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Grain handler pleads guilty to stealing more than $3 million from farmers

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels announced today that a Huron County man has pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to the theft of more than $3 million in grain from 35 farmers in Ohio.

Richard J. Schwan, 79, of Monroeville, pleaded guilty today to two felony counts of aggravated theft, and one felony count each of attempted aggravated theft, falsification in a theft offense, insolvent handler, and delayed price agreement.

As part of the plea agreement, Schwan must pay $3,222,209.70 in restitution prior to his sentencing hearing in August. The money will be used to reimburse the farmers, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund.

“Ohio’s farmers work hard to produce their crops, and this defendant callously took the profits of their labor,” DeWine said. “Our priority in this case has always been to recover the money that rightfully belonged to these farmers, and a condition of this plea agreement requires the defendant to promptly repay the money he stole.”

Schwan operated Schwan Grain Inc., which transported and sold grain on behalf of the 35 farmers from Erie, Huron, Lorain, Richland, and Seneca counties.

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Growing conditions conducive to brittle snap

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

Over the past week, Seed Consultants agronomists and sales staff have observed green snap brittle snap (aka green snap) in some corn fields this week. Although typically a problem observed in the western Corn Belt, brittle snap does occasionally occur in the east. As corn plants develop quickly in vegetative stages of growth, they go through a period of rapid growth during which corn stalks are brittle. As stalks elongate they become more rigid and the cell walls of stalk tissue become fragile, increase the risk of stalk breakage. Corn plants are more prone to brittle snap between V8 and tasseling, especially the 2 weeks before tasseling.

In many areas during the later stages of vegetative growth there has been plenty of rain, heat, and storms with high wind speeds. When stalks brake below the ear, no grain will be produced. When stalks break above the ear, it is still possible for them to produce grain, however, at a significantly reduced amount.

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Warm, wet weather leads to busy summers for fungicide applicators

By Matt Reese

Early July’s heat and humidity set the stage for diseases, the need for crop scouting and, maybe, a helicopter.

After he lost a potato crop to a spray application mix-up Stan Sayre decided to get into the aerial application business with a helicopter of his own. That was in 1976. Now, based in Portage County, Sayre travels Ohio offering a wide array of application services, covering around 70,000 acres per year per machine. He is busy this time of year with corn fungicide applications.

Helicopters have advantages when it comes to fungicide applications in corn.

“We can get into smaller fields a lot more economically than planes can. We can wrap up the corners. They have their speed of 140 or 150 knots and we are running 50 to 60 knots. We have a little better control with that. It is a 38-foot boom and we get almost 50 feet of coverage,” Sayre said.

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China tariff threats are now reality for farmers in Ohio

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

A soft farm market, already-declining prices, and now China’s retaliation against President Trump’s 25% tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods have become a reality for Ohio producers. Soybean farmers, whose crop represents 41% of the value of products on China’s tariff list, will feel the full effect.

“This is about as close to a worse-case scenario as you can get,” said Bret Davis, a Delaware County soybean farmer and a member of the American Soybean Association Governing Committee. “We had hoped that cooler heads would prevail and that the tariff threats would be nothing more than that, but it sure doesn’t look that way right now.”

The value of U.S. soybean exports to China has grown 26-fold in 10 years, from $414 million in 1996 to $14 billion in 2017. Since talk of the tariffs began back in March, U.S. soy prices have dropped more than $2 per bushel.

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Western bean cutworm monitoring continues in Ohio

By Amy Raudenbush, John Schoenhals, CCA, Mark Badertscher, Lee Beers, CCA, Amanda Bennett, Bruce Clevenger, CCA, Sam Custer, Tom Dehass, Mike Gastier, CCA, Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Ed Lentz, CCA, Rory Lewandowski, CCA, Cecilia Lokai-Minnich, David Marrison, Eric Richer, CCA, Garth Ruff, Jeff Stachler, Curtis Young, CCA, Chris Zoller, Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon, Ohio State University Extension

Another season of Western bean cutworm (WBC) trapping has officially begun! Bucket traps placed along the edge of a corn field with a lure were set between June 17th through 23rd and our first trap count is for WBC adults captured for week ending June 30th. Last week, 18 counties monitored 66 traps across Ohio for WBC adults. Overall, 76 WBC adults were captured and average moth per trap was 1.2 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Average Western bean cutworm adult per trap followed by total number of traps monitored in parentheses for week ending June 30, 2018.

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Ohio farmland rental information

By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR and David Marrison, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR

How much to charge or pay for farmland rent is a common question among landowners and farmers. Each party wants to receive or pay a “fair” rate, but questions often arise in determining a “fair” rate. There are a number of factors involved with establishing a rate with which both parties are comfortable.

 

What cash rental rate is fair?

Land ownership costs are summarized using the DIRTI five acronym. The ownership costs include: Depreciation, Interest, Repairs, Taxes, and Insurance. Most landowners would like to at least recover the property tax. Your annual tax statement can help determine the amount of rent needed to cover the property taxes. For instance, assume your property tax for 20 acres is $800 annually. This translates into $40 per acre for the landowner to recover just the property tax.

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Upcoming OSU Extension and OARDC agronomy field days

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

It has been an interesting spring. Have questions? We may have the answers; we certainly want to have the discussion. Come to one or all three of our field days in July.

  • OSU Weed Day, South Charleston — July 11
  • Western ARS Agronomy Field Day, South Charleston — July 18
  • 2018 Ohio Manure Science Review, Forest — July 25

 

The OSU Weed Science Field Day will be held on July 11 at OARDC Western Ag Research Station at 7721 South Charleston Pike (SR41), South Charleston Ohio. As in previous years, it’s a mostly self-directed event and a chance to look at all of our research. The day runs from 9 to noon, followed by lunch for those who preregister. Feel free to bring anyone you like and to tell others, but please send an email to Bruce Ackley to preregister — ackley.19@osu.edu — telling him how many are coming so he can plan appropriately.

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Green Valley Growers caters to customers

By Matt Reese

Visitors to Green Valley Growers, Inc. near Ashland are treated to row, after row (after row) of beautiful plants to peruse under two acres of greenhouse glass and additional outdoor retail space. Even more appealing to many shoppers than the almost endless blur of floral hues are the budget-friendly price tags on the plants.

“We have a different approach from other greenhouses. We let customers come in and go everywhere to see all of our plants and make their own choices. The thrust of the operation was to sell plants at a lower price to expand consumption. A lot of former competitors were selling just a few plants at a high price. They are no longer in business,” said Tom Moherman, owner of Green Valley Growers, Inc. “We try to come up with prices where we can still make money and keep customers happy. That is what differentiates us from other greenhouses.

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Now is the time to scout for disease in corn

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

With warm, wet weather occurring across the eastern Corn Belt, now is a critical time to begin scouting for disease and determining whether or not fungicide applications are necessary. Over the last week our agronomy and sales staff and observed Gray Leaf Spot(GLS) and Northern Corn Leaf Blight (NCLB) developing in our sales footprint. The fungi that result in the formation of GLS and NCLB overwinter on corn residue. The development of these diseases depends on environmental factors. Warm, humid weather favors growth of GLS and NCLB. Periods of heavy due, fog, or light rain will provide the needed conditions for these leaf diseases to develop.

Scouting this time of year is critical to determine what diseases are present and the severity of disease. Taking time to walk fields will allow growers to make sound management decisions based on observations. When determining where to start scouting, growers should determine which fields are most at-risk for disease development.

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Ohio Crop Progress — July 2, 2018

Producers used the dry conditions last week to make headway with haymaking, straw baling, and other fieldwork, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA, NASS, Ohio Field Office. There were 4.2 days suitable for fieldwork in Ohio during the week ending July 1. High temperatures were ideal for wheat maturation, however, they caused stress to livestock. Winter wheat harvest was well underway. Lingering wet soil conditions and additional scattered storms last week caused some damage in crops fields. There were some reports of ponding in fields, flood damage, and yellowing of plants. Soybean emergence was nearly complete. Crop conditions remained mostly good to excellent.

Click here to read the full report

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No surprises with the USDA acres and stocks report

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

With no surprises in the reports today, the market continues to look at trade with China as well as weather.

Amid one of the biggest days statistical days from USDA, at the end of today the close could be very little about the USDA numbers. While all eyes are on the multiple reports being published by USDA today that include June 1 acreage as well as stocks, also as of June 1, will the reports be a market mover at 12 noon? Today is not a USDA Supply and Demand Report, nor are world production and demand numbers being published today.

USDA estimated U.S. corn acres at 89.1 million acres, soybeans at 89.6 million acres, and all wheat at 47.8 million acres. U.S. corn stocks were 5.306 billion bushels, soybeans of 1.222 billion bushels, and wheat at 1.1 billion bushels.

Just before the report all grains were higher with corn up 6 cents, soybeans up 7 cents, and wheat up 20 cents.

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Watch for mid-season pests and diseases

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension specialist

Corn insects we may see in July are European corn borer (I have seen a few in refuge plants already) and continuing to show up in northern Ohio is the Western bean cutworm. Earlier, I received calls from northeast Ohio on the appearance of Asiatic garden beetle larva feeding on corn in sandy soils. In past years we have seen this only in northwest Ohio. See your Corn, Soybean, Wheat and Alfalfa Field Guide for images and scouting suggestions.

If you are in continuous corn, watch for western corn rootworm. In areas west of us the pest has apparently overcome the Bt protection trait. Let us know if you see unexpectedly lodged corn this summer.

Last year we had rust (common and some southern), northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot did appear late and not do a lot of damage. With our wet weather, I think we will see corn leaf diseases soon on susceptible hybrids.

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Ponding and corn

By Peter Thomison and Alexander Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

Persistent rains during the past two weeks have resulted in ponding and saturated soils in many Ohio corn fields and led to questions concerning what impact these conditions will have on corn performance.

The extent to which ponding injures corn is determined by several factors including: (1) plant stage of development when ponding occurs, (2) duration of ponding and (3) air/soil temperatures. Corn is affected most by flooding at the early stages of growth (see https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2018-15/young-corn-wet-feet-what-can-we-expect). Once corn has reached the late vegetative stages, saturated soil conditions will usually not cause significant damage. Since most corn in Ohio is approaching the late vegetative stages, this bodes well. Although standing water is evident in fields with compacted areas, ponding has usually been of limited duration (i.e. the water has drained off quickly within a few hours). Past work has indicated <10% yield loss when corn was flooded for 2 days or less.

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Using science and analytics to guide nitrogen management

By Kyle Poling, Pioneer Field Agronomist, Ada, Ohio

Nitrogen (N) is typically the most yield-limiting nutrient in corn production. Additionally, nitrogen management is among the most uncertain and costly inputs of modern corn production. With N accounting for up to 20% of total crop cost, growers are faced with the challenge of how to meet N requirements without over-applying or under-applying.

An ideal nutrient management plan would be for a grower to make nitrogen available to the corn to supply adequate amounts of N as the crop needs it. Only about 10% of the total amount of nitrogen is taken up between the period of corn emergence to knee high. During the rapid vegetative growth phase, from V8 through tasseling, corn generally requires over half of its total N supply. Providing adequate N for this period is a key goal of N management.

The last one-third of a corn plant’s N requirement must still be met by uptake during the reproductive stages (ear-fill).

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2018 Wheat Harvest Cab Cam — Farm Science Review

This cab cam, sponsored by Fennig Equipment, jumps in the combine with Nate Douridas, farm manager of the Molly Caren Agricultural Center — the grounds for the Farm Science Review. With the window between dry and wet weather hard to find, the farm is taking whatever opportunity it can to get work done in the field with their crops of all kinds progressing along at breakneck pace. Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood has more in this video.

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OBIC Bioproducts Innovation Center launches awareness program

The OBIC Bioproducts Innovation Center is working in conjunction with the Ohio Soybean Council on a new education and outreach program, the Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer. The goal of the program is to increase the awareness and adoption of biobased products, products manufactured using renewable, plant-based materials such as soy.

The program will be led by two seniors within the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at the Ohio State University: Brad Collins, studying Community Leadership, and Shivani Patel, studying Biological Engineering.

The Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer will be making stops at 22 of Ohio’s county fairs. County fairs offer a diverse audience of consumers, agricultural producers, as well as 4-H and FFA youth exhibitors. We will be challenging fair-goers to an interactive game of Biobased Jeopardy that will allow participants to compete against each other to earn soy-based prizes.

According to the OBIC Bioproducts Innovation Center 2018 Consumer Market Survey, only 8% of Americans are very familiar with biobased products or packaging.

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RFS proposal sends hopeful signal to biodiesel industry

In late June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed an increase in the biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel categories under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). While the proposed increase sends a very positive signal to the industry, EPA’s granting of dozens of retroactive small refinery hardship exemptions undercut prior year volumes and could still have a negative impact on future year standards.

“We welcome the Administration’s proposal to grow the biodiesel volumes, following two flatlined years. This is a positive signal for our industry and we’re pleased the EPA has acknowledged our ability to produce higher volumes. We’ve consistently demonstrated that we can do much more,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “The fact remains, though, instability in the RFS program caused by the EPA has done significant damage that can only be rectified for biodiesel through consistent and predictable growth in volumes.”

Kovarik pointed to decisions by the EPA Administrator to provide numerous waivers to petroleum refiners that release them from their obligations under the RFS, effectively reducing the overall volumes under the program in 2016 and 2017.

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Reminders about dicamba

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

This is the time of year when we received our first call about dicamba problems in soybeans in 2017. We can probably expect any problems to become evident soon, based on the timing of postemergence applications and timeline for development of symptoms.

Off-target issues have already developed in states farther west and south, and we would expect at least some to occur here, unless we’re really lucky. The symptoms of dicamba injury show in new soybean growth within approximately 7 to 21 days after exposure, and most of our soybeans receive postemergence applications from early June on.

It’s been a challenging year to properly steward postemergence applications. We still face some challenges in finding appropriate weather to catch weeds before they become too large, and before soybeans are too advanced in growth stage. There are a number of weather, application and adjacent crop factors to consider when applying dicamba, and applicators should review labels as frequently as needed to ensure legal application.

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Will northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot plague 2018 corn?

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc. 

In the past several growing seasons Gray Leaf Spot (GLS) and Northern Corn Leaf Blight (NCLB) developed in many corn fields, affecting both yield and stalk quality. You might ask; “Will these diseases be a problem next year?” The answer to this question depends on several factors. The fungi that cause the development of these diseases overwinter on crop residue. If GLS and/or NCLB developed in 2017, the disease fungi will be present on residue in 2018.

The development of these diseases also depends on environmental factors. Warm, humid weather favors growth of GLS and NCLB. Periods of heavy due, fog, or light rain will provide the needed conditions for these leaf diseases to develop. For either GLS or NCLB to become a problem in 2015, the fungi need to be present in the field in addition to favorable weather conditions. Fortunately, producers can make some management decisions to hinder the growth of GLS and NCLB and lessen their impact should they develop:

 

  1. Crop rotation: Research shows crop rotation is one of the most efficient ways to mitigate disease.
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It’s almost July and we are all done with our herbicide applications. Right?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension Field Agronomist

Got weeds? Did you use a burndown, and apply a pre-emergent herbicide at the same time? Then you had some luck on your side and you had patience. What a spring.

As I drive around today however, I find corn and soybean fields that have weeds taller than the crop. That means we missed something. And yes I know we now have dicamba soybeans. But we still need a good burndown and those pre-emergent herbicides. Part of our goal is to slow down weed emergence so they are shorter when we do spray our post application. Oh, and yes, to get high yields.

 

Marestail

You know the drill so I won’t go into that again. But it continues to be our number one weed in soybeans, and yet it is manageable — even in conventional soybeans.

 

Giant ragweed

The other big problem in soybeans and occasionally in corn is giant ragweed.

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