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Ford partnering with OARDC on dandelion project

Ford Motor Co. is joining forces with Ohio State University to find new uses for an alternative source of rubber being developed by scientists at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster.


The U.S. automaker is interested in substituting synthetic rubber used in plastic parts such as cupholders, floor mats and interior trim with natural, domestically grown rubber from Taraxacum kok-saghyz, or TKS — a plant native to the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and commonly known as Russian dandelion.



OARDC crop scientists and engineers have been working during the past few years on developing a commercially viable crop from TKS seeds and an effective way to extract rubber from the plant’s fleshy roots — which can contain 15% or more of the sticky substance. The better-performing plants are now grown in greenhouses, high tunnels (plastic-covered structures) and a 2-acre field on the Wooster campus. 

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ODA planting season assessment meeting

By Matt Reese

After another round of showers soaked the state, the Ohio Department of Agriculture called together an expert panel to assess the impact of the extreme wet spring weather.

At the top of the agenda was assessing how wet it really has been. In the last three months, Ohio has received half of its normal annual precipitation. So far in May, rainfall totals are 177% of normal for the month. The wet May followed the wettest April since Ohio has been keeping records. Ohio got 215% of normal rainfall for April. In addition, March had 150% of the normal rainfall and February got 205% of the normal rainfall.

James Ramey, the director of the Ohio Field Office for the National Agricultural Statistics Service, said the numbers regarding the corn planting progress are a clear reflection of the wet spring.

“In the history of the Ohio progress report, corn planting has never been this far behind. 

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Grow Forward Program Partnership Between Ohio Agriculture & Ohio State Athletics

The Ohio State Athletic Department’s Buckeye Club has initiated a new program to engage one of Ohio State’s most loyal and passionate fan bases: Ohio Farmers. The “Grow Forward” program is a partnership between Ohio Agriculture and the Buckeye Club with an ultimate goal of fully supporting Ohio State’s student-athlete scholarship fund.

“The Buckeyes are Ohio’s team and we want to make sure rural communities are represented in the Horseshoe,” Jordan Birkemeier, Director of the Buckeye Club, said. “With our tremendous fan base inside the state, we want to make sure supporters know how they can make an impact on Ohio State student-athletes and receive access to season tickets. This initiative hopefully will educate people on how they can do both by joining the Buckeye Club.”

The Buckeye Club has partnered with four key organizations in Ohio to raise awareness of the Grow Forward program: the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA), the Ohio Soybean Council, the Ohio Corngrowers Association and the Ohio Farmers Union.

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Grow Forward Program Partnership Between Ohio Agriculture & Ohio State Athletics

The Ohio State Athletic Department’s Buckeye Club has initiated a new program to engage one of Ohio State’s most loyal and passionate fan bases: Ohio Farmers. The “Grow Forward” program is a partnership between Ohio Agriculture and the Buckeye Club with an ultimate goal of fully supporting Ohio State’s student-athlete scholarship fund.

“The Buckeyes are Ohio’s team and we want to make sure rural communities are represented in the Horseshoe,” Jordan Birkemeier, Director of the Buckeye Club, said. “With our tremendous fan base inside the state, we want to make sure supporters know how they can make an impact on Ohio State student-athletes and receive access to season tickets. This initiative hopefully will educate people on how they can do both by joining the Buckeye Club.”

The Buckeye Club has partnered with four key organizations in Ohio to raise awareness of the Grow Forward program: the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA), the Ohio Soybean Council, the Ohio Corngrowers Association and the Ohio Farmers Union.

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Crop insurance questions are emerging instead of crop-Part 1 of a 5 part series

This is Part 1 of a five part series to address crop insurance questions and concerns as they relate to late and preventative planting options. Check back over the next week to see questions addressed by local crop insurance agents.

By Matt Reese

With record-breaking rainfall totals for Ohio, planting efforts continue to be mired around the state as we near June. Each rain cloud that rolls in brings up more questions about crop insurance coverage and tough decisions that will have to be made in the next couple of weeks.

By May 23, things were dire in most of Ohio.

“We’ve got 5% of our corn and 2% of our beans planted,” said Roger Zeedyk, who farms in Defiance County. “The big talk around here now is not planting, it’s crop insurance. Preventative planting will be a big thing in this area this year unless things change soon. A lot of people are talking with their insurance reps.”

A number of questions are arising based on specific situations.

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Advice on choosing maturities for late-planted hybrids

As Indiana and Ohio corn growers continue to battle uncooperative spring planting weather, a Purdue Extension agronomist says they may need to consider faster-maturing corn hybrids.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, 49% of Indiana’s corn acreage and 11% of Ohio’s had been planted by May 23. While forecasters predict improving weather, corn planting has already been delayed enough that plant maturity could become an issue.

“One of the biggest agronomic concerns with severely delayed planting is the risk of the crop not reaching physiological maturity before a killing fall freeze and the yield losses that could result,” he said. “An economic concern with delayed planting is the risk of high grain moistures at harvest and the resulting costs incurred by drying the grain or price discounts by buyers.”

At http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/articles.11/SafeHybridMaturities-0517.html, Nielsen offers tables that list relative hybrid maturities for corn planted through June 10, based on heat unit requirements and anticipated “normal” accumulation of heat units between planting and an average date of a killing fall freeze.

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Corn market continues to focus on production prospects

Two weeks ago, corn prices were declining rapidly, and experts pondered the likelihood of a recovery similar to those of September 2010, November 2010 and March 2011. The answer came quickly, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“By May 23, July 2011 futures traded within 14 cents of the contract high, and December 2011 futures traded within 7 cents of the contract high on May 19,” Good noted.

From the low on May 12 to the recent highs, July futures increased by one dollar, and December futures increased by 58 cents. Although the larger increase was in old-crop prices, the recovery was driven by concerns about the new crop. The price behavior was an attempt to slow consumption of old-crop corn in the face of concern about new crop supplies, he said.

“Domestic consumption of old-crop corn is likely proceeding at or above the rate projected by the USDA.

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Weekly Crop Progress Report-May 23rd

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 58.6 degrees, 3.9 degrees below normal for the week ending Sunday, May 22, 2011.  Precipitation averaged 0.99 inches, 0.19 inches above normal.  There were 70 modified growing degree days, 27 days below normal.

Reporters rated 0.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, May 20, 2011.  Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 14 percent adequate, and 86 percent surplus.


FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY MAY 22, 2011

Temperatures were below normal throughout the state, and most of the state received above normal rainfall for the week.  Rainfall kept farmers out of the fields.  Rainfall has been affecting everything from planting to hay harvest to fruit pollination.

As of Sunday May 22, corn was 11 percent planted, which was 76 percent behind last year and 69 percent behind the five-year average. 

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Between the Rows-May 23, 2011

“The big talk around here now is not planting, it’s crop insurance. We’ve got 5% of our corn and 2% of our beans planted. We’ve been able to spray for a burndown and that is about all we’ve been able to get done in terms of fieldwork. We’re mowing roadsides today. We’re just waiting to do something.

“We have to plant about 800 acres of corn for silage for the dairy, probably even up until June 15. We’re obligated to provide that silage. We will probably go to June 5 for the commercial corn. I am 100% sold on corn and beans, but that is not really driving any of my planting decisions. I was an optimist evidently. I can move some things around with the futures, and anything I’ve done with the elevator can be rolled out to the following year.

“Feeding the world is a concern and I’m not sure how this will work out.

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Is late planting a reason to switch to Bt corn?

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

One of my customers producing non-GMO corn for premium recently expressed some concerns that later planted corn will get more corn borers. Should he switch to a Bt hybrid?

It is known that late plantings of corn are more subject to corn borer infestation than earlier plantings. However, those fields are more vulnerable when everything else around them is planted earlier. Then the moths are attracted to the later-planted fields because they prefer that stage for laying eggs.

One should also consider how often the corn borer is an economic factor. While it’s a factor almost every year in Iowa and the western Corn Belt, it’s a major factor only two to three years out of 15 in Indiana and Ohio. The risk of corn borer pressure would be higher this year due to later planting of all corn, but risk is relative and difficult to quantify.

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Crop insurance questions?

The incessant rain is putting Ohio corn and soybean producers in a tight spot this spring. As more soggy fields sit idle, the only things emerging are questions about how to handle the exasperating situation.

The potential for profits this year is still there, but at what point does delayed corn planting tip the scales in favor of preventative planting crop insurance options? What are those options? What about getting crops in the ground to feed a nearly unprecedented world demand? What could lower yields from late planting this year do to the farm in future years with regard to government farm programs and crop insurance coverage? How will farmers meet the feed demands of on-farm livestock or fill contracts that have been sold for strong prices?

These are just a few of the many quandaries facing Ohio agriculture as May (and the optimal corn planting dates) pass by. What are your top questions regarding crop insurance and Ohio’s record-breaking wet spring? 

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White-nose fungus infected bats and impact on agronomic crop pests

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

Recently, white-nose fungus was detected among bat populations in Ohio. White-nose fungus is a new disease of bats that is expanding westward across the country. It is a very serious pathogen that tends to awake bats during hibernation. Infected bats are then unable to hibernate and cannot survive the winter, causing massive mortality in bat populations. It is feared that white nose fungus will lead to local extinctions. Losing native bat populations is serious in of itself, but many species provide a valuable service — devouring insects. Most of what these bats eat includes mosquitoes, flies, and even some agronomic crop pests such as European corn borer and various corn rootworm species. Bats are an important part of a group of general predators that include both insects and vertebrates. For example, birds have been known to remove corn ear worm or western bean cutworm from infected ears.

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Late corn planting does not necessarily mean lower yields

Rainy weather is resulting in major delays in corn planting throughout Ohio. But farmers can still hold a sliver of hope that late planting won’t put a big dent in yields at harvest time.

Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension corn specialist and scientist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and research associate Allen Geyer, examined trends related to planting dates and yields stretching back three decades. They reported their findings this week in the Crop Observation and Recommendation Network (CORN) newsletter, available online at http://corn.osu.edu.

As of May 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that only 7% of Ohio’s corn crop had been planted. That’s 76% behind last year, and 63% behind the five-year average. Indiana farmers were faring a bit better, with 29% of the corn crop planted — but that’s still 56% behind last year and 37% behind the five-year average.

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Will pricing 2011 corn now reduce downside revenue risk?

The bottom line is that 2011 is likely to be a profitable year for farmers. Determining just how profitable involves a complicated equation that includes number of bushels per acre, price per bushel, level of Revenue Protection (RP) and hedging. An issue of University of Illinois Farm Economics Facts and Opinions looked at some of the possible scenarios to help farmers juggle the numbers and the risk.

“Most people are buying Revenue Protection insurance products,” said U of I agricultural economist and farm management specialist Gary Schnitkey. “We wanted to know if you had to hedge grain now, what its impacts would be at several levels of RP and at no insurance just to get a feel for how much risk is mitigated by different amounts hedged.”

Schnitkey compared the RP at 85% coverage level, 75% coverage level and 65% coverage level and no insurance for a central Illinois farm with a 184-bushel average yield.

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Despite the rain, corn is still king

By Brian Essinger, Monsanto Territory Manager, Northern Ohio

As I sit in my office overlooking the yard and the wheat field across the road, I hear that all too familiar sound of raindrops hitting my window. The calendar says May 17 and once again we are in wait mode. Now I am a positive guy and I learned a long time ago do not curse the weather. In fact, if you ask my kids they will tell you daddy says, “Never buck the rain.” But it takes every fiber in my being not to get down, anxious, and downright frustrated.

With that being said, I believe my job is to give you the facts, help you build a successful production plan, and above all be your optimistic point of view. So hear are some tips to think about, focus on, and overall stay positive.

Don’t give up on corn. It is still king.

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Fuel prices impacting farms

This year’s unexpected rise in fuel prices is certain to impact farmers in Ohio and across the nation, but the extent of the impact will vary across agricultural sectors and will depend on other variables, such as the weather and the fate of already record-high grain prices.

Barry Ward, production business management leader with Ohio State University Extension, said that the effect of fuel and energy costs on grain farmers — while significant — will be softened this year by the high profit potential expected for row crops in Ohio and the Midwest.

“Projected corn budgets for this year show the highest net profit outlook I have ever done in six years, and safely you could say this is the highest net profit potential in recent history,” said Ward, who is also an assistant professor in Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE). “Because of that, the high fuel prices we are seeing now are not going to significantly impact the bottom line of grain farmers this year.

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Flying on fungicides now will not prevent vomitoxin

By Pierce Paul and Dennis Mills, Ohio State University Extension

1 – Fungicide application at FLAG LEAF EMERGENCE, BOOT, or ANY TIME BEFORE HEADING WILL NOT CONTROL SCAB or VOMITOXIN.

2 – The head scab fungus infects when the wheat crop is flowering i.e., when anthers are seen sticking out of the heads, causing scab to develop and producing vomitoxin.

3 – Therefore, fungicides need to be applied to protect the flowering head to reduce infection, scab development, and vomitoxin production.

4 – Between flag leaf emergence and boot, the head is in the leaf sheath of the flag leaf where it is protected from the head scab fungus, so scab will not cause a problem while the head is hidden, even during these constant rains.

5 – Between flag leaf emergence and boot, the head is in the leaf sheath of the flag leaf where the fungicide will not reach it.

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Watch wheat closely for disease

By Ryan McAllister, CCA, Team Sales Agronomist, Beck’s Hybrids

Do you remember playing Capture the Flag when you were a kid? Well, diseases in your wheat field still like to play that game. They never grew up. Your job is to protect the flag — flag leaf that is. Most wheat fields in our eastern marketing area are in the boot stage and quickly on their way to heading. Once heading occurs, it generally takes 3 to 5 days before flowering begins. There are two considerations that you have when deciding to spray a fungicide on your wheat.

1.    Protect the flag leaf from leaf disease.

2.    Reduce the risk of head scab infection, which can lead to vomitoxin.

Fungicides with good control of head scab must be applied during flowering to be effective! With most of the wheat in our eastern marketing area as close to flowering as it is, it is wise to hold any fungicide application off until then to determine the risk for head scab rather than spraying now for leaf disease and possibly having to spray again shortly to control scab.

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Crop Insurance Flood Claim Reminders

Heavy rainfall and flood conditions across the Midwest have caused crop damage and slowed planting this spring. Brian Frieden, Director of the Springfield Regional Office of the Risk Management Agency, reminds producers faced with questions on prevented planting, replant or crop losses this spring, to contact their agent for more information.

Producers who are unable to plant an insured crop by the final planting date due to an insurable cause, such as excess moisture and flooding have a number of options. Producers may plant the insured crop during the 25 day late planting period with a reduction in the production guarantee of 1 percent a day for each day planting is delayed after the final planting date. Producers may leave the acreage idle and receive a full prevented planting payment or the insured may be able to plant the acreage to another crop after the late planting period and receive a reduced prevented planting payment.

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Planting updates from around Ohio

With drier weather at the end of last week, Ohio farmers took advantage of the sunshine and heat and worked for hours on end spraying fields and planting corn. Typically most farmers would like to be done planting or nearly done planting by now, but they’ve adapted to changing weather patterns.

The wheat crop in Ohio seems to have suffered a little damaged in waterlogged areas. Some farmers are spraying fungicide in case the weather, which is now cold and wet, becomes hot and wet as the wheat is flowering, making it susceptible to diseases such as head scab and vomitoxin. Here are some updates from around the state.

Northeast Ohio: John Wallbrown, Deerfield, Ohio (Portage County)

We’re have planted about 20% corn and 20% beans. We don’t know if that 20% will make it or not. The weekend was very wet; we’re fully saturated since it rained all weekend. The wheat looks much worse than average — we’re waiting to put a nitrogen fertilizer on it — it’s very soggy.

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