardeners especially yearn for the first, ripe, delicious tomato from the garden each year.

“Whether it is a couple of plants in the garden or in a pot on the back porch, if people grow one thing, it’s a tomato,” said Jason England, who owns and operates NightCrawler Gardens in Fairfield County with his wife, Sheri. “Here we try to focus on quality and customer service and we try to be diverse and offer unique things. This year we had 85 different varieties of tomatoes. Peppers have been really big for us too. There are a lot of chili-heads out there who want hot peppers.” Word of mouth has been great, but advertising efforts have been lackluster. They send out regular e-mail updates about the farm and have an extensive Web site (managed by England’s mother), but it is often hard to keep up to date amid all of the other demands on the farm.

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Was corn ear development affected by heat and drought?

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

While scouting the corn fields in August, I noticed there were many plants with two or more ears with silks, in spite of the heat and drought we were experiencing. Why was that?

There were 32,000 to 34,000 plants per acre. Well, it indicated that those fields had sufficient nutrients and plenty of moisture from rains in the spring months and the soils had good water retaining capacity. The question is, “Would the second ears contribute to yield?” It depends on whether we get some rains soon and we return to normal, cooler temperatures. If so, the top ears should develop fully and the second ear-shoot might also contribute to yield.

The plants are still in a “luxury mode” where they are trying to produce the maximum number of kernels they can within the limits of their genetics and environmental conditions.

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USDA report confirms the tight corn supply

As expected, the Agriculture Department lowered the corn production forecast in its August crop report released today due to heat stress over much of the Corn Belt.
Economists with the American Farm Bureau Federation continue to stress that tight supplies mean the U.S. needs every bushel of corn that farmers can produce this year.
“Analysts were expecting to see a drop in both average yield and production compared to the July report, but the yield and production numbers actually came out lower than what market watchers were anticipating,” said Todd Davis, AFBF crops economist. “This tells us we still have a very tight supply situation in corn this year. We will need a good harvest this fall to meet market demands and add to our very tight stocks.”
USDA forecast corn production at 12.9 billion bushels in its August report, which is 4% larger than 2010 production, and if realized, will be the third largest corn crop on record.

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100-bushel beans?

A hungry world is waiting to be fed in coming decades and growers of every crop will need to expand productivity to meet the massive needs of the growing population. A little closer to home, bumping up per acre profitability never hurts the profit margin.
With continuing improvements in plant genetics, biotechnology and farm management, producing high-yielding soybeans is more attainable than ever, according to one Ohio State University Extension expert, but growers must first master the basics of soybean production.
“We’ve been pushing for two or three years now yield goals of 100-bushel beans and 300-bushel corn,” said Harold Watters, assistant professor and coordinator of the university’s Agronomic Crops Team.
Watters said while producing such productive soybeans is possible, producers have a tendency to look for additional, or “alternative,” management practices before having fully mastered the basic tenets of raising beans. Those basics boil down to four key management practices: planting date, row width, seeding rate and weed control.

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USDA August reports corn up 4% beans down 8% from 2010

National Crop Production Report

U.S. corn production is forecast at 12.9 billion bushels, up 4 percent from 2010. If realized, this will be the third largest production total on record for the United States. Based on conditions as of August 1, yields are expected to average 153.0 bushels per acre, up 0.2 bushel from 2010, and the fourth highest yield on record. Acreage planted for all purposes is estimated at 92.3 million acres, unchanged from the June estimate. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 84.4 million acres, down less than 1 percent from June but up 4 percent from 2010.

U.S. soybean production is forecast at 3.06 billion bushels, down 8 percent from last year. Based on August 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 41.4 bushels per acre, down 2.1 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at 73.8 million acres, down less than 1 percent from June and down 4 percent from 2010.

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Pumpkins already?

Pumpkin season arrives early in South Charleston courtesy of Ohio State University’s annual Pumpkin Field Day, which this year will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 30, from 6-8 p.m. at the Western Agricultural Research Station.
 
The event is sponsored by the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), Ohio State University Extension, and the OSU Vegetable Team. Registration (taken at the door) costs $5 per person and includes liquid refreshments. 
 
The program consists of a wagon tour of research plots, including information on the station’s 16-entry variety trials, angular leaf spot trial, fungicide demonstration trial, and fungicide- and insect-management updates.
 
For more information, contact Jim Jasinski, OSU Extension educator, at 937-484-1526 or jasinski.4@cfaes.osu.edu.
 
Part of OARDC, the Western Agricultural Research Station is located at 7721 South Charleston Pike (SR 41), 3.5 miles northwest of South Charleston and just east of Springfield.

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